Nkonye S. Okoh
New York, NY
A chance interview years ago led to Nkonye S. Okoh current role as a managing director in JP Morgan’s corporate and investment bank, where she runs structured product sales for private banks, wirehouses, and other financial institutions in the U.S. and Latin America. “As an engineer, I knew almost nothing about investment banking. I interviewed for a traditional investment banking position, and needless to say, it was not my best showing” Okoh reveals. “But the interviewers thought I would be a good fit for the trading floor and allowed me to interview for a markets role.”
Her work involves a combination of selling, marketing, product innovation/ development, and client management and engagement. She enjoys the esoteric aspects of her work — such as staying abreast of geopolitical events and operating with a global perspective — and its practical aspects as well.
“Generally, trading floors are a unique ecosystem that are fast paced, very direct, and transaction oriented. But I like that some of our products are in the portfolios of everyday people,” she states, highlighting her interest in wealth building and financial literacy.Firm engagement is equally important. To that end, she was appointed co-chair of JPM’s Corporate and Investment Banks Black Leadership Forum.
A board member for Business Outreach Center Network, Okoh earned a bachelor’s degree in operations research and financial engineering, with certificates in finance and engineering management systems, from Princeton University. While there, her primary interest was demonstrating the efficacy of needle exchange programs in reducing HIV incidence rates.
“Everyone wanted me to work pro bono, but I needed a job and someone recommended I take a shot at investment banking. Twenty years from now, however, I hope to get a Ph.D. in operations research and return to my early focus on AIDS research,” she says. “If I could apply engineering to everyday life, that’s what I would do.”