by StreetWise Partners
March 28th, 2023
This is the story of Aigerim Kaipova, whose experience as a mentee with StreetWise Partners helped her land a dream job in the financial services industry.
For as long as Aigerim can remember, it was her dream to work at JPMorgan Chase. As a young girl, she admired the employees in corporate attire working at the bank’s branches. As she got older, she valued that this well-known financial institution is the largest bank in the U.S. and has offices around the world.
After more than 50 applications (and an equal number of rejections), Aigerim persisted, and ultimately landed her dream job at her dream company. Here’s how she got there.
From Kyrgyzstan to the U.S.
Born in Kyrgyzstan, Aigerim came to the U.S. with her family when she was 10 years old. She calls herself the “trial child.” Her experience as the eldest child helped her parents and siblings figure out how things worked in the U.S., like taking the SATs to get into college.
She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from CUNY School of Professional Studies, then got a job working in accounts payable. While she loved the experience, she wanted more of a mental challenge and started applying for other jobs, including several analyst positions at JPMorgan.
She got multiple interviews but couldn’t get through to the second round. Then she made a decision that changed the course of her career.
The power of a mentor
In Spring 2022, Aigerim joined StreetWise as a mentee with specific goals: 1) to improve her interview and communications skills; 2) to expand her network; and 3) to secure a job in finance. With the help of StreetWise and her mentor, Katherine Kelly, she achieved all three.
At the start of the program, Aigerim stuttered during interviews and was visibly nervous. But after participating in StreetWise’s networking events and interview prep sessions with Katherine and other volunteers, she improved her communication skills and learned how to speak clearly and professionally.
Aigerim also grew to feel more confident in herself. “I would sometimes have doubts that I’m not smart enough to sit at the table I wanted because I didn’t go to the most prestigious school or have family who worked in corporate,” she explains. “My mindset changed after networking with professionals who are thriving and have the same background as me. They were also first-generation college students or first-generation working in corporate, with parents who were stay-at-home moms or worked blue collar jobs. I realized that if they can do it, I can do it too.”
Thanks to the skills, confidence, and community that Aigerim built through the StreetWise mentorship, she was prepared to show up and stand out when the right opportunity came along.
Persistence pays off
It was a Thursday when Aigerim received an email from JPMorgan Chase saying that her interview was scheduled for Friday morning. With only half a day to prepare, she reached out to her mentor and they scheduled a Zoom call for 8pm that evening.
“Katherine helped me practice some questions and research more about the role and the company, and at the end of the call I felt prepared and confident,” says Aigerim. “I’m grateful to have a mentor who fully supports me and cheers me on, to the point that she even made herself available for a last-minute call.”
The next morning, Aigerim aced the interview. While usually there are three rounds of interviews, the interviewer was so impressed with Aigerim’s ability to quickly and clearly respond to a flurry of questions, that he hired her on the spot.
Today, she loves her role as a Global Corporate Actions Asset Analyst, which she says is mentally stimulating and allows her to always investigate new ways to solve problems.
“I wake up so happy every day to go into the office. It’s a dream,” she says.
Aigerim’s advice to other mentees
The StreetWise mentorship program gave Aigerim the tools she needed to learn and grow. How she chose to use those tools is what led to her success.
“You get what you put into it,” she tells other mentees — whether it’s identifying your weak points and figuring out how you need to improve, meeting consistently with your mentor, or setting clear goals.
Every weekend, Aigerim consulted the spreadsheet she created with all of her top companies and their career website and applied to five jobs. Five one week, five the next, again and again. As Aigerim explains it, “The small actions you take will all add up to your main goal.”
A career that’s just taking off
As the first woman in her family to work in a corporate job (and the first who’s not a stay-at-home mom), Aigerim is excited about her career. And it’s just getting started. She’s focused on excelling in her department so she can get promoted to a leadership position.