Investment Banking Analyst
When Emma Pettersson was a child she wanted to be a lawyer. But looking back, she realizes that, on some level, she's been an investment analyst all her life. Every decision she made—from leaving her home to go to college in the U.S. to leaving law because it no longer suited her goals—has been based on finding the best opportunity, and making the best choice from her available options.
It's not that these choices were easy. All along the way, she's had to change her direction, adjust her goals and reconsider her dreams. But out of it all, she's learned a valuable lesson: If you can't let go of where you thought you'd be, you'll never get where you're meant to go.
What does success look like to you?
When I was younger, it was all about focusing on my career but now it's about balance. If I don't have balance with my life and work, time for my family—then I can't be my best at work, or my best to my family, or as a friend.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My big brother. I've always very much looked up to him. Most of the time, people will just tell you that everything will be fine, but he'll always tell me the truth and challenge me. Like, “Emma, maybe this isn't the right path for you." I know that he's being honest, and that's always been most helpful.
What do you consider the most valuable piece of advice you've ever received and where did it come from?
When I was younger, I used to be worry a lot. What if I don't manage to get this job, or this internship? But my mom always told me: Calm down. Everything that's meant to be, will be. I studied in the U.S. for two years, and I wanted to stay there. I was offered an internship, and they were ready to offer me a green card and everything, but then they couldn't finalize it. I was completely devastated. But little did I know I would end up at J.P. Morgan in London.
What made you get into this type of work?
When I was a kid, I was always telling people I'm going to be a lawyer. I wanted to explore the U.S., but when I got there, the courses there were so specific that I wouldn't be able to apply them back in Sweden. So I started studying business because it would be easy to translate. I had a friend there who was taking finance, and the finance teachers were extremely inspiring. They would tell us stories from these banks and hedge funds. I come from a small town of only about 50,000 people in Sweden. No one there talked about these things.
What have the last few months been like in quarantine? Work-from-home, go to the office or a mix of both?
It's been better than I expected, actually. I think we have more team catch-ups now, because no one's traveling. Before, it would be trying to catch someone at the right time, like hey, I have a million questions for you!
That said, I can't wait to go back to the office. The best thing for me is keeping my routine, so I still go for a run in the morning before work. I make sure to have a lot of video calls with friends, make sure I'm catching up with them. Otherwise, I wouldn't be keeping my balance.
What brings you joy?
Spending time with friends and family. Experiencing new cultures — although I haven't been able to travel recently. When I traveled to Thailand six or seven years ago, it was obviously very touristy, but I also got to see a way of life that was very different from Europe, and to see what is valued differently. I think that's important.
Where will you be in 20 years?
I hope to have a family. Hopefully I will be a managing director and on the path to achieving the next managerial level at the firm. I hope that I'll be able to be a good mom, who can balance work and life. In my team now, I definitely feel flexibility, but it's important to advocate for yourself and establish expectations. It's all about communicating with the team and being there for one another. If I'm there for you now, hopefully you'll be there for me when I need you.