University of Delaware, Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics
Category: Cultivating the Business School Leadership Pipeline
Location: Newark, Delaware, United States
Accreditation Status: Business and Accounting
The JPMorgan Chase Innovation Center is an on-campus facility providing on-campus jobs and applied research opportunities for students with University of Delaware faculty and JPMorgan Chase employees.
Call to Action
The Innovation Center, built as part of the strategic JPMorgan Chase-University of Delaware collaboration established in December 2009, focused on building a pipeline of technology talent through university curricula, internships, and joint research projects to drive innovation. This collaboration with JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) to finance and operate the Innovation Center was important for three reasons: (1) Delaware needs a workforce well qualified for today’s complex technology jobs, (2) students need the skills to begin those jobs prepared to succeed, and (3) there is a need to focus on financial services analytics because big data’s impact is especially profound in the financial services industry. The center was created to focus on these issues.
Also, Lerner College of Business and Economics recognized the need to change the way technology students are trained so that they can enter the workforce prepared to succeed in a world increasingly driven by big data made possible through technological advances. Lerner saw this need as a call to action to establish this type of Innovation Center because they understood that the necessity to go beyond the classroom to offer experience-based learning opportunities designed to deliver an education comprised of both theoretical knowledge and real-world experience with top notch faculty and seasoned business professionals.
They believed that this mastery cannot come simply from traditional business training but must reflect the latest developments in technology. Lerner College students needed access to high-tech hardware and software, guidance from faculty and working professionals, and opportunities for real-world work to prepare them for careers as world leaders.
In response to the diverse needs of University of Delaware (UD) students and the business community, Lerner College, in 2012, opened the on-campus facility where faculty, students, and JPMC employees would work side by side on joint applied research projects and where students would have on-campus jobs. The vision included graduate programs that would eventually be university-wide, multidisciplinary programs bringing together departments across the College of Engineering with Lerner.
Fueled by the success of the collaboration, the relationship was expanded and deepened with the opening in October 2015 of a 9,900-square-foot addition that more than doubled the available center space. JPMC has hired more students for well-paying, on-campus jobs, and now provides them access to a supercomputer, a vital part of constructing quantitative models with massive data stores. The high-tech space includes dozens of offices and workspaces, including a home for the Institute for Financial Services Analytics and for graduate students of its new doctoral program in financial services analytics, which brought to fruition the goal of bridging the financial services industry and data and operational sciences.
The partnership of Lerner and JPMC, a company that is deeply invested in the local community and is influential on a global scale, continues to flourish, making the collaboration center a hands-on, technology-driven space to help students launch their careers and strengthen UD’s ability to promote research in financial analytics. This positions Lerner as a hub of connection and education for students and community business stakeholders, a model that makes Lerner College an innovative leader in business education.
During Coral Benedict’s junior year at UD, she received an email that changed her career path. The email advertised on-campus jobs available to students through the JPMorgan Chase Innovation Center. Benedict applied. Working at the center was an amazing experience, she said. “I would walk down the hallway after class and be at my office, where I could apply things I was learning in class to real-world business scenarios.” Benedict said that she experienced an immediate opportunity to do meaningful work and a support system to fall back on whenever she needed it. This work environment motivated the pursuit of a career with JPMC after receiving her finance degree. She is now a full-time JPMC employee.
In 2011, only 15 interns worked at the Innovation Center; today, the center handles more than 90 student workers, overseen by four full-time employees. The center is fueling jobs in the state and beyond. Governor Jack Markell noted, “Our universities are important economic engines for the state.” Markell and other state leaders realize the value to the state of the tech industry.
JPMorgan's role in that field is vast; the company invests close to 9 billion USD each year on technology and employs more than 44,000 "technologists" internationally, including 2,600 in Delaware. Many of those employees are getting hands-on, collaborative learning at UD in our JPMC Innovation Center. As more research in financial analytics is done and the center continues to expand its learning opportunities, the impact of the work being done here has no limits.