Every year hundreds of organizations come to campus to recruit your students for jobs that are marketed as glamorous and exciting. Unfortunately, many of these positions offer little chance for junior employees to have a real impact.
Brandes Investment Partners, L.P. (“Brandes”) will be competing with these organizations this year as we conduct undergraduate telephone interviews in September and October. We believe our firm offers your students a post-undergraduate opportunity that is superior to the standard investment banking or consulting job. This opportunity is the 4-year Research Associate (RA) program. Our hope is that you might discuss our firm and the RA position with your students if you find it is a good fit for them.
Brandes is a leading investment advisory firm located in San Diego. Founded in 1974, the firm now manages approximately $25.4 billion as of June 30, 2019. We use the fundamental, long-term, bottom- up, value-oriented approach pioneered by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd to select securities. Our firm is guided by a 100-year vision, a clearly defined image of the firm we want to be through the next century and beyond. At the foundation of this 100-year vision is a commitment to remaining an independent, employee-owned organization.
Brandes’ long-term vision also is evident in the way the RA program is structured. RAs play a key role in our firm’s investment process by supporting analysts and senior analysts in buy-side equity research. The RA position is designed to be a 4-year commitment, which we believe allows RAs to acquire broad experience in the use of various valuation techniques, in-depth knowledge of particular industries, and overall familiarity with the value approach to investing. The day-to-day responsibilities of RAs include financial modeling, valuation, data collection, and industry analysis. RAs also have significant interaction with both the sell side and senior executives of companies under review. As they progress through the program, RAs who demonstrate an ability to deliver high-quality work are given increasing amounts of responsibility in the research process, including the chance to present to investment committees and to generate new investment ideas for inclusion in our portfolios.
We believe the RA position compares favorably to the standard investment banking or consulting job for a number of reasons.
- The position emphasizes critical thinking instead of deal execution or project management. RAs learn how to think both qualitatively and quantitatively about businesses and industries instead of rushing to get the next deal
- RA work contributes to actual portfolio decisions. Unlike investment banking or consulting, managing assets is not an advisory business where one’s work can be easily discarded. RAs contribute to decisions that have a direct effect on client
- RAs have the chance to interact with management of companies under review (CEOs and CFOs). In the investment banking and consulting worlds, such interaction with top management is often limited to carrying pitch books to a
- RAs build industry knowledge by focusing on specific sectors. RAs are assigned to an industry team. As they cover industries over the course of their 4-year term, RAs gain historical perspective on industry
- RAs gain global exposure since many of our holdings are domiciled outside of the United States. By covering international and domestic companies together, RAs learn about differences in global accounting standards and tackle valuation issues that arise in international
- The buy-side experience at Brandes can help RAs stand out when they apply to business school. Every year there are thousands of investment bankers and consultants who apply to business school, but applicants with buy-side experience are relatively more scarce. Brandes has a long track record of RA’s matriculating to top tier business
- Brandes stresses a healthy work-life balance. While still requiring plenty of hard work, the RA position does not require the all-consuming lifestyle that a typical investment banking analyst or consulting associate
For all of the above reasons, we believe the Brandes RA program is an attractive option for students with the temperament, curiosity, and intellect to learn about value investing. Again, we will be posting our RA openings in September through your school’s recruiting office, and we will conduct phone interviews for qualified candidates in September and October.
We would be sincerely thankful to you if you could mention the RA position to your students ahead of time. Alternatively, I would be happy to speak to you about the details of the RA position, our firm, or our interview process. Please feel free to contact me via phone (858-523-3168) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) at any time, or visit http://www.brandes.com for more information on our firm.
To some extent the Brandes RA program, like value investing itself, requires a candidate to go against the popular grain, which we view as the pull of the large investment banks and consulting companies. We hope that you will assist us in showing your students that such contrarian thinking can often prove to be beneficial over time.
Director, Investments Group