Help us imagine the future and you’ll see how far yours can go too.Applications for our Graduate Programmes are now closed and will open again in the summer of 2021.
When imagining a career in Investment Research, you may picture a traditional financial position filled with mathematical analysis and number-crunching. But instead, let’s imagine a role where your creativity and curiosity are held in higher esteem than your numeracy skills. At Baillie Gifford, we like to see things differently. For us, it’s not about looking for graduates from a particular degree. Instead, we look for particular graduates – people who are inquisitive thinkers who have the vision to see what the future could look like. That’s why we are just as likely to hire a musician, a doctor or a politics graduate, as we are a mathematician.
Our work is a million miles away from the stereotype of traders tracking markets for short-term gains. We believe only long-term potential can drive our clients’ returns, so we focus on developing a deep understanding of the factors that determine that potential. This means questioning everything that happens around us and anticipating the causes and consequences of local, regional and global events. In other words, we try to imagine what the future holds.
As a graduate trainee, 80% of your time will be spent researching. And for us, inspiration can come from anywhere. You’ll have to cast your net far and wide to collect information and create your own unique viewpoint. This will enable you to spot investment opportunities that others may have missed.
It takes creativity to look at the world and imagine how it could change in the next five to ten years. It takes skill to identify the direction of corporate culture, how industries may evolve and the sways of our society. You’ll have to explore politics, socio-economic conditions, and current affairs. It’s challenging, but it’s also incredibly intellectually rewarding.
“We are trying to consider probability and possibility adjusted outcomes for (often) revolutionary business models a decade ahead. We could term it ‘imagining the future’. Creativity not analysis is our calling.”
The beginning of your time here at Baillie Gifford is as important as it is inspiring. In the first weeks you’ll complete our accelerated learning programme. This will teach you the important things you need to know before joining your team, meeting your mentor, and starting your first pieces of investment analysis.
There are two distinct career paths for Investment Research Trainees at Baillie Gifford. Graduates on our Equities programme will work on a variety of teams that try to identify companies that have the potential to grow significantly over the next decade. Trainees joining our Multi-Asset and Fixed Income (MAFI) programme will rotate through our Multi-Asset teams that invest across equities, bonds, property and infrastructure, and our Fixed Income teams that invest primarily in bonds (a loan to a company or a government for a set period of time, in exchange for regular interest payments). You can choose which programme you wish to apply to or, if you prefer to leave this open, we can select the one which best suits your potential.
Within the first year of your Investment Research Graduate Programme, you’ll start to work towards the IMC (Investment Management Certificate) followed by CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Level 1. We’ll give you our full support by paying for your registration, tuition and materials, as well as the time you need to study. You’ll spend time with one team, learning about its specialism in detail before rotating to the next.
In years two and three, you’ll have the option to continue with CFA Levels 2 and 3, again with our full support. You’ll also rotate each year to a new team, gaining a broad view of the different investment areas and geographical regions we work in. There’s the opportunity to travel both within the UK and internationally to attend conferences, visit companies and speak to experts.
Your learning won’t stop there either. We support every one of our colleagues to continue their professional development throughout their time with us. As for the future, you could develop your career into an Investment Manager, Senior Analyst or Client Management role. You could even become a partner in the firm. In fact, the majority of our Investment partners and senior investors joined us as graduate trainees.
We encourage applications from any degree to apply for our Investment Research Graduate Programmes, and there’s no one type of person we’re looking for at Baillie Gifford.
You possess an appetite for learning and are interested in a wide range of subjects, even those you know little about. You are open to new ideas and have the humility to know how much you don't know.
You pride yourself on your ability to spot trends and opportunities before others do and know how to distinguish short-term noise from what really matters. Research comes naturally to you and you’re imaginative about where you find your sources of information and inspiration.
You have the ability to cope with uncertainty, as it may be many years before you know whether your decisions are right. You know that mistakes happen, but that’s okay. At Baillie Gifford, we support you to learn from the things that go wrong and help you develop as an investor.
To get started, you need to complete a short online application form, attaching your CV and covering letter. You can choose to apply for our Equity programme, our MAFI programme or, if you’re unsure, both.
If selected, you’ll be invited for a first interview with one of our senior investors and a member of the HR team where we will discuss the academic and professional choices you’ve made so far, your thoughts on topical issues of the day, as well as your other interests. If you didn’t express a preference for either the Equity of MAFI departments in your application, we will discuss this with you at the first interview.
This stage is more in-depth. Along with further meetings with senior investors from either the Equity or MAFI department, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet different members of the teams you might join -– from experienced analysts to graduates who were in your position last year. At each stage, we’ll be open and honest with you, so you get a clear idea of what it’s like to work at Baillie Gifford.
I enjoyed studying clinical medicine, but the further I went in science the narrower my area of expertise became. I love learning about new things and I wanted a career where I could bring together all of my interests, which is exactly what I found at Baillie Gifford. Since joining four years ago I have been on two equities teams researching everything from traditional Chinese medicine to video game companies, and also a multi-asset team, researching topics like Argentinian history and renewable energy infrastructure. It’s helped me learn so much more about the world.
I came to Baillie Gifford because I believe in investing for a better future. I was always interested in how policies can make change happen, but I came to realise that money is also a big enabler. Managing capital effectively can make a big difference to the world. Crucial to this is a longer-term, sustainable attitude to business practice, which Baillie Gifford has long demonstrated in its investment style. This creates a great platform for encouraging ever better business practice – both for ourselves and the companies we invest in.
I think my science background does help me in this career. In science you have to be perpetually open-minded to new information and how this affects your hypothesis. You can’t form an attachment to your preconceived ideas. Science is comfortable with the idea that there is no single truth and long-term investing is very similar. You have to be prepared for your thinking to be challenged and to update or change your views.
I’m involved in our environmental sponsorship committee, which directs a portion of Baillie Gifford’s sponsorship monies to charities working to conserve, enhance or promote an appreciation of the natural environment. Much of the work we do in the office is in the hope of making a difference in five or ten years’ time. Although environmental change requires patience, too, it’s wonderful to see improvements to Scotland’s peatlands already underway and to learn of the wellness benefits to young people able to come together in the name of nature.
After finishing my undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Criminology, I applied to law school in Canada before deciding to take a year out for grad school at LSE. Grad school opened my eyes to other career options that had the intellectual stimulus and debating characteristics I found most attractive about a legal career. When I joined Baillie Gifford, there was all of that and more. The quality of the debate here is far-reaching, very challenging and always stimulating.
At Baillie Gifford they don’t turn you into a particular type of investor. My peers are far more interested in the reasoning process than my stance, which is quite liberating as it gives me significant freedom to explore alternative hypotheses. This is as true today as it was when I joined in 2016. I’m also encouraged to imagine what the ‘blue sky’ scenario is rather than just finding the faults of a company.
Over the last four years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and research dozens of companies across several industries. You’re given autonomy to pursue what interests you, determine your research agenda and plan your trips. Some of my research projects include luxury goods, diabetes treatment, car distribution, telecommunications and cybersecurity. Importantly, you’re given as much autonomy as you need, and have mentors to support you when you feel stuck.
The culture at Baillie Gifford is relaxed but intellectually challenging. This is mostly because of our long-term investment style. You’ll have a considerable amount of time to think about and write research reports, and you’ll seldom need to work into the evening or weekend. The long-term approach also translates into the training, where you’re given time to grow as an investor. Edinburgh is also a very liveable city. The quality of life is very high, and the festivals/markets keep you engaged.
I’m currently working on the Global Alpha team and so far, I have researched Taiwanese semiconductor companies, American landscaping suppliers and companies supporting the electrification of travel. On the team we consider the merits of the business and piece together what the growth prospects could be. I’ve had the opportunity to host or join many company management meetings; from internet conglomerates to startup biotechs. My team is very experienced but eager to share their knowledge. In my research and in the weekly meetings I aim to bring a new perspective to company discussions or complex issues such as inflation resilience during a pandemic or how should we think about the future of business software.
All the graduates bring different experiences and the learning curve is steep for the first five years. There’s a real belief in cognitive diversity. This is only furthered by being exposed to new areas through conferences, graduate feedback sessions, partnerships with academia, or consultants teaching us about the industry and thinking frameworks. Baillie Gifford also invites many fascinating speakers to the investment floor, so we can learn from their experience and viewpoints. I’ve attended talks by Helen Sharman (the first Briton in Space) and by Serhii Plokhii (author of Chernobyl).
In our induction, we receive an introduction to the firm and investment management. We then progress to the first of our placements in a team. There is a real focus on encouraging our creativity and breadth of thinking, which I really enjoy. For example, there is a project in our second year where we get to research an area of healthcare that we think is going to see dramatic disruption or innovation over the next five to ten years. A year later we have a placement in the Client Services Department and, in our fourth year, we get the opportunity to do a three-month project. Previous trainees have used this project to meet businesses whilst travelling the Silk Road or work at a food app start-up.
My preconceptions meant the investment world did not appeal to me initially, as I received maintenance grants and worked thirty-hour weeks to support myself throughout university, but Baillie Gifford is unique and welcomes you into its culture. Here it is not about ‘fitting in’ but seeing what you can bring to the table, whilst keeping up the enthusiasm to learn. Through networks such as Women in Banking and Finance, Future Asset and Social Mobility Foundation, I have been supported by Baillie Gifford to talk to cohorts of people from similar backgrounds and share the experience of starting a career here.
I was looking for the right graduate programme that would help me get a sense of the world outside academia. With a background in development research and consultancy, financial services wasn’t my original career focus, but Baillie Gifford was the only company in the industry that truly appealed. I discovered the firm’s emphasis on future-thinking, cognitive diversity, and long-term investment approaches valuing qualitative thinking alongside quantitative methods. I realised this was an attractive opportunity to learn more about the world.
During my time on the Japan team I was primarily focused on small-cap company research. This meant I was looking at the growth potential of smaller companies. Often these were software or tech companies seeking to disrupt the established workings of their respective industries. As an example, one of the first few companies I researched is aiming to become the Facebook of the cosmetics world, with its leading advertising and customer relationship management platform, allowing brands to interact with and manage a large pool of customers directly. Companies like these are defining a shift from product-based business models to experience-based ones.
One of the places I’ve been able to travel to was Japan, where I got to meet with 35 different companies. I was given the freedom to choose the companies I wanted to visit, and design the objectives and content of my meetings. Speaking to CEOs leading companies from various industries was a great experience to have so early on in my career. There are no short-cuts to gaining practical experience in interviewing management teams and for me, these first-hand opportunities were invaluable. It has given me real context for the work I do day-to-day in Edinburgh.
A key learning point has been that working in investments is not simply about a set of discrete outputs. The work is always in-progress, as the performance of any one stock or investment case is monitored across a long time horizon. I’ve admired the patience of investment managers at Baillie Gifford in continually reflecting upon and revising their previous insights and workings. In my experience I’ve also found the firm on the whole to be a conscientiously self-reflective place. As a business, asking other companies about their management and culture has highlighted the importance of asking the same questions of ourselves.
I’m from Azerbaijan and have studied in Turkey, the Netherlands and the UK. I’m always looking to learn about different countries in political, social and economic senses. I first met Baillie Gifford at a careers fair at Oxford and they seemed to be a firm that was interested in people who are curious about the world. Baillie Gifford’s Investment Research programme attracts graduates from a wide variety of backgrounds, and that appealed to me.
I liked Edinburgh immediately – a mix of the Caucasus of Azerbaijan and the historical buildings of Oxford! I didn’t know anyone in Edinburgh when I relocated, but had plenty of support with lunches, dinners with my fellow grads and advice on where to shop and rent a flat. I was able to ask lots of questions about the programme and help was there at every stage if I needed it.
Before Baillie Gifford, I had minimal exposure to financial services. But the work I’m doing here is surprisingly similar to academia. The bulk of my work is qualitative research – it’s about learning, building arguments and thinking about the future. So far on my placements I’ve researched a wide range of companies – everything from self-driving trucks to vaccines. We’re working with other teams, sharing ideas and looking at opportunities across all industries and geographies.
I am always challenged in my work and got a lot of responsibility early on. I was able to attend an industry conference just three months into my first placement and was responsible for interviewing a CEO and a number of senior managers over the phone – asking them about their companies’ strategies. You are trusted to represent the firm well when you meet different companies. Also, you are given independence in your research to choose your sources and methods.
When I joined Baillie Gifford, I met so many interesting people within the investment teams. They were deep, analytical thinkers with insightful conversation but were also humble and interested in what I had to say. 80% of the time is found researching and looking for the right inspiration. By posing the right questions, we can often get to interesting answers, which can have the power to unearth huge opportunities.
My first placement was in the Japanese team and they’re focused on producing reports every few weeks. I started my first report in my second week and presented it to my colleagues three weeks later. I also had my first meeting with a CEO in my third week. The training is ongoing, but colleagues are always available to help. For example, at first, I was struggling with a small part of a report, valuing a stock. After my presentation, a team member offered to talk it through. Within a couple of hours, we’d solved the problem together.
At Baillie Gifford you get access to so many new experiences. In my first year, I went to Utah to do a course on investment processes and took a two week trip to Japan, where I met with CEOs and other company management but also had the opportunity to explore a place I’ve never visited. It’s fantastic to have these opportunities so early in my career. I also went to a trade fair in Munich with some graduates to look at robotics – it is key in this business to have an information edge over competitors so meeting companies that were working on robot prototypes really helped our work.
I’ve recently become the Chair of the Baillie Gifford LGBTQ+ Network. My managers have been really supportive of my involvement and the work we do to advance inclusion. It’s part of the wider culture here, as senior people always actively listen to and help us implement our ideas. They are genuinely interested in D&I – it’s not just a tick box exercise. It’s wonderful to be backed in this way and work somewhere where I feel empowered to be myself and make a difference.