Before I joined Baillie Gifford, I had secured PhD funding, but I had reservations. I wanted to learn different things and realised that carrying on in academia would mean learning about one thing in more detail. I knew I’d find this frustrating, but the Baillie Gifford role was different. It talked about intellectual curiosity and discussion. This was more like me. The role seemed to be exactly what I hoped academic life would be – broadening my horizons.
The application process was my opportunity to explore whether this was the right career choice. I went into the interviews hoping to ask questions to see if the role was right for me. Everyone was very open to this and seemed as keen as I was to ensure I was making the right choice. Rather than ask standard interview questions, the process was more like an honest conversation. After that, I knew Baillie Gifford was a good fit.
I think anything you study could help you in this career. There’s no rigid skill set and no one-way of working. For Baillie Gifford, it makes sense to have intellectual diversity and it’s what differentiates the firm from others. To me, it’s clear in team discussions that engineering and science graduates approach stock reports in a very different way to arts and humanities students. And it’s exactly this diversity that’s useful to the team, because if you all think differently, there’s a much greater chance you’ll spot opportunities that others could miss.
At this stage, my team are selecting deliberately diverse companies for me to research to help with my learning and development. I’ve looked into oil services, the spirits industry, telecoms, confectionary and renewable energy. It’s wonderful learning so much in such a short space of time and it’s really helped me to develop my confidence.