Sylva Giang Tran

Sylva Giang Tran

MA ECONOMICS/POLITICS 2015-16In my last year of university, I attended Practitioner Seminars convened by my then Economics lecturer Dr Yoshimoto. The Practitioner Seminars featured high-profile professionals who were invited to the Adam Smith Business School and presented to students who were keen to gain more knowledge about careers in Economics and Finance. Among the prominent speakers was Roy Leckie, Director of Walter Scott & Partners.

Mr Leckie presented on the global investment environment as well as Walter Scott’s long-term investment philosophy. I was impressed by the presentation and curious to know more about Walter Scott that I approached Mr Leckie at the end of the presentation. He encouraged me to apply for an internship through the company’s website.

The recruitment process was very smooth as I was only required to send a cover letter and a CV to the HR department. In January 2016, I was selected out of 80+ candidates to attend the assessment day at Walter Scott’s office in Edinburgh. The day was packed with several interviews with employees from various departments as well as the directors. I was assessed on my ability to work in a team as Walter Scott’s investment approach is team-orientated and every investment has to be approved by the whole team. I was also tested on handling large amount of information in a short period of time by analysing company’s annual accounts in 30 minutes and deciding whether it would be a viable investment. Another important skill that I was tested on during my interview was the ability to pitch a stock and defend my investment idea when facing challenging questions.

Soon after the assessment day, I was informed that I successfully passed and was invited for a 5-week internship with the Investment Research team. Although 5 weeks may sound like a short time, the internship was well-structured in order to gain exposure to all the stages of the Walter Scott’s investment process. During my internship, I was assigned a mentor who was an experienced Investment Manager and who was also very generous with his time when it came to explaining new investment concepts to me. I was given a project and had to produce a 20+ page report on a chosen topic, financial analysis of annual accounts of a chosen company as well as an overall research report on a chosen company. I selected my project on private healthcare in Middle East and Africa and analysed two companies in this space. On top of my project, I was given the opportunity to attend company meetings with prominent CEOs of large-cap companies. Walter Scott prides itself in the team-work investment approach and therefore there were a lot of discussions and research meetings to attend as well. As an intern, I was given a lot of responsibility to contribute to the research process while it was also important to take initiative and show willingness to learn new investment concepts. At the end of the internship, I presented my research findings to the Investment Research team on private healthcare in Middle East and Africa and compared two companies as potential investments.

Above all, the internship gave me a glimpse of Walter Scott’s culture, which was unique given its relatively small size compared to other investment firms. The company’s management places emphasis on developing its people and work-life balance while also rewarding hard-work. The relatively small team and flat organisational structure allowed me to learn from people who had decades of experience with the firm as well as investment managers and analysts from various backgrounds, some of which also started as interns. I would recommend the internship to anyone who is willing to take on new challenges and has a keen interest in global equities.