Kirsty - The US Equities Investor

"Don't give up, keep applying."
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"What I love about the job is how international it is"
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"Communication, that's the strongest most desirable and beneficial trait to have"
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"My job is about finding solutions"

"I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do for a job."

Kirsty grew up in rural Aberdeenshire, attending Aboyne Academy from 2000-2007. Her ambition was to become a ballet dancer. When that did not work out, she moved in 2007 to study at the University of Edinburgh and took up scuba diving, graduating MA (Hons) in Economics in 2011 and MSc in Carbon Management in 2012. She joined Baillie Gifford in 2012 and is an Investment Manager in the US Equities Team. Kirsty enjoys hiking, is an avid reader and remains an enthusiastic ballet dancer!


"You kind of just have to go with the flow a little bit."

Q - What do you like about your job?

A - "I think it's that it's very varied. I can't imagine getting bored in what I do. And I'm in my ninth year now and I'm still not bored with researching companies. I think that variety that it brings is really, really interesting to me. There's also a couple of other things. So the second thing is: we, as a team, invest in what we would call transformational growth. So we're looking for companies that can really potentially change the world. And it just means that you get to research things that are right at the cutting edge. Whether it be new types of medicines or new types of electric versus combustible cars, and you start researching them in such an early stage. You just learn so much, about so many things that you probably in life wouldn't cover. I think the other thing for me is: I love jigsaws. And I think that this job is quite like a metaphorical jigsaw. "

Q - What key skills do you need to be a good equity investor?

A - "I'm not sure there's a tick list, I think some degree of analytical skill is required. But I think there has to be combined with creativity, because I think if you think about what I said earlier about what active investing is: it's about trying to beat a benchmark. I think you're only going to beat that benchmark, if you think differently. Because if you all analyse companies in exactly the same way, you're all going to arrive at the same conclusion, which means ultimately, you're not going to beat the benchmark. "

Q - What advice would you give to someone wanting to get to where you are today?

A - "I think you have to be willing to fail, and to learn from it. I hate the idea that somebody wouldn't apply for a job because they're worried about not getting it. I feel like if you're so fearful of failing at something that you don't even try, you just don't know what opportunities you're losing out of as a consequence."