Brandes Investment Partners, a global investment advisory firm based in San Diego, received 800 resumes for three entry-level positions in its Research Associate Program. The final round of interviews whittled down to 20-25 people. In the end, LMU senior finance majors Catherine Madrigal and Nathan Mark received two out of the three offers made by the company, which they both happily accepted.
“The firm’s interview process was hands down one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my brief professional career,” said Nathan, who is also majoring in Applied Information Management Systems (AIMS). “In the second interview, I met with six of the firm’s senior investment professionals so I got the sense these were highly competitive positions.”
Catherine and Nathan were students in Professor Josh Spizman’s “Capital Markets” course in fall 2020, where they first learned about the Brandes job opportunities through Ralph Birchmeier ‘91, an LMU accounting alum who served as a partner at Brandes before retiring in 2018.
“Once we learned the fall semester would be entirely virtual, I decided to bring in guest speakers each week to help reinforce how the concepts we were covering in class are being used in the real world,” said Professor Spizman. “I got to know Ralph through various events at LMU and knew he was an excellent speaker. I was happy our students had the opportunity to hear about his career and how he used some of the concepts we covered in his work.”
Birchmeier now serves as chair of the LMU Finance Targeted Affinity Council, a group of mostly CBA alumni who give their time and resources to help students in their career endeavors.
“After asking Mr. Birchmeier for his advice on taking the CFA exams and pursuing a career in equity research, he graciously shared the Brandes Research Associate brochure with Professor Spizman to notify interested students of post-graduation opportunities,” said Catherine.
The Brandes Research Associate position is a four-year program that 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. Additionally, RAs work closely with Brandes analysts and senior analysts while also having significant interaction with both the sell side and senior executives of companies under review.
Catherine is incredibly grateful for the classes, resources and opportunities made available through the CBA.
“The curriculum provided a well-rounded business education, and the professors always supported my personal and professional growth,” she said. “The mock interviews and Wall Street Prep courses also helped me feel confident and prepared for the interview process.”
“It’s been great to see the quality jobs LMU finance students have been getting,” said Professor Spizman. “I truly believe the industry recognizes how talented LMU students are. Catherine and Nathan’s success is further evidence of that.”
Written by Madison Scott ’21