Comparison of LO AM Research Associate Programs

Trying to synthesize some of the info on this forum about several LO AM Research Associate programs. Happy to learn about people’s thoughts on this, and how they compare to P72 Academy or Cit CAP programs. Have no idea about return rate so def need supplemental info in that sense.

  1. Dodge & Cox RA

Pro: supportive culture, decent comp, small cohort/intern class, great HSW placement afterwards (recently more diversified exits to SM HF & even PE), direct shadowing with analysts

Con: old school philosophy (might be better given value rebound), associates don’t get much opps given extremely long horizon, very strict 3-yr-and-go program, downtown SF (might not be desirable)


  1. Cap Group (CAP Asso)

Pro: most renowned brand with highest aum, theoretically some (tho very very low) possibility of internal promotion

Con: some random rotation on non-research functions and desks, centralized model of associates so less learning exposure (need verification), no promotion if lateral hire


  1. Wellington

Pro: Least sleepy investment style (diversified), theoretical internal promotion (very very low tho)

Con: probably the most diversity-focused (at least half) RA program among top LOs (based on LinkedIn search), hire really late, training not that sufficient (need verification) 


(Absolutely no idea about these two, input needed)

  1. T Rowe Price

  2. Fidelity

 

Thanks! heard CAP intern class is 15-ish, do you have any idea on how many of them are getting promoted?

 

MFS - strong culture with relatively frequent RA to Analyst promos. Program is 4-5 years long, exit ops may not be as strong as other LO’s (I’ve seen more MBA placements in Columbia/Booth). Associates are typically hired to assist an analyst in covering a sector and typically do not rotate (I.e hired to backfill a senior analyst which explains the potential for analyst promo).

 

I’d avoid MFS. I know a couple people who did their program. I almost took an offer there but glad I didn’t.
 

Bad pay and very low promotion from associate to analyst. On top of limited internal mobility, exit ops are worse than other LO. I’ve heard of several associates being pushed out without having another job or b-school lined up. They market themselves as having the best culture but it sounds like that means they just tell everyone they’re doing an excellent job until suddenly you’re being pushed out for doing a bad job.. no warning, no chance to improve. 

 

Do these firms hire you back after u get ur MBA? Do any sponsor for MBA?

 

If they like you - yes they’ll hire you back. I’ve never heard of associates getting their MBA sponsored, they would probably outright promote you than sponsor your MBA since the value add from an MBA is pretty small and is really only useful from a marketing perspective (for the AM).

 

Thx for the input. What do the associates who arent returning do after MBA? Do they just hop off to another LO?

 

Have seen one data point for D&C. In general no sponsor AFAIK sadly.

 

Do these program typically only recruit fresh graduates or are they open to candidates with some experience? Let's say two years of PE/MBB? And do they sponsor visas?

 

Very hard to say. All the 6-8 programs mentioned above in total hire less than 50-ish kids per year (maybe smaller than one single BB/EB summer class), very informal processes going on.

 

also kinda curious if there is much difference in landing in Welly, Cap, MFS, Fido, or D&C in terms of exit to other funds without MBA. Are any of them particularly better or weaker?

 

Anybody have insights on Alger's 3 year RA program? Mentorship/reputation/comp/exits?

 

way too many glassdoor reviews and wso posts show that alger's ceo is an arrogant narcissist who throws temper tantrums at his analysts and brags about his wealth when the markets are down. friends who worked at the firm confirmed how bad the culture is too. also heard that the ceo inherited his position from his father in law and that he is out of touch with his junior staff. and would not wanna work in the same position there for 19 years, which they advertise as analyst tenure.

 

I would point out that Capital has both the CAP rotational program that recruits out of undergrad as well as a Research Associate program that recruits experienced hires for a dedicated model like the sell side has. What you wrote seems to apply still.

 
Most Helpful

I’m currently in the RA program at Capital (not the CAP program). They closed off the ability to make Analyst within the RA program a couple years ago, although it is possible to make Analyst from the CAP program. MBA placement is very strong and so is LO and even HF placement. They have a dedicated model where you’re paired with 1-3 Analysts or a model where you essentially do work for any analyst/PM that needs help (less desirable imo). Comp is in line with industry given experience and if you include their retirement contribution (outside of a 401k contribution) the comp is quite good as this is 15% of your comp (6 year vest tho), not including a performance and firm bonus (can be an additional 15-35%). Total Comp varies between ~$150k to $275k for Associates to Senior Associates and can go up to $400k for Senior Analysts within the research group. Comp may be higher past Senior Analyst, but I have less visibility here. Overall my experience has been very positive. The Analysts think highly of their RAs and some treat them as Analysts (bc Analysts at Capital manage a book).

 

How many years of experience for 400k? I’m from the private side (interested in moving public), but assuming this is 6+ years this seems low?

 

Thank you! Could you talk about the day-to-day differences between CAP vs RA program? I am just confused as to what CAP does given that there are already dedicated RAs for analysts. Hope this makes sense

 

I don’t have great visibility to the CAP program, but it’s basically a rotational program with the end product being a sector pitch where you might have vertical SaaS for example and pitch to buy X, avoid Y, and sell Z with the help of other analysts/PMs. The day to day for the RA program will vary by analyst depending on how comfortable they are with you. Some you will act as a right hand. Others you will be in excel all day. It all depends. For me, it’s probably 30% modeling, 20-30% running expert calls/SS calls, 20% writing reports, and 20-30% ramping on new names/researching current holdings in a more traditional sense (reading through 10ks, news items, investor days, etc.).

 

What’s the exit plan for experienced RAs? Do they force you to leave after a few years?

 
LongOnly791

I’m currently in the RA program at Capital (not the CAP program). They closed off the ability to make Analyst within the RA program a couple years ago, although it is possible to make Analyst from the CAP program. MBA placement is very strong and so is LO and even HF placement. They have a dedicated model where you’re paired with 1-3 Analysts or a model where you essentially do work for any analyst/PM that needs help (less desirable imo). Comp is in line with industry given experience and if you include their retirement contribution (outside of a 401k contribution) the comp is quite good as this is 15% of your comp (6 year vest tho), not including a performance and firm bonus (can be an additional 15-35%). Total Comp varies between ~$150k to $275k for Associates to Senior Associates and can go up to $400k for Senior Analysts within the research group. Comp may be higher past Senior Analyst, but I have less visibility here. Overall my experience has been very positive. The Analysts think highly of their RAs and some treat them as Analysts (bc Analysts at Capital manage a book).

LongOnly791 - May I PM you for a few questions?

 

bump -- saw the 2025 SA app open for Harris and curious what people know about them?

 

Since OP asked about P72 Academy/CAP: I would focus on the survival rate within top MM/LO respectively since the 'exit' opportunities if you were to lose the seat are roughly similar on both sides (not great). My general impression is that it's easier to become PM/stay within the top MM (this includes jumping to a different but equivalent platform if PM blows up etc) than be promoted to a true PM-track role in a LO from RA (including being sent off to MBA and re-recruiting from there). However, conditional on landing an Analyst role at a LO, your EV is higher than at an MM (and depends on how you value front- vs back-weighted comp).

 

What is the typical LO comp at a top shop after 2-4 years of SS research?

 

Thanks, are these estimates the same w/o MBA? First year LO (no MBA just 2-4years SS) making 150k base with 25-75% bonus. Trying to understand where this stacks up.

 

Interned at a top LO, networked with a few, and accepted RA role at another. Granted my limited experience, I thought I would drop a comment. Echoing many of the highlights OP and other posters already made. This is a great thread!

Wellington - RA program is extremely impressive due to the number of strategies they employ. For example, new grads could have the opportunity to rotate through private equity, long/short, impact, macro, fixed income research, and equity research all during the RA program. Networking across teams is encouraged. This opens up an insane amount of opportunities - whether it's for exit opps, grad school, or internal promotion.

Dodge & Cox - unique RA program due to their investment philosophy. The RAs speak very highly of it. Like you said, along with great HSW placement, someone even went straight from the RA program here to Warburg Pincus buyout PE which is crazy

Capital Group - highly regarded firm and CAP does interesting investing rotations. They promote a decent amount of CAP Associates to Analysts (according to LinkedIn). Associates also go to top MBA, other prominent LOs, HFs, PM in tech, etc. Lots HSW, former bankers, and former HF guys at Cap Group (here's a link to SM HF / tiger cub investors that exited to Capital): https://www.linkedin.com/search/results/people/?currentCompany=%5B%2240…

Harris Associates - with PM Bill Nygren. They run a competitive RA scheme and are big on value investing

AllianceBernstein - known for their sell-side research, but they also have fixed income and equity buy-side research roles in AM for college grads

Sands Capital RA - seem to place emphasis on internal promotions here

Hotchkis & Wiley RA - not very familiar but PMs are pedigreed

Janus Henderson RA - not familiar

 

Any insight into Voya Investment Management, PGIM or  Lord Abbett

 

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