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Discovering the World of Growth Investing

Marina Qu, a rising junior at Harvard University, shares her impressions from week one as an editorial intern at Sands Capital. She joins 15 other interns and five externs who will spend the summer working in teams across the firm.



June 2023

This summer, I had an incredible opportunity to join Sands Capital’s internship program alongside 15 other interns and five externs.

As I first stepped onto the 30th floor of the modern high-rise on Wilson Boulevard, my heart raced with anticipation. First came the Intern Welcome Breakfast hosted by the human resources team. There, I met my fellow interns, each of us assigned to different teams, specializing in public and private investments, client relations, and operations. Laughter filled the air as we broke the ice, exchanging anecdotes and discovering intriguing facts about one another. For example, the cohort’s favorite household chore was doing dishes, and three of my fellow interns had twin siblings, a fascinating coincidence.

The 16 interns selected for this summer program are involved in a wide range of academic disciplines. We bring 12 different majors to the table, each offering unique perspectives and areas of expertise. Students represent 10 universities: American University, Berea College, Colby College, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Princeton University, and the University of Virginia. Within this talented intern group, 37 percent of us are rising juniors, 44 percent are entering their senior year, and the remaining 19 percent are MBA students.

The first days of the program were a whirlwind of orientations and information sessions hosted by staff from various teams, who detailed their roles within the company. In a session with Sands Capital President Perry Williams, he traced his path at the firm from starting in 2004 on the client relations team to now serving as the president and director of research.

We also met Jenny Goldsmith, the director of the research associate program and senior research analyst, who focuses on the life sciences sector. The research associate role is for individuals interested in equity research, and research associates work closely with an analyst for two to four years. Goldsmith discussed the quality of research produced by the investment team through this collaboration. The team assess potential investments—and all portfolio business recommendations—against the six criteria that guide the firm’s investment decisions.

I was fortunate to see this process in action during my first week when I sat in on a session in which analysts and portfolio managers debated the merits of a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer. After visiting the company and competitors onsite, Research Analyst Judy Jiao presented her investment thesis. I was surprised by the level of the insights and the heated debate as portfolio managers, analysts, and associates scrutinized everything from air quality in Shanghai to the company’s best-selling electric vehicle models.

Later, I learned this vetting session is part of a monthslong analysis to assess the business’ long-term growth potential. Just as Executive Managing Director and Sr. Portfolio Manager Dave Levanson explained in our info session, Sands Capital focuses on building a concentrated portfolio, only adding a few companies each year but often holding them for five to seven years. In fact, the firm’s weighted-average holding time was six years as of March 31, 2023.

Each information session helped me understand how an investment company works, including how to develop new client relationships and nurture old ones and how the technology and data analytics staff support other parts of the firm.

I appreciated the overview of the investment firm’s structure, especially since this is my first internship. As a rising junior studying economics and interested in journalism, I am joining Sands Capital as an editorial intern. I not only get to understand how content is created, edited, and distributed, but I also work with the research team on creating thought leadership.

In addition, I value access to each level of the staff across the client relations, operations, and investment teams. Each morning, I receive emails on firmwide updates, which include memos on potential investment and meeting schedules. These emails provide me with higher-level insights into Sands Capital as a firm. Because interns are invited to sit in on meetings, I attended the client relations and the portfolio analysis and communications teams meetings

During my first week, Sands Capital hosted a firmwide happy hour on the newly renovated rooftop. Against the beautiful backdrop of the Washington, D.C. skyline, I talked to a variety of team members and learned how their work supports parts of our firm.

The constant learning opportunities and lively environment, in addition to the fully stocked fridge and snack pantry, make it exciting for me to come to work every day. I am grateful for Sands Capital’s commitment to nurturing young talent and providing us with firsthand experiences. Along with other interns and externs, I am excited to contribute my skills and enthusiasm to the firm. Through this program, we are confident that we will gain invaluable insights that will help us lay the foundation for careers in finance and beyond.


The views expressed are the opinion of Sands Capital and are not intended as a forecast, a guarantee of future results, investment recommendations, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. The views expressed were current as of the date indicated and are subject to change. This material may contain forward-looking statements, which are subject to uncertainty and contingencies outside of Sands Capital’s control. Readers should not place undue reliance upon these forward-looking statements. There is no guarantee that Sands Capital will meet its stated goals. All investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. Past performance is not indicative of future results. A company’s fundamentals or earnings growth is no guarantee that its share price will increase.

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