Journey from a Concentration Camp

Every now and then we are offered a special opportunity to pause and reflect.

Most of the time, most of us are too busy to notice. But occasionally, something comes across our desk that forces us to stop and think. This is it.

The letter below is so extraordinary, it is almost unbelievable. I’ve been talking about it with friends and colleagues since first speaking to Jay last week.

We get a fair amount of inbound resumes in any given year. I look at all of them but follow up with very few (roughly zero). This one is special. Please take a moment to read it.

Dear Chris Pavese,

I am interested in a junior level Analyst position. My resume does not reflect the typical profile of a candidate for this role, which is why I enclose this letter to explain my journey from a concentration camp to the United States.

I was born in the late 1980s to a father who is a government employee and mother who is a teacher, in Northern Sri Lanka. The longstanding civil war (which had been waging since 1983) began to escalate while I was in high school. In response to the rape of female students by military officers, I began organizing nonviolent demonstrations beginning in 2004. These protests evolved into 150,000 people rallies against the militarization of the Sri Lankan government.

Seeking to quell protests, I was kidnapped and interred in a secret concentration camp located in the northern part of the country in 2006. Peers in the camp were blindfolded and executed. Sensing that I was going to be killed as well, thirteen weeks into the incarceration, I escaped from the camp and had to find a means to flee the country, alone, at age 19. In hiding, with no internet or other outside access to the world, I self-studied for the SAT and SAT II Subject Tests (Math Level 2, Physics, and Chemistry), motivated to secure a student visa with admission to a university in the United States. I did not score well in SAT as English is not my native language. On the individual subject tests, I scored around 770 (each out of 800). I subsequently received a student visa and graduated with a degree in Engineering. I have also since received a green card.

While I have an engineering degree, I am fascinated by the multidisciplinary nature of professional investing and continue to build the necessary skills to be a professional equity analyst. My investment qualifications are similarly largely self-driven: voracious reading; online courses (CQF in-progress, CFA Level II in-progress, value investing introduction course from Stanford University, financial modeling from BIWS); independent investment research.

Enclosed you will find UHAL and Korn/Ferry investment reasoning along with my formal resume. I hope that you will give me an opportunity to present my idea, in person, as I am motivated to be a part of Broyhill Asset Management.



We are a relatively small office in a relatively obscure location. We are always looking for good people. But at the moment, we are not actively seeking to grow our team.

That may change in the future. If it does, we would be incredibly fortunate to have someone like Jay join the team.  As much as we’d like to “keep him for ourselves” until we are ready to hire, I am more interested in helping Jay find the right home today.

If you are looking for a junior analyst and would like to speak to Jay, please feel free to contact me directly.  I am happy to make an intro.

It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind. Always striving for improvement. Fighting to achieve our goals. Trying to accomplish more. Sometimes we forget to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.


Thank you for making a difference in my life. I will do my best to make a difference in yours. That is a promise.