The finals of a unique challenge which partners two of the world’s leading business schools in finance took place last week, giving students access to leading investment banks and private equity firms, mentoring from industry professionals, networking opportunities and the chance to work on real life case scenarios, by designing a proposal for a private equity LBO transaction.
The Oxford Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge, which partners the Private Equity Institute at Oxford Saïd with the Polsky Centre for Entrepreneurship of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, is a pioneering approach to networking and learning. It is exclusively designed for students from each of the schools, who are looking to develop their careers in private equity and investment banking, to broaden their skills and experience and share expertise and learning from the USA and Europe.
The team from Oxford Saïd, Alex Bertoli, Johan Krynauw, and Daniel Schacter from the MBA programme, and Nicolas Hartmann and Julian Müller from the MSc in Financial Economics (MFE) programme, looked at the company Moleskine in Italy, and put forward an investment thesis that looked at growth scenarios, marketing transformation, financing, valuation and returns, whilst the winning team from Chicago Booth looked at the company Planet Fitness in the USA.
‘The experience for the students is more than the challenge. It is a three day focused and intensive programme that gives students access to the best education and network opportunities in finance and private equity, globally,’ said Andreas T. Angelopoulos, Executive Director of the Private Equity Institute and Programme Director, Finance Lab in Oxford Saïd. ‘Students attended an advanced acquisition finance modelling seminar, worked on a real case by Bain Capital, competed in the PE Challenge, attended the Private Equity Forum and went on a London trek; this is unique. By partnering with Chicago Booth, we are able to offer students from both schools the opportunity to connect our students and alumni with professionals from leading private equity firms, investment banks, and faculty in Europe and USA.’
As well as being challenged in the pressure of a real world timeline for their proposals, the Oxford students received mentoring from Corsini Manfredi, Managing Director of Rothschild, and Ed Goble and Mayank Kanga, two Oxford alumni from Bridgepoint in the run up to the event. They then presented their final proposals to an investment committee which included Humphrey Battcock of Advent International, Khaled Saïd of Capital Generation Partners (Oxford alumnus), James Brooks of Goldman Sachs Merchant Bank (Oxford alumnus), and Zeynep Yenel of Goldman Sachs Financial Sponsors Group.
Humphrey Battcock, Managing Partner of Advent International, said: ‘This challenge is a good opportunity for students to take part in a close to real life exercise in private equity execution. I was pleased to be part of the panel which looked at the teams’ proposals for a buyout transaction. All the team members had clearly worked hard to produce a good product and this type of exercise should help them in seeking career opportunities in private equity.’
‘The uniqueness of this challenge is the combination of the best of the US and Europe,’ said Oxford team member Johan Krynauw. ‘We are competing against the number one finance school in the USA, Chicago Booth, and I'm not aware of any other business schools offering these kinds of education and networking opportunities in private equity. We selected Moleskine as our buyout candidate as it has a strong brand but a lot of opportunity for further growth, both through geographic and product diversification. We have worked very hard to put together our proposal and financial model.’
The three day programme began when Andreas T. Angelopoulos and Tiago Dias, Corporate Finance Vice President of Altice presented a seminar on acquisition finance modelling. This was followed by a presentation of a private equity case on the LBO acquisition of TeamSystem in Italy, by Luigi Bartone, Director of Intermediate Capital Group, Luca Bassi, Managing Director of Bain Capital, Federico Leproux, CEO of TeamSystem, and Roberto Ippolito, Managing Partner of RiverRock (Chicago Booth alumnus).
After presenting their proposals to the investment committee panel, the teams had an opportunity to attend the 10th Annual Private Equity Forum in Oxford, which brings together academics and investors like Blackstone GSO, Goldman Sachs Merchant bank, Ardian, Advent and CDC Group to discuss challenges and opportunities facing the private equity sector. The following day they went on a London trek to visit Goldman Sachs where team members networked and attended an overview of the private equity, mergers & acquisitions and leverage finance landscape presented by Managing Directors of the firm as well as Jamie Rivers, Partner, BC partners (Oxford alumnus), and James Brooks (Oxford alumnus) of Goldman Sachs Merchant Bank.
Oxford Saïd team member, Nicolas Hartmann said: ‘The Oxford Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge was a unique opportunity for me. As one of the MFEs on the team, I had the chance to benefit from the professional experience of some of the other team members which was extremely rewarding. I was very impressed by the professional advice we could gather. We gained insights from multiple managing directors from investment banks as well as seasoned private equity professionals. Not only did it help us tremendously to develop our buyout thesis but it was also an outstanding chance to further develop my network in London. Overall, I am very grateful for this opportunity.’
To participate in the Challenge, students must have first taken part in the ‘Bridgepoint Private Equity Challenge’ sponsored and run by Bridgepoint in association with the Private Equity Institute. This challenge aimed to find the smartest assessment of leveraged buyout opportunities in the UK. Andreas T. Angelopoulos chose the team of five from more than 200 students that participated in the Bridgepoint PE Challenge and mentored them for five weeks in the run up to the Oxford Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge.
To be eligible for the Challenges, students must have registered in the Oxford Saïd Finance Lab, a joint venture between the Private Equity Institute and Oxford Saïd, which allows students to take part in a series of practical workshops on financial and valuation modelling, challenges sponsored by Centerview, Bridgepoint and Hermes, and real-life case studies offered by a number of senior executives in leading banks and funds, providing networking opportunities with company representatives.
On the day, the team from Chicago (Andrew Alexander, Michael Eisinger, Bradley Powell, Michael Vander Roest and Edward White) won the Challenge. Next year, students from Oxford Saïd will have the opportunity to visit Chicago Booth, challenge for the title, and build their network in the US.
To see more images, and to read quotes from both teams, see our Medium post