Looking at real world investing from a pragmatic perspective

3 minute read

My background

I am a consultant who works with owners of professional service firms in terms of buying, selling or restructuring their practices. Practice buyers can include individuals, corporations or private equity companies. As part of our services, we also assist practice owners in selling the real estate that is used by their practices. So my professional career involves valuing practices and negotiating a fair purchase or sales price for these practices and related real estate.

My search for the right programme

I was looking for a programme that could help enhance my skills in terms of cutting-edge valuation techniques. In particular, I was not looking for a 'cookie cutter' workshop that would give me basic formulas or approaches. Rather, I was looking for a programme that had first-rate professors and instructors who looked at valuation primarily as a bespoke exercise in real-world settings. This was important to me because whilst continued education is important, I work at in an evolving market and need to be able to apply any learnings to my day-to-day, there has to be tangible value from the experience. When I received information regarding the Oxford Valuation of Private Assets Programme, I knew instantly this was the right programme for me. Even the sessions that were not precisely germane to my situation, such as emerging markets and infrastructure, gave me insights as to how to use valuation approaches learned in those settings to unique situations in my niche.  

The Oxford Saïd experience

The programme far exceeded my expectations. The instructors were highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Their insights were pragmatic and real-world oriented. For me, the session ran by Martin Schmalz on valuation mind games and negotiations was breathtakingly relevant to my situation and I applied my learnings to a negotiation that I was conducting long distance during my week in Oxford. That is only one example of how I applied my learnings quickly to my consulting clients; every single session during the entire five-day programme was well taught and relevant in terms of learning real world valuation methodologies of non-publicly traded assets.

The other important benefit of the programme is the personal interaction with the instructors and fellow students. In person learning for a subject matter such as this one is vital to learning outcomes and the connections you make with your fellow participants enrich the experience. In no other setting would I get to meet and discuss industry challenges and opportunities with such a diverse group of people, learning about their own experiences and how they align with or differ to mine. I made personal and professional relationships that will last for many years to come.

Five days of value

In summary, I would highly recommend this tightly designed five-day programme, as the level of information, quality of tutors and diversity of your fellow participants is truly outstanding. It is a must for those finance professionals who need to value private assets of any type, companies, real estate, private debt and venture capital. You will also develop better due diligence skills and negotiation skills in situations where there is no right or wrong answer as to the value of a non-publicly traded asset. My valuation toolkit was greatly enhanced after I finished this programme and I use those tools every day in my consulting practice, putting my Oxford learning into practice and proving real value in taking part in the programme.

Oxford Valuation of Private Assets