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Oxford Private Equity Programme

Oxford Private Equity Programme

Digest of the week

Private equity has fundamentally changed the corporate and financial landscape, yet its structure is not well understood. This programme has been designed to give all participants, operating in all parts of the industry, a thorough understanding of the structures and issues facing private equity. 

We start with an overview of the private equity landscape and then derive deeper insights from case analysis, practical assignments, and group discussions. Although the overall structure is always the same, each programme is different. This is partly due to the contributions from outside speakers, who share their experiences of very recent “real-world” transactions. It’s also due to the very active involvement of participants, who are continually asking questions and drawing on their own knowledge to enrich the experience of the group.

Professor Tim Jenkinson, Programme Director


Delegate perspectives: why are we here?

"Creating organisational knowledge"

"In the group that I work for there is no official organisational knowledge about Private Equity. The LP agreement is just like a big, black box that we can’t see into, can’t unpick. So I came on this programme to understand how to read the LP agreement, to understand how the fees work: basically to gain deeper knowledge overall. Tatiana Fafaliou."

Tatiana Fafaliou, Chief Investment Officer, Olympia Development SA

"Gaining a firm foundation for the next stage in my career"

"I don’t work in Private Equity myself at the moment – I’m in investment banking. But some colleagues and I are looking at setting up a fund to invest in Africa, which we believe is the next frontier. Africa has so much potential but is in need of greater offshore funding and world-class management teams – both of which Private Equity supplies.

So this is a transitional programme for me. I’m hoping it will give me a firm foothold and foundation in Private Equity to help me make it to the next stage in my life and career."

Obafemy Doherty, President and Managing Partner, Global Consulting LLC

Programme snapshots

Inspired by an Oxford professor

"Tim Jenkinson is really brilliant – and I’m not saying that just because he’s sitting next to me at lunch right now! He has the ability to explain complex things in a simple way, without patronising you. That’s crucial in Private Equity, which is really complicated. He is the reason I am here actually: I heard him speak in a conference in Paris and found him so inspiring that I looked for an opportunity to learn from him again." 

Olivier Courtois, Executive Advisor to the Group Chief Executive Officer, CAISSE DES DEPOTS

Walking through history

"My favourite part of the week so far has been the walking tour of Oxford and dinner in the Chinese restaurant. The historic colleges are beautiful and very atmospheric and the restaurant was just excellent." OD

Non-stop interaction

"I’m really enjoying the group-work. It really helps the information go in and stay there – so much better than glazing over during a series of slides. Having said that, even the lectures here are interactive: people are always asking questions or giving examples from their own experience."

Maha Katabi, Partner, Private Equity, Sectoral Asset Management


Learning from other participants

"I took a bit of a back seat in the modelling sessions: I don’t do that spreadsheet-type stuff. But it was great for me to learn from the other people in my group who do have that sort of expertise. As a Private Equity lawyer, my own knowledge is in areas such as fund structuring, so I hope that I was able to help other people in the same way." 

Eleanor Shanks, Lawyer, Dentons UKMEA LLP

Parting thoughts

The programme is just the start

"I already knew quite a lot about Private Equity before coming on the programme, but my knowledge has been enriched by the insights provided by other participants. They had different perspectives and come at Private Equity from different angles. I got a lot from working with them in the syndicate groups, but also in the main room. Tim would be lecturing, for example, and someone would ask a question. In answering the question, Tim would say something that set me off thinking in a completely new direction, or just make new connections in my mind.

I started to think more deeply about valuations and the economics of PE. How do you make money in Private Equity? Who makes the money? Who will be making money in the future?

People already working in Private Equity might think of a programme like this as “going back to basics”, but in my experience going back to basics is always good and can be innovative. All the academics have so much knowledge and this is an opportunity to get from them what you need to know.”

Vuyo Jack, Non-executive Director, Public Investment Corporation



The first session has concentrated on giving us the background and an overview of the whole sector. I suppose I knew most of what they have covered so far – but we’re only two hours into the week, and they have in fact covered most of what I know! ES



We ran out of time!

The LBO session has been the highlight for me, with lots of practical work in our syndicate groups. It’s not just theory – we’ve been working through cases. But so many questions came up and our discussions were so interesting that we were really pushed to get to the end. We’re cramming a lot in, which is great, but I wish the programme was longer. TF


BENCHMARKING AND VALUE ATTRIBUTION ANALYSISDr Ruediger Stucke, Warburg Pincus and Oxford PE Institute

This was a great example of how the mix of expert speakers and engaged participants generates new discussion. Dr Stucke talked about some Oxford research that shows that investment companies’ results are regularly understated in quarterly reports but rise at year-end. Very interesting – but it got even more so when one of the afternoon’s speakers who was sitting at the back, Humphrey Battcock of Advent International, suddenly joined in the discussion and tried to explain why this might be. He was then quizzed in his turn by a couple of the participants – CIOs of pension funds and Sovereign Wealth Funds. TJ



The final session was a free-form discussion on the future of private equity. Will the sector grow or shrink? Will we see more LPs doing it for themselves? Will there be more regulation? Will it spread east and south? Half of all LPs are interested in expanding into Africa, while many are stopping exposure to China and India. We had a lot of very experienced practitioners who would have contributed thoughtfully to such a discussion even before the programme started. But you could see how people’s opinions had been affected by the sessions earlier in the week. Some were expressing themselves more forcefully where they had gained confidence; others were more careful than they had been, having developed a more nuanced understanding of the many issues affecting the sector. TJ