Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog
Exploring the World of Private Equity
I have always been very curious about the skills I would need for a career in private equity, but I came to Fuqua with very little knowledge of the field.
I have always been very curious about the skills I would need for a career in private equity (PE). It combines the topics I love the most learning about, which are business and finance; however, I came to Fuqua with very little knowledge of the field. I worked as a strategy consultant in Brazil and Mexico, and I knew I would want to pursue a career in PE at some point in my life.
Fuqua has great opportunities for those who want to explore the PE world. One example is the leveraged buyout (LBO) workshop. The workshop lasted four weeks with weekly meetings to discuss the assignments and it is a collaboration between Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Duke I&E) and the PE Club, two fantastic organizations that teach students about this very interesting field.
The LBO workshop is taught by experienced colleagues from Fuqua who worked in the PE market, focused on supporting students with the modeling that PE firms typically use to understand the possibilities of closing deals and generating value. The workshop was based on individual assignments with open discussion in the classroom. We had to build our spreadsheets from scratch and design a model taking into account all the different strategic aspects of an existing business, forecasting the financials, and defining a final valuation with multiple sensitivity analyses as the PE firms do.
We learned all the important details of what to consider in the model, as well as the dynamics in the decisions during the actual work. It was an awesome experience! Even having very little knowledge in the field, I learned tons!
The LBO workshop was interesting, not only because leveraged buyouts are a common topic asked during the recruiting process of the PE funds, but also for the understanding and discussions during weekly meetings, which made me even more interested in the field. I am really grateful to Fuqua, Duke I&E, and the PE Club for this unique opportunity.
As a next step, I am taking a new course called the Private Equity Buyouts Lab. I am putting these new skills into action to select a buyout target and develop a full investment thesis with the support of a committee of Fuqua alumni that are professionals in the industry. I am loving the class. The practice, hands-on work, and the connection to and support from our alumni network make this course unique in many ways.