Last month members of the Part-Time Private Equity Club and 2 staff attended a trek to visit Merit Capital, a local Private Equity firm. Merit Capital currently employs a number Booth graduates and 4 of them were kind enough to join us for an hour long discussion about their company and the industry as a whole.
This was an opportunity for the club members to visit the actual site of a local PE firm and hear first-hand from Booth graduates that are working in the industry. Merit is a unique firm in that they have the ability to invest both subordinated debt and equity into middle-market companies, which has also helped position them well to work with independent sponsors. They tend to focus primarily on manufacturing, services and distribution companies and will get involved in recapitalizations, MBOs (management buy-outs) and LBOs (leveraged buy-outs), growth financing and ESOPS (employee stock ownership plan). There was a great presentation designed by the Merit team which was followed by a good amount of time for the attendees to ask questions and have a group discussion. It was a great learning experience and we were very impressed by the Merit Capital team.
The following weekend the club hosted a panel discussion consisting of 3 recent Booth graduates from the part-time program and 1 executive recruiter that works with private equity firms and portfolio companies. The panel was great because it provided an opportunity for the members to hear first-hand from people who have recently been in their seat and are now working in the types of roles that they are pursuing.
This was also intended as a follow up to Chris McGowan’s presentations from a prior session that mention there are many other great “PE Related” careers besides working at a “Core” PE firm. To address this, in addition to Stephen Master, V.P. at GTCR, the panel included Kevin Butts who is a Senior Associate at Northern Trust Private Equity working on their fund of funds team, and Katherine Hatter who is now a managing director at a private equity real estate firm.
The 3 of them were able to provide great insight into their paths before and after Booth, as well as specifics of their current roles. To complement the three recent Booth graduates, Anne Driscoll from McCarthy Bertschy, an executive search firm, was able to add an invaluable perspective into what opportunities she is seeing in the marketplace and what these firms really value in a potential hire.
The panelists offered great guidance and the over 50 student attendees were extremely engaged with quality questions. A big thank you to a great group of panelists that really put in good effort to add value for our club members.
Nick Arellano | Private Equity Club Co-Chair | Current Weekend MBA student