Teaching Private Equity at Booth

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Guest post by Adjunct Professor Christopher McGowan 

Involvement and support from the Chicago private equity (PE) ecosystem has been a tremendous catalyst for the success of our private equity clinical and experiential programs at Booth. The participation of local firms, hands-on mentorship, classroom instruction, and a strong network are all integral to how we prepare students—not just to pursue a career in PE—but to be invaluable professionals at their future firms and companies.

Private equity is best learned and practiced as an apprenticeship-style business where experience and mentoring are key to building skills over time. Thus, experiential programming can be very valuable for students to build knowledge of how the industry is structured and functions, and why firms take the actions they do. It is remarkable for 65+ PE/VC firms in Chicago to dedicate the time, people, and effort required to support internships and clinical experiences year-round for Booth students. These opportunities are an incredible way for students to learn how to source deals, the types of resources you can utilize, and the kind of networking and research that generates potential investment opportunities. And it is quite unique amongst major MBA programs.

Because of these opportunities, we have more students each year looking at our suite of PE classes, internships, experiences, resources, etc. as they are thinking about business schools. Over the last seven years, I have become more involved because of Booth’s world-class faculty and students, and I enjoy bringing my PE investing experiences over the last 23 years into our classrooms, seminars, and individual discussions. I learn something new from each of my student interactions and our dialogues makes me a better investor. That sort of investment in each other is something you see daily at Booth.

One of my students and I sat down the other day to talk about some of the reasons Booth is such a great place to study, work, and start your future in PE.

You can read more about our in-depth discussion here»


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Christopher McGowan is an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth, Faculty Advisor to SPITC and OxChi, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and general partner at CJM Ventures, a Chicago private equity investment firm. Professor McGowan’s private equity career began 23 years ago with AEA Investors in New York City and after receiving his MBA continued with Madison Dearborn Partners for 12 years. This year is his seventh teaching Booth’s Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge (SPITC), his fifth co-teaching Booth’s Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab (PE/VC Lab), and his third conducting the Oxford-Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge (Ox-Chi). He is also an active angel investor and is on the boards of Hyde Park Angels, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Kinzie Capital, Leadership Lyceum, OPTO International, Rise Interactive, Simple Mills, Spikeball, and Valley Growth Ventures