IESEs annual PE Competition unique in Europe < Back
The winner of this year’s Private Equity Competition, the second edition of this event, was the “Pearson 21” Team, composed of first-year MBA students Olga Nikiforova, Martins Mellens, David Riphagen, Jaime Sanjuan and Pablo Sanint. The event, held in Barcelona, was sponsored by KMPG.
A common thread throughout the panel’s impressions of the day was the high quality of all participating students, as well as overall improvement of the event’s organization.
This year, the event included a real case along with all of its original documentation, explained organizer Ignacio Romeu. Furthermore, private equity professionals who were involved in the actual deal sat as judges of the competition, adding a real-life dimension to the negotiations.
IESE is the only business school in Europe that hosts a Private Equity Competition with this degree of authenticity, something that Romeu said he hopes will serve to consolidate the event and allow it to grow further in future years.
Pablo Sanint, one of the members of the Pearson 21 team, had already worked in private equity, in Colombia, before beginning his MBA at IESE. He says the competition closely resembled his experience in the sector, but with the added benefit of real-time feedback and pointers from professionals from funds such as The Carlyle Group, Doughty Hanson & Co, Change Capital Partners and Lion Capital Partners.
Sanint’s teammate Jaime Sanjuan said he was particularly taken aback by the amount of time and thought the judges put into delivering their assessment of each team. In summing up the day, he concluded that sometimes you learn more from a laboratory situation like this one than sitting through a classroom lecture.
From the judges’ point of view, there was consensus regarding the high-caliber of the students’ work, as well as a noted progression from morning negotiations to afternoon presentations. Marco Sebold, who works for Change Capital Partners in London and is himself an IESE 2007 graduate, noted the high standards of the group as a whole. He echoed other judges in pointing out that there is still room for improvement, however, particularly in terms of persuading management to “get on board.”
One judge encouraged students to get their “skin in the game,” taking risks to make sure they were convincing enough. In the words of another panelist, “in order to defend something, you have to really believe in it.”