Finance club holds forum on private equity investment

The Finance and Investment Club sponsored a panel discussion featuring high-profile investment officers from local firms to educate students about the benefits and detriments of private equity investment.

About 75 people attended the event, “Private Equity: New Kings of Capitalism or Barbarians at the Gate,” Friday evening in Duqu?s Hall. The event is part of a regular panel discussion series the FIC organizes.

One of the main goals of the club’s panel discussions is networking opportunities.

“The hardest thing to do once you graduate is to get a job,” said sophomore Jason Mead, marketing director for the FIC. “Our primary goal is to help our members get jobs and internships, and the best way to do that is by meeting people.”

“The receptions (we hold in conjunction with our events) are a great opportunity to put yourself out there and make contacts,” Mead added. “This certainly helps when you’re looking for an internship or job.”

Panelists at the event included William G. Kay, a senior portfolio specialist for Morgan Stanley; Andrew D. Klingenstein, a managing partner of Fairfax Partners II and Fairfax Partners III; Jeffrey C. Hooke, the managing director of Hooke Associates, LLC, a corporate finance consulting firm; and Ulric Weil, a senior fellow of the Global Entrepreneurial Finance Research Institute at GW’s Business School.

Private equity funds control management of the companies in which they invest with the aim of creating shareholder value. The panelists debated if private equity investment is ruthless and insensitive to the businesses it manages, or if it is a positive thing for both small businesses and the economy considering private equity investment rose significantly in 2005 and 2006.

Mead said it is important to bring distinguished panelists and speakers to GW because it is not a target school that business firms look to for strong job or internship candidates.

“For example, we invited Morgan Stanley and – because they were impressed by GW students and FIC members – they will most likely return in January 2008 (to interview students for entry-level employment opportunities),” Mead said.

Mead added that the FIC is trying to make GW students “as attractive as possible” for potential employers and internship coordinators.

“The event was extraordinarily successful,” said Marc Held, a junior and president of FIC. “One main purpose of the event is to bring in practitioners that work on the things we learn about in the classroom.”

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