Venture Capital/Private Equity Immersion Experience is a Highlight for MBA Students

Author: Mendoza College

The Gigot Center’s Venture Capital/Private Equity Immersion Experience is an outstanding experiential learning opportunity for Notre Dame’s MBA students:  a chance to spend one week shadowing a venture capitalist or an individual within a private equity firm from within our alumni community.  Made possible by a grant from the NASDAQ Educational Foundation, the Venture Capital/Private Equity Immersion is a tremendous opportunity to gain invaluable experience by providing deep exposure to the industry; a chance to hear numerous entrepreneur pitches; an understanding of what works and what doesn’t firsthand; and an opportunity to learn about the fatal flaws and potential pitfalls of a business plan.

The uniqueness and value of this Gigot program is evident from 2nd year MBA participant Kevin Kastenholz, who shared that “the Venture Capital Immersion was definitely a highlight of my MBA education. The experience brought lessons learned in the classroom, from finance and accounting to marketing and strategy, to life and dovetailed perfectly with the Venture Capital Fundamentals course. I would highly recommend it to every MBA student interested in innovation, entrepreneurship or early-stage investing.”

The Immersion Experience takes place during the fall and spring MBA Interterm periods.  Most participants have taken Gigot’s Venture Capital Fundamentals course:  this provides an excellent background, and prepares the students to take full advantage of their experience while demonstrating a level of knowledge of the industry that is essential to represent Notre Dame’s MBA program well. 

MBA students Konrad Billetz and Steve Robinson had a unique “angel investing” immersion with Irish Entrepreneur and angel investor Jim Hunt.  Jim shared that “hosting Konrad and Steve was a delight.  They were inquisitive and added great perspective and value in the meetings they attended.  They met with angel organizers, angel groups and angel group coordinators as well as CEOs of angel funded companies, and I believe it was a solid glimpse into the work of an angel investor.”  Konrad agrees. “The Angel Immersion was by far the best experience I've had since attending Notre Dame.  There is no classroom substitute for this program; it is simply invaluable to your future successes as an entrepreneur.”

Venture Capitalist Christopher Rand hosted 2 MBA students just weeks ago at his firm, TriStar Technology Ventures, in Nashville, Tennessee. “It was a fantastic experience for me.  Our firm was in deep diligence on an investment opportunity and Kevin and Brian's assistance was extremely valuable.”

Students in the VC/PE Immersion Experience are exposed to the key operational processes within a venture capital or private equity firm, including:  deal decision making (including identifying and analyzing potential deals, making investments and providing board oversight to portfolio companies); portfolio assessment (process tracking); and staff interaction and communication. Students attend company presentations and board meetings, and spend at least one day with a senior associate or equivalent member of the junior investment staff.  The focus is on seeing due diligence and deal generation processes.

If you are involved with venture capital or private equity and would be interested in serving as a “host” for this program, please contact Karen Slaggert at kslagger@nd.edu.

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