Sam Peter




South Africa





By Sam Peter

A fighting spirit

This year has gotten off to a frantic start, as is always the case for all final-year MBA students. January brings the intersection of three professional buckets: the interviewing rush, the innumerable challenges we wittingly and unwittingly commit to and the ramp up of coursework.

My experience and reaction to all these forces thus far has been to go in the direction of my passion, which arguably could lead to less than optimal results, but hey there is no Nash Equilibrium for this.

This term has also seen a marked increase in trips to London, with the sole purpose of talking to as many companies and professionals who work in my desired field. This strategy has brought some relative success – conversations leading to much coveted interviews, for example, and an insight into the state of the private equity job market.

The skillset required for private equity has evolved over time with dedicated portfolio management teams emerging as the new blueprints for private equity houses alongside traditional practices. London is booming and has in my mind cemented itself as the centre of international business.

Hilary term at Oxford signals the first installment of elective courses and a departure from theoretical micro-economic and business finance courses. I have chosen more applied knowledge courses such as global strategy, entrepreneurial finance and corporate valuation and have thoroughly enjoyed the departure from the core courses. I look forward to more varied electives in the Trinity term.

With only 24 hours in a day, the remaining hours which were previously allotted to a rigorous rugby schedule have been monopolised by academic challenges. Two I committed to are the Bridgepoint Private Equity Challenge and the Wharton Private Equity LBO challenge.

The former took place over a four-month period, as part of the Oxford Finance Labs. We had to build a strategy for the leveraged buyout (LBO) of a predetermined target company, making sure to present both the LBO model and a comprehensive investment thesis to Bridgepoint PE and Oxford adjudicators.

The second competition takes place in New York later this month. It is the school’s 15th sitting of the competition against other business schools. The team comprises of Priscilla Lam, Daniel Drummer, Mathieu Prevost, Arpita Sinha and myself. Last week, Wharton released the LBO case study to all teams, giving us five days to submit a solution. We will then present our investment case in New York to a panel of PE practitioners. The competition is the largest of its kind internationally and will be a test of our team’s expertise.

In the coming weeks, I hope to take a breather from all the MBA activities but for now I am embracing all the directions 2015 has pulled me in.

This blog post originally appeared in the Financial Times.

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