In this second installment of our Booth through the decades series, we speak with Earl Van Zyl, ’07, who works in investment management in South Africa. Earl chose to pursue his MBA despite the observed differences in educational expectations between South Africa and the US. Whilst the chartered accounting qualification is a more popular and recognized post-graduate degree in his home country, Earl saw a unique need for and opportunity in pursuing the Booth MBA: here is his take on how his experience stands out from the rest.
In February, I had the opportunity to attend the 17th Annual Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Company Private Equity Conference, hosted by Booth’s Private Equity Group and the Polsky Center. As someone who spent time in the industry prior to Booth but has been unplugged from the world of PE over the past couple of years, I’m especially thankful for events like these for keeping me abreast of all that’s happening in the private equity space and for preparing me for my eventual return to the industry.
This year’s event was jampacked with a diverse set of keynote speakers and panels, addressing topics ranging from new fund formation to buy and build strategies, and everything in between.
Have you ever wondered what Booth was like 10 or 20 years ago? How the student experience has changed and which elements of the Booth experience still stand true today? No matter where you are in the world?
In this series, we speak to three African alums from the classes of 1997, 2007, and 2017 to trace back their journeys and learn how the student experience here at Booth has evolved through the decades. We’ll also see what the Booth MBA has meant to their careers and to furthering growth in various countries in Africa.
In this first blog post, Richard A. Osei, ‘97, who currently works in Venture Capital and Private Equity in Accra, Ghana, talks about his motivation to attend Booth, how a leadership course with Harry Davis continues to be instrumental today, and growing the Booth brand in Ghana.
As a student pursuing private equity at Booth, I could not imagine a better education and introduction to this hard-to-enter industry than the PE/VC lab class at Booth. The depth and detail in which we have explored every aspect of PE has been invaluable to my future career and how I think about investment opportunities. I sat down to discuss the growth of private equity at Chicago Booth with adjunct professor Chris McGowan, who is a 23-year PE industry veteran and also a faculty advisor and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Joe Osnoss addresses a packed room of students gathered for Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity (EFPE) taught by Professor Steven Kaplan, one of Booth’s most coveted and ‘expensive’ (in terms of bid points, of course!) classes. Joe Osnoss is Managing Director at Silver Lake Partners, and is a leading voice in the Private Equity world – he discusses nuances in taxation with the same ease that he talks about negotiating with stakeholders across the deal table. What I like about the lecture is his ability to ‘zoom in’ – with incredible mastery over financial intricacies, and at the same time ‘zoom out’ – weaving several years of investing experience into his judgment.
This is one of the core aspects of the Chicago Booth Curriculum – it integrates deep academic research with speakers from industry who offer relevant and actionable insight on how to apply a theoretical framework in business.