I was born and raised in New Jersey and went to Vanderbilt University for undergrad. At Vanderbilt, I developed an interest in corporate finance and eventually started my career in investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. I enjoyed this role, but I was more interested in being an investor than an advisor so I transitioned to Carlyle’s real estate private equity group, where I worked for three years. While I’d like to be an investor for the long term, I knew that attending Booth would provide me with a well-rounded business education, leadership development training, and a network of remarkable and talented colleagues.
My family is originally from Sudan, we moved to the US when I was a toddler and I grew up in the D.C. area. I have a bachelor’s in economics from Wharton and I also minored in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations—Arabic and Islamic Studies. After graduating, I moved to Dubai and worked for Citi’s Investment Banking team for two years, followed by three years in growth equity at Standard Chartered Private Equity. I came to Booth to gain additional skills, expand my network, and recruit back into private equity in the US.
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.