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 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.
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.
From Social Enterprise to Healthcare to Private Equity or Venture Capital, there are a number of lab courses across a range of subjects here at Booth that give you a chance to work on real issues with real companies. These courses offer a unique opportunity to learn and do. And for a career switcher like me, they are an invaluable part of the Booth Experience.