Exploring PE in an international context
"When I joined the Masterclass in Private Equity, I was heading the Africa desk for
Millennium Global Investments, a $14bn multi-strategy hedge fund, conducting private and
public equity and debt investments. Initially, I intended to use the programme’s network to
raise a PE fund, but just as I was starting out, the global crisis erupted.
It was 2008 and the markets simply collapsed. But the programme remains one of the
outstandingly timely things in my life, and one that has helped open numerous doors.
I’d spent the previous decade working in three different areas of finance. I’d worked in a
straight international finance role at the IMF, and a fund manager role in what was then the
largest PE fund in Africa (Nelson Mandela was our chairman). Subsequently I joined the
operations of a portfolio company.
The Masterclass in Private Equity is a great way to consolidate lessons learned. It’s a highly
concentrated learning environment, and a good mix of practitioners. There are also a lot of
case studies that put PE back in an international context. All my career had been Africa-
related, so I wanted to develop a more global viewpoint and learn about best practice.
Several years on, I’m now in a senior role with the second highest investment grade rated
multilateral financial institution in Africa, but my extensive PE knowledge still
comes in very handy. I advise leading family offices and asset managers in their
efforts to raise private capital and on their infrastructure investment programmes. A solid
grasp of critical issues in PE and project finance is an absolute prerequisite.
I’m also proud of the network I built on the programme, and continue to nurture it. One of
my classmates is the CEO of one of the five largest Nigerian banks, and a prominent player
in our market. I also formed a good relationship with one of the Africa heads of Bain Capital;
his EdCon South African investment was discussed in class. Similarly, I developed a
friendship with Nadav Livni, a visiting speaker who had previously attended the class. We
started looking at transactions together, and are still in touch.
The programme had a major impact on my work, and helped my decision-making on a
regular basis during the crisis. The knowledge I learned gave me extra confidence, but it also
cemented my view that investment management and long-term assets were the way to go."