- Programme: Masterclass in Private Equity
- Job Post-programme: Head, Financial Advisory, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC)
“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.”
When Ibrahim Sagna joined the Masterclass in Private Equity, he was heading the Africa desk for Millennium Global Investments, a $14bn multi-strategy hedge fund, conducting private and public equity and debt investments. Initially, he intended to use the programme’s network to raise a PE fund, but just as he was starting out, the global crisis erupted. “It was 2008 and the markets simply collapsed,” he says. “But the programme remains one of the outstandingly timely things in my life, and one that has helped open numerous doors.”
Ibrahim had 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.” He says the programme was a great way to consolidate lessons learned. “It’s a highly concentrated learning environment, and a good mix of practitioners. There were also a lot of case studies that helped 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.”
Now in a senior role with the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa, Ibrahim’s extensive PE knowledge still comes in 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,” he says.
Ibrahim continues to nurture the network he built on the programme. “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.”
Ibrahim says that the programme helped his decision-making on a regular basis during the crisis. “The Masterclass knowledge gave me extra confidence. It also cemented my view that investment management and long-term assets were the way to go.” If his career trajectory so far is anything to go by, it looks like those decisions have definitely paid off.