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Lauren Saginaw

  • Programme: Masterclass in Private Equity
  • Nationality: American
  • Job Post-programme: European Business Development Manager, eBay EU

Learning from best practices

My role at eBay EU involves evaluating partnerships and potential acquisitions of companies in Europe. From the class I wanted to gain a more holistic understanding of valuation, improve my valuation techniques and learn more about the venture capital space. Additionally, I had a strong interest in walking through the due diligence process and picking up best practices. I also hoped the programme would provide good contacts for the future to help prolong the class learning.

London Business School has an amazing faculty. Their teaching is supplemented by alumni and guest speakers who are invited to share their experiences and reveal how they are making a difference in the private equity arena. Hearing the speakers’ external perspectives was a true masterclass. It excited me even more about what
I do and has inspired me to work hard while upholding my personal integrity and values.

As fifty percent of my job involves bringing in an outside-in perspective of the competitive landscape in commerce and technology, I was particularly impressed by Dwight Poler’s presentation: a structured way to look outside-in at competitors in the market. He explained how to undertake due diligence and map out differentiating value propositions in deciding whether or not to invest. Hearing his passion and learning from his best practice made me aware of just how much I value balancing an internal perspective with an external one. The piece around valuation and how different partners and fund managers make investment decisions also exceeded expectations. It was very detailed and included intangible aspects such as market trends that extrapolate where the market is headed.

International perspectives

The class was so diverse, with talented people from all over the world such as China, Saudi Arabia and Russia, with different legislations, requirements and business cultures. There was also a mix of very seasoned partners from venture capital firms, entrepreneurs, and industries as well as people like myself in strategy and M&A. I found this diversity enlightening and it helped me learn through a varied pool of experiences. The differences spanned geographies and cultures, enabling rich and different inputs and assessments. I was able to look at situations and case studies with a global view.

I have built up a more formal network of people in the venture capital space who have given me innovative ideas about eBay and where the brand could go. It has been amazing to gain fresh perspective from such intelligent people. I now have a whole new set of contacts who are keeping me front of mind for opportunities throughout Europe. Receiving their emails about companies that could be interesting in this space is proving very useful.

The importance of technical acumen

Before the Masterclass, I didn’t think I would want to study further as I was in a rotational programme with on-the-job experience and had a coach. But London Business School made me realise that learning technical acumen is just as important as good networking.

The programme taught me to never lose sight of who I am or my personal goals and objectives, and to follow what I feel most passionate about. I had been thinking about going back into a specific treasury role but the programme reinforced just how much I enjoy strategy and business expansion topics. This area gives me a chance to challenge my left and right brain equally to come up with sound investment decisions. I have also found the class case studies invaluable in helping me to understand the strategic questions that need to be dealt with before taking on an investment.