“LBS is a weapon”
After completing his BSc in Mathematics at the University of Essex (2002) and his MBA at Cardiff Business School (2003) in the UK, Alex Dimitriou served in the armed forces in Greece in 2004. He then began searching for a job and shortly thereafter took up an analyst position with Marfin Financial Group (MFG) in Athens.
“I wasn’t expecting what happened next” he says. MFG, a small group with a strong track record, embarked on an aggressive expansion plan by raising around €8 billion (£7 billion) in fresh capital, spinning off its banking operations through a significant three-way merger and subsequently “engaging in a major acquisition spree”; Marfin Investment Group (MIG) was born.
Fast forward six years and Dimitriou found himself working for a one of the largest diversified buyout groups in South Europe listed on the Athens Exchange. By 2011, Greece was in deep recession with further austerity measures coming into play. Through the crisis, however, Dimitriou found an opportunity thanks to his experience gained at MIG.
“I got the chance to join the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund – the fund set up by the Greek government and the EU for the bailout of the Greek banks. It was a €50 billion (£44 billion) vehicle with the sole mandate of recapitalising, restructuring and reprivatising the Greek banks.”
By 2015, despite the austerity measures, Greece still had problems. Dimitriou notes, “The government imposed capital controls and faced the prospect of being forced out of the Euro.”
Having gained vast – and at times “painful” – experience in Greece, Dimitriou was snapped up that year by Tridevi Capital, a London-based independent private equity investment advisory firm founded in 2010. In 2017, he embarked on a Masters in Finance (MiF) Part-time at London Business School (LBS) – balancing his work and studies.
“After my MBA, I wanted to come to LBS – I had this urge to do more. Doing more means going for the best, but I didn’t know the part-time MiF was an option. Surprise surprise, the minute I landed in London it was a no-brainer and I pushed the button.”
Dimitriou viewed the programme for experienced finance professionals as an opportunity to “bolt onto his current knowledge”. “I was looking for new and useful knowledge that could help me in my day-to-day job. LBS is about improving my mindset and expanding and streamlining my skillset.”
He has relished the opportunity to expand his network, he says. “Being part of this community means you’re studying with the best people in the world of finance.” And his company Tridevi Capital is also gaining a lot. With the help of Career Centre, Dimitriou posted a job at his firm and received tons of applications from extremely highly qualified and talented people with the LBS stamp of credibility.
“We treat each other like family.” says Dimitriou about the LBS community. “It’s funny, we’re all from such different backgrounds, yet we’re so like-minded in the sense that we are all high-achievers and share the same values.”
Here’s a snapshot. In his study group of six, Dimitriou collaborates with peers from China, the US, South Africa and India. They come from finance – for instance, financial management, risk management and trading, as well as from the worlds of engineering and law. “This is what makes it feel like real-world business. You have to balance emotion, hard work, deadlines and respecting other people's priorities, and still manage to deliver to the highest possible standard.”
Tridevi Capital sources, structures and manages private equity investments in oil and gas assets in South and South East Asia, Latin America and Europe, and real estate assets in the UK. Dimitriou has been able to apply lessons from M&A/Corporate Finance Practitioner courses, Professional Skills courses and core classes such as Corporate Finance and Financial Accounting and Analysis that he’s taken at LBS to his firm straight away. “The lectures are out of this world,” he says.
“When you have learnt to do things a specific way and you come back to school and see that you can do them better, such as valuation methodologies, financial accounting and assessing capital structure, it makes you want to learn more and give more to your current employer. That’s what it is all about. LBS is a weapon.”