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Tunisia here we come

Posted by Sean on 26 November 2006

I have been working on a research project since the beginning of October with a professor in the London Business School Private Equity Institute and three fellow classmates. The project’s aim is to design a process for measuring the developmental impacts of Private Equity in Africa. It is a really interesting project sponsored by some big industry bodies both in Africa and Europe. We have essentially been given some development indicators that our sponsors would like us to measure and combined those with some more indicators we are interested in from research and outside input. We have put together a draft questionnaire that we are going to test with some ‘pilot’ VC firms in Africa, prior to finalizing the questionnaire for dissemination to all firms investing in Africa.

As part of the pilot portion of the project, we are traveling in pairs to two different parts of Africa. I am headed to Tunisia with a classmate and the other pair is going to Nigeria. We are planning this trip for just after exams and before we all diverge to different parts of the world for the holidays. We plan to spend three days there, meeting different VC firms and as many of their portfolio companies as we can. Right now, we are debating whether or not to head out early for some sight seeing, or beach time, but are torn because that would conflict with the famous Santa Claus Pub Crawl at the end of exams… Decisions, decisions…

The intended result of the project is to come up with a repeatable measurement process for development impacts of Private Equity in Africa. It will become the benchmark in Africa for measuring Private Equity firms and their investments by this impact, and serve as a model for similar goals in other Emerging Markets. Overall, it has been a great addition to the curriculum for me. I am actually going to get an elective credit by using this for the brand new First Year Project elective (plus we are getting paid!). I plan on taking advantage of all the opportunities available to get real experience out of the classroom. There is a shadowing project I can do, an organizational behavior audit to do, and a second year project in addition to any other research opportunities that might come around. Tunisia here we come!


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