MIT Sloan and Private Equity Case Competitions, a Repeated Success Story

“While you are all winners for making it to the final round, today the real winner is….MIT Sloan!” proclaimed one of the judges during the reception that followed London Business School’s Private Equity case competition this past April.

Winners of 2018 Cinven | London Business School Private Equity Case Competition (from left to right): Dan Wang, Mattia Ambrosini, Marlyn Antonyarajah Diemunsch, Giovanni Conte, Alvaro Arizcun

During the academic year a team of Sloanies has represented MIT at all the most important Leverage Buyout (LBO) case competitions, always bringing back home an award. Fourth place at Wharton, third place at Brandeis,  and – drumroll please… – winner at the London Business School Private Equity Competition!

Sloan team at Brandeis 4th Annual LBO Case Competition (from left to right): Andre Xiao, Homam Meaddawi, Rodrigo Rubio Buenfil, Jordi Gonzalez Spotti

In LBO competitions teams are tasked to analyze a company in a specific industry. This year we looked at very different firms such as major sportswear brands and large car dealerships. Teams then have to come up with an investment thesis to present and defend in front of a panel of Private Equity professionals who embody a hypothetical investment committee.

I was lucky enough to be a part of two of these extremely talented teams, and I cannot stress enough how much I have learned from these experiences. I will not deny that receiving one of those gigantic checks is a classic “MBA moment” that I was happy to cross off my bucket list. And of course, being able to distinguish ourselves among a very competitive pool of students all from top global business schools was incredibly rewarding. But what was even more important to me is how these competitions have allowed me to apply in very practical terms what I am learning in finance, strategy, accounting and communications classes at MIT. And on top of that, having to defend your view from the close scrutiny of industry practitioners working at top private equity firms like KKR, Bain Capital and BC Partners has made the game all the more stimulating.

I really think that there are a few of important takeaways from the continuous success we have had as a school in these type of events.

First, there is an element of diversity in Sloan students’ backgrounds that – paired with their academic excellence – has allowed them to stand out and to win awards in all of this year’s case competitions. In the words of Alvaro, 2nd year MBA student: “when we sat around a table for our first meeting I realized we had someone who had lived or worked in every continent, so I was sure we were going to tackle the case from very different perspectives”.

Second, we are recognized by everyone for our analytical skills and that remains a key differentiator. In the LBS competition, for instance, we leveraged what we had learned in our Data, Models and Decision course by running a multi-linear regression to identify the true drivers of the car dealership market in the US. I’ll let you imagine the amazed reactions from the crowd when Marlyn, 1st year Sloanie, described the statistical model she had built.

Third, while MIT has always been a strong finance school, it is clear that Finance Track students’ career interest are rapidly shifting towards buy-side investing jobs, such as Private Equity. The Venture Capital & Private Equity club is the largest, with more than 400 students enrolled, and one of the most active on campus. And there was so much interest for these PE-focused case competitions that the club had to run an internal selection process.

I am sure that this trend will continue to reinforce itself and I cannot wait to see Sloanies continue to impress and win awards over the years to come!

Sloan team at 18th Annual Wharton MBA Buyout Case Competition (from left to right): Giovanni Conte, Benjy Stevens, Mattia Ambrosini, Fatih Adanur

Giovanni Conte

Giovanni was born and raised in Milan, Italy. Prior to his MBA he has worked at Apple in California and at a boutique strategy consulting firm (LTP) in Italy. He is a first year student at MIT Sloan and he is pursuing the Finance Track, hoping to transition into Private Equity.


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