AIF PE Private Equity View from the classroom 1200

View from the classroom: discover the inner workings of Private Equity with private markets expert Professor Cyril Demaria.

Working in Private Equity demands a diverse skill set from finance professionals. There are just so many things to keep track of: not only do they need to manage regular business operations, but also navigate tax planning, and debt structuring, not to mention the knowledge and experience needed to raise funds to invest in the first place.

Professor Cyril Demaria
Prof. Cyril Demaria, EDHEC Business School

The Private Equity program of the Amsterdam Institute of Finance offers a thorough introduction to this complex field. We join Prof. Cyril Demaria in his classroom. Demaria is the author of several textbooks on Private Equity and an experienced visiting professor at several business schools, as well as a seasoned investor himself. 

Tough questions
With challenging exercises and a measure of light hearted humor Demaria guides the students through the complex material. Besides the discussions of technical skills, like valuation, two important themes stand out. Firstly there’s the matter of taking a deep dive into the operations of the businesses and to place the resultant figures in the wider context of the market. Demaria uses the Socratic method, asking tough questions that reveal the opportunities and challenges of a business case. Secondly, Demaria emphasizes that Private Equity is always a balancing act between the interests of the companies under management and the wants and needs of the limited partners of the fund.

The psychology of the deal: build trust through strategic pitching

Investor instincts
Leveraging his extensive experience as an investor, Demaria goes beyond the theoretical framework and highlights the importance of often overlooked skills, such as developing a gut feeling for a good deal and the social skills needed to reach the desired agreements. He asks his students to delve into the psychology of the deals and the way the process is guided by strategies of pitching and phrasing, because in his experience the highest bidder isn’t always the winning party, but the party that inspires the most confidence in the seller. Demaria also stresses that investing is always a matter of making decisions under conditions of time pressure and data insufficiency, which necessitates trusting your instincts when making a call.

Varied motivations
During lunchtime conversations, it becomes apparent that the group of participants is as varied as their motivations to join the programme. Some participants recently started a job in private equity and need to be brought up to speed quickly. Others work for big corporates and are curious how their deals with investors look from the viewpoint of the PE professional. We also spoke with an entrepreneur who aimed to partner up with a PE fund in the near future to grow his business and wanted to be able to arrive prepared at the negotiation table. When asked about their experience with the program the general consensus emerged that an interactive program like this provides a much richer learning environment than a book or an online training. 

The program is held at DoubleTree by Hilton near Amsterdam Central Station, offering an excellent springboard to discover the city. Participating in the program also grants access to the AIF Alumni Network, connecting you to Private Equity professionals in Amsterdam and all around the globe.

Discover how private equity creates value in deals. Gain a solid understanding of the private equity industry. Join the challenging 3-day Private Equity program by Prof. Cyril Demaria (EDHEC Business School) at Amsterdam Institute of Finance. Learn more & reserve your place here.

Private Equity article Demaria View from the classroom

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