Friday, March 30, 2007

Last post for today...I promise...

I wanted to ask you all for any feedback on the blog and especially if there are certain areas of the b-school or CBS experience that I'm neglecting. I want to make sure there is a little something for everyone on the blog, so please feel free to comment if there are certain things you'd like to hear about.

Last night, myself and about 10 other students had the fortune of attending a dinner with the SVP of Compliance at CA, Pat Gnazzo as part of Leadership and Ethics week. Professor Ray Horton (he runs the Social Enterprise program at school and teaches a very popular class called Modern Political Economy) was the host.

Pat shared alot of war stories with us and talked about how he and his team are transforming CA and helping it become incredible focused on what he called a culture of 'open communication'. I found it interesting (and refreshing) that he didn't focus on right or wrong or moralizing, but on how to build a corporate environment where communication (in all directions) was encouraged. He feels strongly that such a culture is key to preventing many of the ethics and compliance issues that companies are dealing with today. It made alot of sense to me as well.

Today I applied for a part-time internship at It's a service that media companies can use to get video from independent journalists and then use that video on their programs. I _think_ the internship is in business development because the guy who posted the job is a director of bizdev, but I won't know until I meet them next week in person. I'll let you know how it goes.

In rugby news, I managed to tweak my back today in practice getting tackled. I'm hoping it feels better in the morning but right now it is pretty darn stiff. Maybe I'll break out the heating bad after dinner...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

For those of you who want to get into Private Equity after school, CBS has a great deal of access to the PE community by virtue of its location (NYC). Here are a few events going on in the next couple of weeks that will get you aspiring LBO kings excited :)

E&Y Educational Seminar - Transaction Structures: Advance Tax Concepts
Material will be presented by Partners from E&Y’s Transaction Services Group

Material Covered Will Include:
Section 338(h)(10) Transactions
Common Forms of LBO Transactions - Selected Issues
Shareholder and Management Rollovers
Preferred Stock OID -phantom income issues
Deductibility of Interest
Limitations on Utilizing Target’s NOL and Credit Carryovers
Note: Attendees are expected to have some experience dealing with intermediate and advanced tax issues. The material will not cover basic tax concepts.

E&Y Educational Seminar – Financial Statement Risks and Exposures
Material will be presented by Partners from E&Y’s Transaction Services Group

Description: Whether you are buying or selling a company, it is becoming more crucial to understand how accounting impacts a company's financial statements and the contemplated transaction. Even though a company's financial statements may be audited and prepared "on accordance with GAAP", alternative accounting treatments may have vastly different impacts on revenue, margins, EBITDA, working capital and capex. It is important to understand these alternative treatments and how they impact a transaction. The discussion on Financial Statement Risks and Exposures will help you identify where to look for these issues.

Panel Discussion: “PE funds accessing the public capital markets”

Topics will include: Why PE funds are seeking access to the public markets, what advantages/disadvantages exist for a public fund, how conflicts of interest might arise between traditional funds and publicly backed funds, how Special Purpose Acquisition Corporations (“SPAC”) and Business Development Corporations (“BDC”) work, and what types of funds are best suited for these vehicles.

Panelists are:
Professor Colin C. Blaydon, William and Josephine Buchanan Professor of Management Director, Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship Dean Emeritus

Julie Spellman, Partner Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Jason Block, Partner AlpInvest Partners

Now that the Outrageous Business Plan contest is over, the videos of all the teams have been posted to the web. If you want to see a bunch of goofy pitches from CBS students (including myself), just click this link (RealAudio required).

Unfortunately, we didn't win -- but maybe next year!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Say hello to the new Technology VP of the rugby club. The existing Tech VP is going to be taking a position on the GBA Board (GBA is sort of like student council for the whole school, only unlike high school they actually do stuff :) and I was asked to take over for him. Sounds like the main job will be for me to continue the development of a team website that will allow the alums to keep up with the current team, and also to facilitate networking. The site is being built by a third party and should be done soon, and I'll be transitioning things from the existing VP over the rest of the year.

I'm also thinking of running for some sort of VP position within the Technology Business Group. Since I plan on going back into the tech sector in some capacity, I think it will be a good way to keep up with the industry and also leverage some of my industry contacts. This one will require a vote of the existing membership, however, so I better start working on my candidate statement!

By the way, on a broader note, if you are thinking of coming to CBS, keep in mind that there are a HUGE number of leadership positions available. Every club has numerous leadership positions and there are plenty of opportunities to participate and hone your leadership and organizational skills. There is really something for everyone and everyone can (and is encouraged) to get involved. It's especially great for those who haven't had formal management experience before coming to school. Basically, you have a low risk environment in which to hone your skills. Can't beat that!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Just finished working on my Corporate Finance case and am about to see what I need to read for Marketing Strategy tommorrow morning. Given that its about 1130pm and I'm blogging, I'm not sure how much I am going to get done :) Tommorrow looks to be a long day. My Small Business Consulting Program group is meeting with our client to figure out our scope of work and I'm also meeting my Corp Fin group to prepare our case submission.

A couple other things going on...

1) I am applying to be a Science and Technology Ventures Fellow. Here's the details I received about the program:

Science & Technology Ventures is seeking highly-talented, scientifically-trained graduate students to assist in managing Columbia's invention portfolio.

Compensation will be $20 per hour and assignments can be completed remotely at any point during the week (minimum 10 hours a week).

Columbia STV is the technology transfer division with Columbia University, assisting in the commercialization of innovations that are developed by our researchers. STV generates over $100M in revenue, developing 275 inventions a year and employing over 35 staff.

Science and Technology Ventures is responsible for:
Identifying and evaluating innovations emerging from Columbia researchers;
Patenting the most commercially viable innovations;
Generating revenue from Columbia’s intellectual property via research and/or licensing agreements with industry or the formation of start-up companies.

The STV Fellows Program is a regular internship program run by the division. A new team of successful applicants will be chosen in May to match our representative areas of coverage. Graduate (Masters/PhD/MBA) students from medicine, biology, pathology, engineering, chemistry, biotech, business, and computer science are encouraged to apply.

8-10 students are selected for each academic term – we are currently taking applications for the Fall Term (Sept-Dec 2007). Students will be expected to commit up to 10 hours a week, but assignments can be completed remotely. Payment of the fellowship ($20 per hour) will be made at the mid-point and end of the program, contingent upon successful completion of the work.

Selection for this program will be based on:
Academic performance
Experience and willingness to engage in extensive business research
Interest in technology transfer
Commitment and availability for 10 hours per week (for the full term)
Prior experience (if any) in business or in commercial environments

Students will be responsible for writing reports assessing the commercial viability of inventions submitted to STV, identifying potential investors or licensees, developing marketing materials for our inventions, and potentially financial analysis support for negotiations

Training will be provided in August to the new team. Students will also be invited to attend internal STV staff presentations and engage with the Directors at STV. At the end of the term, if work has been completed to a satisfactory level, students will receive the designation “STV Fellow.”

I am _really_ hoping I get this as it really dovetails quite well with my future ambitions of starting a company and getting into VC at some point. I better get moving on that application!

2) I am applying to be a part of Hermes, CBS's student admissions liason team. As I understand it, Hermes folks accompany prospectives on school visits and spend time with them during admit weekends/open houses. Again, another application to be filled out and a selection process to be completed :) I thought all of that ended once I got in!

In other news, we have a rugby tourney on Saturday out on Randall's Island. This will be my first domestic match. My guess is that we will have a couple of teams playing, which means I will get plenty of playing time. Luckily I think all my bumps and bruises from Spring Break are gone, so I'll be good to get a few more!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Many things to report...

1) Exams went fine, and I got my final grades in Statistics and Strategy Formulation. No surprises there. Did well in Accounting and am waiting on my Econ grade although I know I did OK on that one since the prof posted the answer key already.

2) Spring break...Trinidad & Tobago...Rugby team....awesome. I am very glad I went on the trip. I met alot of great people and played in a couple of games. Although there are a ton of rules I still don't know, I feel like I know enough to be dangerous and dare I say useful on the field :) I highly recommend Tobago if you're looking for a slow-paced, beachy vacation with not alot of hassles and everything close by. Trinidad was better for nightlife but we had to take cabs and buses everywhere. I even took in a cricket match while I was there. Don't ask me to explain the game, it's even more confusing to me than rugby.

3) Outrageous Business Plan Competition happened last night and today. Unfortunately the business idea that I worked on (an information market for street parking spaces) wasn't picked as a finalist. Nonetheless, my partner and I had fun doing it, especially when we had to get into the elevator at Uris and actually do an 'elevator pitch' for two minutes. It was also good experience to hear the kinds of questions the judges (alums and related folks who work in VC or who have started their own companies) asked the contestants.

4) I went to a presentation about the Lang Fund a couple of days ago. This is a VC fund that was established by the school to encourage student entrepreneurship. They will provide up to $50,000 (and sometimes more, if there are circumstances that warrant it) to businesses they feel have a real shot to make it. The process to apply for an investment from the fund is happening shortly, with the caveat that 1st years can participate but not receive funding (they want us to finish school first -- imagine that!). I would love to participate this time around, but given my workload I don't think I would have a solid business plan ready in time.

Next week is pretty busy, we have a finance case, a finance problem set, and accounting assignment due. It's hard to believe we are back into the academics already -- I could have used a longer break ;)