So imagine how envious it was to discover that five lucky groups of students got to do exactly that in April, at a private equity competition run by Spanish business school IESE. This was the competition’s third year, but the first time it’s been open to entrants from other business schools; four others (HEC, London, IE and INSEAD) were all persuaded to enter.
The aim of the game is to “replicate the ‘true-to-life’ experience of a PE investment analyst” – which in practice meant working on an actual deal, with all the original deal documents and some of the original deal teams, negotiating with (people posing as) the lending bank, the investment committee and the management team, and then presenting their investment proposal to a heavyweight panel of judges drawn from the likes of EQT, CVC, Carlyle and KPMG. The stuff that private equity dreams are made of, right?
But by far the best thing about this competition – which, just to remind you, was dreamed up, organised and hosted by IESE, with other schools invited along for the first time – was that the winning team came from… IESE! Isn’t it polite in such circumstances to let your guests win?