Winning Approaches: Wharton Latin American Private Equity Competition

Wharton LatAm PE team cropped

Winning at Wharton: Javier Aranguiz, Dani Alonso, Carlos Prada, and Alex Igoshin

The competition: Wharton Latin American Private Equity Competition, Feb. 2.

The outcome: Tied for first with Chicago Booth.

The team: Dani Alonso, Javier Aranguiz, Alex Igoshin,  and Carlos Prada, all MBA 14.

The field: In addition to Berkeley-Haas and Booth, Wharton, NYU, Ross, and HEC.

The challenge: Presenting an investment opportunity in Latin America to a committee of managing directors from leading firms including Acon, CVCI, General Atlantic, Amzak, and IIC (Inter-American Investment Corp.).

The winning approach: “For the first round, we proposed a buy-and-build strategy to assemble a sizeable regional multi-brand fast food chain,” says Prada. “This would start with the acquisition of one of the leading fast food chains in Chile, a platform for future strategic acquisitions in Colombia and Peru.” For the final round, Booth and Berkeley-Haas went head-to-head on a case seeking recommendations regarding investment in a Colombian private energy generation company under financial distress.

Won because: “Our investment opportunity had all the features of an attractive investment for a private equity fund,” says Prada, citing the proven business model, strong brand equity in Chile, and relationships with real estate developers. “The judges also found the proprietary nature of our deal appealing–we selected a below-the-radar target company, demonstrating familiarity with the market.”

The “H” factor: Leadership Communications and Finance were the main courses from which the team drew essential skills and knowledge. “We kicked off the first presentation to the judges with storytelling and had a clear outline that allowed the judges to fully understand the structure of our presentation,” says Prada. He also notes that the team’s diverse background was an asset, with Aranguiz having worked in public equity investments, Igoshin in private equity, Alonso in consulting and retail, and Prada in private equity and consulting. Igoshin says an understanding of team dynamics, honed through the Teams@Haas component of the Berkeley Innovative Leader Development (BILD) curriculum, played a role as well.

The benefits: “Hearing directly from the industry’s leading practitioners in Latin America about the rationale behind their investment analysis process, their motivations to invest in the region, their thoughts on the future of the industry in the region, and their firms’ career opportunities,” says Prada. “From fellow students—our future colleagues and industry leaders–we sought to learn from their experience and establish relationships for future deal sourcing.”

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