Course Spotlight: Wharton’s Advanced Seminar on Private Equity

The Wharton School’s new Advanced Seminar on Private Equity, offered for the first time in Spring 2010, had a surplus of students vying for the course’s 70 spots despite difficult prerequisites.

Run by associate professor of finance N. Bulent Gultekin, the seminar is different from other Wharton offerings because it is an applied course, presenting material on the entire private equity cycle through the experience of high-level practitioners.

According to a profile published in the latest issue of Wharton Magazine, the course grew out of a request by Dean Thomas S. Robertson and Deputy Dean Mike Gibbons, who had been seeking a way to tap into the expertise of Wharton’s alumni network in private equity and have students learn firsthand from successful practitioners.

“They wanted to develop an experimental course a bit different from other offerings,” Gultekin explains. “Since our alumni were very supportive, we would bring them into the classroom. I developed some teaching materials, including some cases, and invited alumni to address each topic””how they did it, how they do it, comparing across companies.”

In order to make the applied course function smoothly, Gultekin demanded difficult prerequisites””Advanced Corporate Finance and the Financing of Buyouts and Acquisitions””and combed through applications to choose the MBA and undergraduate students who seemed most deserving, based on coursework, grades and demonstrated experience in private equity.

The seminar addresses the full private equity cycle by drawing from the perspectives of U.S. and international private equity investors, private equity fund sponsors and managers of the portfolio companies.

“It’s not that it’s different from any particular class. It’s that it’s different from all of them,” says guest lecturer Fadi Arbid, executive vice president for the private equity firm Amwal Al Kaleej and a member of the Wharton Executive Board for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as president of the Wharton Alumni Club of the Middle East.

“It’s always great to have a practitioner’s view, and it was needed for private equity. You have the whole value chain of private equity from fundraising to exiting to structuring transactions in the U.S. and various international markets. It’s a phenomenal class when you think about the depth and the breadth offered.”

To learn more about this new hot ticket course at Wharton, click here.
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