Category Archives: Finance

Turnaround & Restructuring Club Conference Recap

On Friday, November 14th, the Turnaround & Restructuring Club successfully hosted its annual Turnaround Conference featuring esteemed panelists from the industry. The event kicked off with a fireside chat featuring Stephen Toy (Senior Managing Director and Co-Head, WL Ross & Co. LLC) and moderated by HBS Professor Kristin Mugford. Mr. Toy spoke in detail about his vast turnaround experiences and when asked about current trends stated, “Currently the market is doing pretty well, so there’s not as much restructuring needed. The industry is countercyclical.”

Next was the Turnaround and Advisory Management Panel featuring Robert Himmel (Co-President, Commercial & Industrial Division, Gordon Brothers Credit Partners), Patrick Lahaie (Partner, McKinsey & Company) John J. Monaghan (Partner – Holland & Knight), and Mark Weinsten (Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting). This panel discussion, which was moderated by Howard Brownstein (President and CEO, Brownstein Corp.), provided several first-hand accounts of turnaround stories. One panelist noted, “CEOs report to CRO! (Chief Restructuring Officer)”

The Distressed Investing Panel featured another vibrant group of panelists, including Joel Biran (Managing Principal, DWIM; Former Managing Director, Versa Capital Management), David Levenson (Co-founder and Partner, Goldbridge Capital Partners; Former Investment Professional, BlueBay Asset Management), and Vikram Punwani (Managing Director, Bain Capital / Sankaty Advisors). Each panelist shared personal anecdotes about prior turnaround experiences, with some specifying why they currently view certain industries as more attractive than others.

This portion of the event wrapped up with a presentation by Peter Cuneo, Managing Principal of Cuneo & Company, LLC; Former CEO of Marvel Entertainment. Mr. Cuneo shared his views of what makes one successful in turnarounds and outlined some of the challenges a manager will face. He mentioned, “The hard part of the turnaround is not the strategy… but the people side of it.” He concluded with a few life and career lessons that have guided him throughout his highly successful career.

The evening was topped off by a cocktail hour during which attendees had the opportunity to chat with the panelists and presenters.

– Marquis McGuffin, Chief Marketing Officer, Turnaround & Restructuring Club


Finance Conference Recap

On October 25th, 2014, the Finance Conference took place at Harvard Business School, with the theme of Finance in the New Era of Growth. This was the first year of a joint-hosting for the event between the Harvard Business School Finance Club and the Harvard Kennedy School Finance and Macro PIC. Over 400 attendees registered for the event, which featured three keynote speakers and six panels through the course of the day.

The opening speaker was Mr. Doug Braunstein, current Vice Chairman at J.P. Morgan Chase. With experience in investment   FC- First Speaker  banking spanning back to 1986, Doug spoke on the inevitable cycles of the industry as well as his optimism in the ability of financial institutions to adapt to the deluge of regulatory changes seen since the financial crisis.

His discussion was followed by a selection of pFC- Women Panelanels, which included M&A, Structure of the Financial Industry, Women in Finance, and Capital Markets, each of which probed deeply into the subtopics covered.

Following lunch, Steven J. Goulart, CIO of MetLife, was able to speak about the investment philosophy at MetLife and on his views of the investment world following the crisis. This was followed by the panels Industry Regulation, Impact Investing, and Careers in Finance. Attendees also had the opportunity to engage in coffee chats with recruiting representatives from select firms.

The day ended withFC- evercore the closing speaker, Roger Altman, Founder and Executive Chairman at Evercore. Roger spoke on the broader economic risks he sees today as well as on his outlook for the future, which was a fitting close to the day’s discussions.

Janet Jin, HBS Finance Club Co-President


Alumni: Where are they now? Featuring Robert Leke…

RLCurrent Position: Senior Associate, Tana Africa Capital

Current Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Tell us what you’re up to these days. I maintain a position at the same company I joined shortly after my graduation from HBS in 2012. I work at Tana Africa Capital (Tana), an Africa-focused investment firm targeting businesses in the consumer-driven and agriculture-based sectors. My time with Tana has been nothing short of a thrill. I am grateful for the exposure and experiences gained over the past 2+ years, evaluating and executing on investment opportunities in over 10 countries across the continent. Given the lean team structure at Tana, every team member is encouraged to continuously stretch himself/herself into roles of greater responsibility and influence. This has afforded me the opportunity for great learning, as well as great challenges. Traveling in the frontier markets of Africa clearly places one at the forefront of the socio-economic difficulties confronting the region today. However, I continue to be amazed by the profound determination and optimism which I discover in the people I meet: hope for a better Africa has never been stronger. Other than work, I have taken up more reading and enjoy exploring the gradual rebirth of Johannesburg’s once-derelict downtown neighborhoods.

How has having an MBA impacted your career? Obtaining an MBA has impacted my career in more ways than I would have imagined on my graduation day. Experiencing the case method has greatly enhanced my ability to unravel complexity in the midst of a challenging conversation, and contribute in a timely manner with relevant input which moves the conversation forward. Given the broad geographic reach of the HBS alumni network, I can gain from their hospitality – as well as learn from their experiences – in several cities where I travel. Finally, I have had the opportunity to maintain touch with some professors who have served as invaluable advisers during important junctures in my career thus far.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Where will the next chapter take you? I enjoy working with African businesses, providing support wherever necessary, to grow them in a sustainable manner. I do not foresee this interest changing over the next 5 years. I intend to continue growing my career at Tana, learning from its leaders and the increasing responsibilities which they offer to younger members of the team. I hope to one day help in building this investment firm into one which is known for its hands-on management approach, patient capital and deep knowledge in the sectors within which we operate in Africa.

– Robert Leke, MBA 2012

Reflecting on the HBS Search Summit

Entrepreneurship and immediate impact are professional themes that continue to resonate with HBS students.  Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition, a popular 2nd year course taught by Rick Ruback and Royce Yudkoff, teaches specific practical skills that are required to become an effective entrepreneur through acquisition.  In recent years more and more HBS students are choosing to forgo traditional corporate employment, opting instead to find, fund, acquire and run small businesses.

On Wednesday, April SearchSummit2nd, HBS Career & Professional Development, in conjunction with the Venture Capital & Private Equity and Entrepreneurship Clubs, hosted the inaugural HBS Search Summit.  The event provided a forum for nearly 150 students, searchers, entrepreneurs, investors, faculty, thought leaders and industry advisors to meet and discuss the many aspects of entrepreneurship through acquisition.

The summit was comprised of four sequential panels that explored:

  • Search models: selecting what fits you
  • Sourcing methods and tactics
  • Getting a deal done
  • Reaching the goal: running the business

The formal sessions were followed by a casual reception where the participants could connect, network and share ideas.  The inaugural Summit was a success and we look forward to seeing it grow and evolve in the years to come.