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Alternative Investments Club launched

Alternative Investments Club members From Left to Right: Stephan Thollot (presenter), Professor David BenDaniel, Elie Azar, MBA '09, and John Vester (presenter) at the Alternative Investments Club's inaugural event in New York City in February.

For an MBA student, breaking into private equity is often about whom you know, and making the right connections at the right time. The Johnson School recently launched a new alternative investments club that aims to connect the Johnson School community with practitioners in private equity. Gaining 200 members in its first few months, the club is the first to bring together students from all four of Cornell's MBA programs, alumni, and faculty.

The Alternative Investments Club, started by Executive MBA student Elie Azar, MBA '09, a manager at Ernst & Young's Transaction Advisory Services group, will explore private equity, hedge funds, fund of funds, venture capital, structured products, and real estate investment vehicles. "The club aims to provide a forum for Johnson School students and alumni to enhance their understanding of the alternative investments universe and provide effective networking opportunities to meet industry players."

Ninety participants attended the club's inaugural event at the Cornell Club in New York City in February, which featured three keynote speakers: John Vester, principal at Ernst & Young, who presented "The Secret of Success for Private Equity: How do Private Equity Investors Create Value?"; Stephan Thollot, a partner at Ernst & Young, who discussed "Valuation and Financial Aspects of SFAS 157 (Fair Value Measurements)"; and Joseph Bartlett, of counsel at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LP, who offered his insight into the legal aspects of SFAS 157.

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