Venture Capital Fellowship and Private Equity Internship

(Above picture (from right): CFO of Fortune 500, Texas-based Susser Holdings (NYSE: SUSS), Mary Sullivan, and Jordan Dorenfeld, Tulane MBA Student, Class of 2014)

Series: “2nd Year MBAs Talk About Their Summer Internships”

MBA Student: Jordan Dorenfeld (Cal Poly, B.S. Accounting ’09)

Concentration: Finance, Strategic Management, Energy

Year: 2nd Year MBA, graduating May 2014

Industry/Company/ Area of Internship/Location:

Venture Capital and Private Equity in Western Europe, Asia, and Americas

What can you tell other students about the scope of your internship this summer and fall?

“I worked this fall with a team of senior executives and investment bankers on equity and leveraged buyout (LBO) transactions in the hospitality and entertainment spaces. I also worked as an MBA Fellow at a venture capital firm over the summer. While standing on the shoulders of giants, I hosted and co-sponsored the first annual Venture Capital and Private Equity Conference of Southern Louisiana on Friday, October 18, 2013 downtown at New Orleans BioInnovation Center, as Founder of the Alternative Investment Association. I also attempted to start blogging to grow my brand and build proprietary deal flow.”

What was your daily schedule like at your Internship?

“As an associate at the private equity firm, I built financial and operational models, ran through financial and management due diligence processes, wrote and presented investment committee memoranda directly to the investment committee, and conducted site visits and worked with target company management teams. As an MBA Fellow over the summer, I helped co-found a micro-venture capital firm in New Orleans, Louisiana with investors and Tulane alumni. As an MBA Fellow I bridged local entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals to establish the firm’s deal flow, contacts and resources, financial and management due diligence processes, and legal and organizational structures. Most importantly, I sold the brand and helped establish the firm as the key venture capital player in the greater New Orleans market. The market is excellent for startup founders who are looking for funding and to remain in the greater New Orleans area.”

How did you apply for your internship? Plus, do you have any advice?

“Networked with alumni and professors to build my personal brand. Most importantly, I always followed up with them. Based upon my previous work and impressions that I made on professors and alumni, a number of professors and alumni recommended me to the firms. The only thing that I know for certain is that I did not get the fellowship and internship based upon my looks. 🙂 If you are not leveraging the (1) Career Management Center, (2) Alumni, and (3) Professors, you are not “fishing where the fish are” located, as a former manager of mine would say.”

Did this internship match your intended career path? What skills and industry insight did you gain?

“This question reminds me of what Jim Collins calls the “Hedgehog Concept.” To go from good to great, companies should focus on (1) what they have a deep passion for, (2) what drives their economic engines (what they can make money by doing), and (3) what they can be the best in the world at. I have worked in a number of industries and countries. Over the years, I have built intuitions that are now strong enough for me to be able to ask the right questions and know whom I need to work with to accomplish goals. I gave up on trying to know everything and do everything myself a long time ago. I enjoy connecting and working with people from various countries and cultures. Knowing what you and others are good at, and how you can help each other, are two skills that have helped me to find my ideal career path. A career with a balance of high horsepower financial management and global strategy is my Holy Grail. I believe I have found it with venture capital and growth private equity. I have a track record of successfully working with C-suite executives and Boards to provide them with solutions and, ultimately, more money. Today, I know how to start a venture fund and what I would need to properly manage it. I have come to realize that, at the end of the day, money is a only a commodity. The only way a company will pay a premium for money is if there is a true value-add. I not only have the ability to communicate a firm’s value-add, but also the ability to help make it a reality for portfolio companies.”

What skills did you find most helpful in your Internship this summer?

“Working with people with different perspectives, goals, and work-styles; and being able to adapt quickly and still perform at a high level is the most important skill-set for an intern to have in the 21st century. While it is important for interns to be flexible and “easy-going,” it is vital for them to stand up for themselves and be the, as George Bernard Shaw wrote, “unreasonable (man)” interns by making the tough recommendations and informed-decisions to ensure progress. Also, it is important to be aware of market timing and special circumstances that are out of your control. As Robert Hunter wrote, “don’t shake the tree, if the fruit ain’t ripe.” The same holds true in venture capital and private equity. Investors and entrepreneurs pass on great opportunities all of the time. In fact, success is often determined by how good a firm is at not investing in an opportunity.”

Which part of the full-time Tulane MBA program prepared you the most for your fellowship and internship?

“Easy answer: the global leadership module in Greece, Professors Anthony Wood and Lesley Baker in the Burkenroad Report program (special thanks to the Susser Petroleum Partners family!), alumni, and professors.”

Would you be willing to talk to other students about working in venture capital or private equity?

Of course, here to help. Call me @ 626.353.8918 or email me jordan@jordandorenfeld.com