Sunday, May 27, 2007

Its not over till its over...

So I am trying to ramp down my time here at the GSB by shifting to more time with friends and enjoying California weather- but the GSB refuses to do so, a full quarter is a full quarter, and by no means dull. This last week a case in point, some big events that just showcase the diversity of learning and opportunity at the GSB that leave me hungry for more.

- Wednesday I ended up going to 4 dinners including a small yet informative Africa Business Club event with one of my Nigerian classmates' brother. Tope Lawani, founder of Helios investment partners a $300 million fund, came in to talk about his foray into Private Equity investment in Africa and had some great insights on the challenges and opportunities of private equity in the region- not surprisingly, real estate, travel/transportation and telecommunications are hot sectors- deal making infrastructure (lawyers) and exits (capital markets, willing buys etc...) amongst the things that make the business environment tough to handle for an investor coming in from more developed markets.
- Thursday was another treat in the Private Equity arena, with the founder of Carlyle, David Rubenstein, giving a highly entertaining yet serious overview of Private Equity and technology buyouts- I remember him saying that Microsoft and other visible tech giants such as HP and SUN may become buyout targets someday as the funds get larger and larger.
Later that afternoon, I headed down to San Francisco for the Facebook f8 launch, a developers conference/codejam. It was great to see some of my classmates in action outside the classroom- one a full-time employee of facebook coordinating the event, and even some getting their hands dirty trying to build applications for this, one of the hottest social networks today. Interestingly enough, we are doing facebook as a case in my aligning startup class on Tuesday, and the case was updated TODAY to reflect the major milestone of facebook opening its platform- a great example of how fast GSB academics catches up with the reality of business!
I then darted into the mission district for a the Africa Business Club dinner I had organized at the Bissap Baobab, with great turnout- I was nervous that given multiple events happening, there would be a high flake rate (typical of busy GSB students), but it turned out very well, with one female club member turning up in a full Ugandan outfit!
- Friday, was my usual classes on Supply Chain and Advertising- at the end of the day, I went up to Marin for a local entrepreneur and Stanford professor's engagement party which was particularly fun. I mentioned long ago, that one of my goals for my experience here at Stanford is to make close friends with real live entrepreneurs and engineers in the bay area beyond meeting them in the class-room environment- I am more than happy with this decision at the expense of more GSB events, I have now made real good friends in the local area that have been invaluable and have completed my California experience- I'll have more reasons to come back to California other than GSB alumni events or work purposes.

This memorial day weekend, the partying and catching up continues- will try and get major bits of work out the way, to clear a runway to enjoy my last 2 weeks at the GSB.

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