Courses & Electives

Tuck offers several elective courses in private equity and venture capital. In the 2019-20 academic year, the following elective courses explored the themes of private equity and venture capital and featured many notable guest speakers:

Venture Capital Private Equity

Professor Gordon Phillips | Fall
This class examines the entire private equity sector of the economy (including venture capital, growth equity, and buyouts as well as institutional limited partners committing capital to the sector). In 2019-20, Professor Phillips invited a dozen industry leaders as guest lecturers, including: David Lubek, (Principal, Direct Private Equity, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board); Michael Sullivan T'97, (Managing Director - PE/VC, Dartmouth College); Liam Donohue T'95 (Founding Partner, .406 Ventures); Reena Pande (Chief Medical Officer & Acting CEO, AbleTo); Tom Blaisdell T'89 (CEO, AlignPact Inc.); Barry McCarthy (CFO, Spotify); Renny Smith T'83 (Managing Partner, Staley Capital Management); Mike Koester (Partner, Goldman Sachs); Nick Russell T'10 (Partner, Tuckerman Capital); Bud Watts (Senior Advisor, Carlyle Group); Russ Greenberg T'81 (CEO & Founder, Altus Capital).

Field Studies in Venture Capital

Professor Phil Ferneau | Winter
This course emphasizes active discussion and experiential learning with a practitioner’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities of venture investing in private, entrepreneurial companies (or entrepreneurs seeking such investment). Visiting speakers in 2019-20 included Jeremy Katz D’95 (Co-Founder & President, segTEL); Ben Shaw (Former Co-Founder & President, Covetrous); Christina Kelly Lopes (CEO & Founder, One Health); Ben Lewis D’06 (Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, One Health); Gary Janko (COO, Senscio Systems); Tom Arneman (EPAM Systems); Jake Colognesi T'11 (Principal, Sageview Capital); Adam Marcus T’07 (Managing Director, Providence Equity Partners); Clement Aboge (Entrepreneur); Moses Asom (Founder & CEO, SeeFAM); Bayo Adeniyi (Entrepreneur, Digital Health).

Managing Stakeholder Issues in Private Equity

Professor David Marchick | Fall & Spring
This mini course explores issues and strategies for engaging with various stakeholders in private equity transactions. Taught by a former senior executive at a global private equity firm, this course focuses on case studies and strategies to proactively and positively engage with various stakeholders in order to improve returns, protect a firm’s reputation and maintain the confidence of various stakeholders. Guests for the 2019-20 year included: Chris Ullman, former Head of Global Corporation Communications at the Carlyle Group; David Rubinstein, founder of the Carlyle Group; Jeff Zients, CEO of Cranemere and former head of OMB and White House Economic Advisor; and Rick Press, Senior Partner of Apollo Management.

Private Equity Practicum

Professor Nick Russell | Winter & Spring
This experiential learning independent study offers students the opportunity to develop their investment evaluation and due diligence skills, enhancing their effectiveness and insight as private equity investors. Working in pairs, students examine and present two small buyout deals each week.

Entrepreneurial Finance

Professor Morten Sorenson | Spring
This course focuses on helping managers make better investment and financing decisions in entrepreneurial settings. All stages of the process, from startup to harvest are covered. The course addresses key questions that challenge all involved in new ventures: how much money can and should be raised; when should it be raised and from whom; what is a reasonable valuation of the company; and how should funding, employment contracts and exit decisions be structured. Students also analyzed the venture capital industry. The course is aimed at students who are considering a career as an entrepreneur or venture capitalist.

Independent Studies

In their second year at Tuck, students can make use of the independent study option to customize their educational experience. Projects are grounded in the established fields of management but they can cover a remarkable range of topics. Center faculty advise students undertaking independent study projects and provide contacts and information sources.  These projects allow students to investigate a specific aspect of private equity or venture capital beyond what is covered in the regular curriculum.

CPEVC Faculty Director Gordon Phillips and Executive Director Jim Feuille worked with Adjunct Professors Dave Marchick, Nick Russell, and Phil Ferneau, and Center for Entrepreneurship Executive Director Daniella Reichstetter in guiding 60 independent studies in 2019-20.  

Several projects were completed in conjunction with the Early-Stage Venture Capital Workshop, Private Equity Practicum, and Search Fund/Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition. Other project titles included “Private Equity in Africa”, “Impact Tech Venture Capital”, “Alternative Private Equity Strategies: Co-Investing and Secondary Investing”, among others.

Independent Study topics from previous years have included:

  • Evolution of Limited Partners' Approach to Private Equity Investors
  • Investment Perspectives Into Medical Devices Venture Capital
  • Search Fund Acquisition in IT Services Industry
  • Investment Opportunities in the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry
  • Mezzanine Debt Transactions: Market Activity and Findings
  • Investment Opportunities in the 3D Printing Industry
  • Private Equity in Sub-Sahara Africa
  • Search Fund Investment Opportunities
  • Experiential, independent studies advised by venture and buy-out industry practitioners

View a full listing of Tuck elective classes