Berkeley MBA Team Ties for First in Wharton Private Equity Competition

Winning at Wharton: Berkeley MBA students Javier Aranguiz, Dani Alonso, Carlos Prada, and Alex Igoshin, all MBA 14

Leveraging knowledge of the region to identify investment opportunities, a team of Berkeley MBA students tied for first place with Chicago Booth in the Wharton Latin American Private Equity Competition Feb. 2.

The competition asked students to present an investment opportunity in Latin America. The Berkeley-Haas team—Dani Alonso, Javier Aranguiz, Alex Igoshin, and Carlos Prada, all MBA 14—proposed a buy-and-build strategy to assemble a regional multi-brand fast food chain by acquiring a leading chain in Chile and additional companies in Colombia and Peru. The firm the team proposed as its initial investment offered a proven business model, strong brand equity, and relationships with real estate developers in the region.

Judges also found the exclusive nature of the deal appealing. “We selected a target company you could only come up with if you really know the market,” says Prada.

The Berkeley-Haas team drew upon skills and knowledge from their Leadership Communications and Finance courses, according to Prada. He also noted that the team’s diverse background was an asset: Aranguiz has worked in public equity investments, Igoshin in private equity, Alonso in consulting and retail, and Prada in private equity and consulting. Igoshin says an understanding of team dynamics, honed through the Teams@Haas component of the Berkeley Innovative Leader Development (BILD) curriculum, played a role as well.

After topping teams from Wharton, Stern, Ross, and HEC in Paris, Berkeley-Haas went head to head with the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in the competition’s second round, which resulted in a tie. In this round the teams made recommendations regarding investment in a Colombian private energy generation company under financial distress.

In addition to bringing home $2,000 in prize money, the team heard from leaders in Latin America about their investment analysis process, their motivations to invest in the region, their thoughts on the future of private equity in the region, and their firms’ career opportunities, according to Prada. Another opportunity: “learning from fellow students—our future colleagues and industry leaders—about their experiences and establishing relationships for future deal sourcing.”