Finance Conference to Focus on How Private Equity, Venture Capital, and other Players are Faring in Volatile Times, March 9

Volatility and its ripple effects through the world of finance and investing will be the focus of the sixth annual student-run Berkeley-Haas Finance Conference at the Haas School on Friday, March 9.

This year the students are taking it to a new level in terms of the breadth and caliber of speakers, with some extraordinary finance practitioners in a variety of fields,” says Bill Rindfuss, executive director, strategic programs, Haas Finance Group. “They also have three high-profile finance journalists to moderate the panels, something they’ve never done before.”
Titled “Opportunities in Volatile Times,” the conference will feature the following moderators and speakers, among many others:
  • Preeta Das, M&A Reporter, Wall Street Journal
  • Jason Kelly, Private Equity Reporter, Bloomberg BusinessWeek
  • David Lawee, Google’s VP of Corporate Development (Mergers & Acquisitions) 
  • Nancy Pfund, Founder and Managing Partner, DBL Investors (and early investor in Pandora, Revolution Foods, and others)
  • Stuart Bernstein, BS 85, Global Head, Clean Technology and Renewables Group, Goldman Sachs
Bob Whaley, the originator of the VIX, or Fear Index, will talk about volatility and how the index he constructed has been used — and sometimes misused — by market players. He also will make announcements about an upcoming index product that has recently received approval from federal regulators.
“We wanted a topic that would stay relevant. Volatility was something that was troubling people in September and we felt it’s not going away,” says conference co-chair Gautam Tevatia, MBA 12. 
A series of panels will explore volatility from several angles, including private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and the finance of clean/green energy. Panel participants and speakers include several Haas alumni:
  • John Brennan, MBA 91, managing director, Silver Lake Sumero.
  • Alumnus David A. Herron, BS 76, CEO at the Chicago Stock Exchange and CHX Holdings.
  • Allan Holt, MBA 76, managing director and co-head, US Buyout, Carlyle Group.
  • Robert Pomeroy, BS 73, MBA 74, CEO, Horizon Technology Finance.
  • Alumnus Marc Singer, BS 86, director and leader of marketing and sales practice for the Americas at McKinsey & Co.
  • Robert Townsend, BS 78, global corporate practice group chair, Morrison & Foerster.
For the student organizers, one of the main goals of the conference is to showcase Haas. "Haas is a very strong finance school, and we want to make sure people know that,” says Co-chair Anson Kwan, MBA 12. “There are so many people who have come out of Berkeley and done amazing things. The finance conference pulls them back in. It also adds value to the financial community.”
The largest student-sponsored MBA finance conference on the West Coast, the event is expected to attract 300 people, including MBA students from other universities and Bay Area professionals. It is dedicated to the memory of financier Warren Hellman, BA 55, who passed away late last year. Hellman, whose career spanned investment banking, venture capital, and private equity, was awarded the Haas School's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
For more information about the conference, pricing, and registration, visit