MBA Student Retools Her Skill Set for a Career in Private Equity

Shannon Beeman
June 15, 2016

Ann Brophy, MBA ’15

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Last year, Ann Brophy, MBA ’15, decided to pivot into a career in private equity after rising through the management ranks at financial data provider S&P Capital IQ. The logical next step was returning to academics for an MBA degree that would help her retool her skill set. “I wanted to supplement my previous work experience with coursework in finance, marketing and operations,” Brophy says. “I was drawn to the Ross School’s collaborative, team-oriented environment and its impressive, engaged alumni network. I also was excited to be back in my hometown as a student.” Over the summer, Brophy interned at Huron Capital Partners, a Detroit-based private-equity firm, where she worked with the marketing and deal-origination team. “I was surprised by the high level of deal activity at Huron and found it exciting to work in an environment of such expertise and growth,” Brophy says. “I learned a lot about the industry and saw how Huron creates value for its portfolio companies through executive resources and operational contributions – beyond providing the capital needed for the acquisition.” Huron maintains strong ties to Michigan. Managing partner Brian Demkowicz and Ross alums John Higgins, Matt Hare and Greer Love have been guest lecturers in Ross private equity finance classes. To build her knowledge base and connections, Brophy took elective courses in private equity finance and global private equity and attended Fireside Chats presented by the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance in collaboration with Ross alum Jeff Gelfand. “These courses embody Ross’s commitment to action-based learning by inviting finance professionals to bring interactive cases and expertise to the classroom,” she explains. “The Fireside Chats offer an opportunity to interact with, and learn from, prominent U-M alumni, including Dick Costolo, the CEO of Twitter, Tony Fadell, the creator of the Apple IPod and IPhone and founder of Nest Labs, and Roger Ehrenberg, the founder and managing partner of IA Ventures.” This past spring, Brophy and three classmates launched the Michigan Ross Private Equity Club to provide education and resources for club members and other students interested in private-equity careers. The student-run organization also seeks to cement ties with Ross alumni and firms who want to reconnect with Michigan and tap into its talent pool.