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Michaela & Olivia Thompson Speak at Finance Academy

Michaela & Olivia Thompson Speak at Finance Academy

By Quinn Feyler '24

On Thursday, February 15, Michaela and Olivia Thompson, Boston College Carroll School of Business graduates and sisters of Chris Thompson ’24, presented to the Finance Academy on private equity and navigating a career in finance. Michaela is a software investor at EAM (Equality Asset management) and Olivia is also a software investor at M33 Growth, both based out of Boston. 

Michaela and Olivia began their presentations by showing the group a video that Olivia had made: a day in the life working in private equity. This video portrayed a typical workday, beginning with the early commute to the office, then diving into the process of reaching out to new companies through cold calls and emails, attempting to hold calls with their CEOs.  

After the video, they discussed three of the most desired careers in finance. The first is Investment Banking, which is very transactional, fast paced, and deals with high impact transactions. The second is Consulting, which is trying to help clients solve complicated business problems. And finally, there is Private Equity.  

Getting a job in Private Equity has typically required around two years of experience in IB or consulting, but recently, it has become easier to break into PE right out of college. Private Equity is the process of buying a private company, holding it for a period of time, and then selling when the price is right. The sisters gave the example of Dunkin Donuts, a household name across the country. Dunkin was originally just isolated to the northeast, but then they were bought by a PE firm. This PE firm hired a new CEO, created a new slogan that we all know and love today, and rebranded the company to be more focused on coffee than donuts. This allowed the company to spread throughout the entire United States, growing in revenue until it will eventually be sold for a great profit.  

There are four steps to Private Equity. Step 1: the firm raises funds from limited partners. Step 2: buying private companies and investing in them on behalf of the limited partners. Step 3: adding value to those private companies. Step 4: selling the private companies for profit.  

They then described the two different types of equity like PE, starting with venture capital, investing money into a small or growing business. Then they talked about growth equity, which deals with larger deal sizes, but not buying entire businesses. Regarding private equity, they broke it down from B2B, to Enterprise SaaS, and all the way down to supply chain.  

It is important to make sure that the company you plan on investing in will work out, so they made sure to outline important things to look at when determining if it will be a worthwhile investment. These principal factors include scale, growth, profitability, revenue quality, retention, differentiated/value added, product, and purchase price. All of these are crucial in determining how much profit a firm will make when investing in or buying a company. 

Furthering the themes seen in the video shown at the beginning of the presentation, Michaela and Olivia showed the group PE in action, breaking it up into three steps. Step 1: Sourcing and Organization. In this stage, they are researching and learning about the companies they plan to invest in. This stage also includes making calls and sending emails to these companies. Step 2: Relationship Building. In this stage it is important to explore the fit of the company and create the scale. Finally, Step 3: LOI to Port Co.  

To close the presentation, the floor was open to questions, where Michaela and Olivia gave answers regarding why they chose to pursue a career in PE, classes they took to do so, and much more. Overall, it was a great presentation that was extremely helpful to the many students who desire to one day pursue a similar career to the ones Michaela and Olivia are in.  

We thank Michaela and Olivia for their time presenting to the St. Sebastian’s Finance Academy.