Columbia to host 20th PE+VC conference in Manhattan


The 2014 conference at Columbia Business School titled ‘Driving Entrepreneurial Thinking in the World of Investing’ is expected to bring 1,000 professionals, alumni, and students to the Sheraton New York on February 28, 2014 for a candid discussion on the state of the industry.

columbia business school PE private equity VC venture Capital conference new york One year mba in USA 20thThe 2014 PE+VC conference promises to be the B-school’s largest Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference to date. February 28, 2014, marks the event’s 20th anniversary and the first time it will be held off campus (at the Sheraton New York) – the change in venue means the student-run gathering can welcome up to 1,000 attendees, up from 800 last year, and attract an even more impressive roster of speakers and panelists.

The headlining guests include Alan Patricof of Greycroft Partners, Leon Black of Apollo Global Management, David Blitzer of Blackstone, Eric Young of Canaan Partners, New Enterprise Associate’s Peter Barris, and Columbia Business School alum Mark Dzialga of General Atlantic.

The business school selected the theme ‘Driving Entrepreneurial Thinking in the World of Investing’, to highlight New York City’s tech boom and the accompanying startup surge. A school representative explained the thinking behind the theme, “Usually these conferences are about the road to recovery or investing in unclear territory; we wanted to put a positive spin on it but also tie it back to entrepreneurship in New York.” Under this premise, the conference planners hope to tackle a trifecta of topics, including: investing in entrepreneurs, understanding how to create value like an entrepreneur, and exploring the role of general partners as entrepreneurs.

The school says the emphasis on the investor as an entrepreneur sets Columbia’s 2014 conference apart from similar gatherings held at U Penn’s Wharton School and Harvard Business School (both institutions are also celebrating their 20th private equity and venture capital conferences this year).

How can you participate? Tickets for the conference are on sale at this link though they aren’t cheap. Students can expect to shell out $250 for a ticket, while professionals pay $475. The steep rate reflects the caliber of the speakers and the larger, swankier venue, according to Patrick Chang who is co-president of Columbia Business School’s Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. So far, they’ve sold some 700 tickets, and Chang is confident it will be a sell-out crowd. “We’re really excited, it’s one of the best lineups in the history of the conference,” he says. Rather than simply a school event, his goal is to make it as professional and instructive as the mega-conferences hosted by SuperReturn International and Dow Jones.

Chang says the 2014 theme also captures a more systemic shift on Columbia’s campus. “So much has changed with Columbia Business School lately; we launched a new branding campaign, ‘At the Very Center of Business,’ and it reflects that Columbia is in a prime location for business,” he says. “We’ve seen the development of the tech industry coincide with that of great universities before. Stanford benefited as Silicon Valley took off in the late 70s and early 80s and exploded in the late 90s. Harvard and MIT were much the same with the enterprise software and biotech movements in Boston in the 80s. Now its Columbia’s turn. The rise of Silicon Alley is real, and we plan to take advantage of that.”

Chang says the conference is a great opportunity for students to mingle with representatives from top PE and VC firms. Speaking of his own situation, Chang shares that while he’s keen to carve out a career in venture capital after graduation, he is aware that it’s a tough field to break into. However, he hopes that by putting on events such as Columbia’s Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference he can help MBAs like himself get their foot in the door. 

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