People often ask me – especially here at INSEAD – whether I have a Greek passport after they find out that I am half Greek. Some are surprised when I tell them that I don’t. Thanks to Stefanos, a classmate from the July 2007 promotion, I can now just point to his entry about his “Passport Odyssey” to explain my reasons.
No further comment required.
So it is official now – I will join Bain & Company as a Consultant in their Munich office next year. It is a great relief to know that my job search is over.
Why did I chose to go into consulting? Mainly for two reasons – lifelong learning and continuous challenge. No other job I found offered a steeper learning curve and a more demanding environment. In that sense, Bain will be the continuation of my MBA program here at INSEAD.
In addition, the network I will join at Bain is phenomenal – its alumni base includes leaders as diverse as Kevin Rollins, CEO of Dell, and Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay, to Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, and Mitt Romney, Governor of Massachusetts.
I just got my very own iPod Shuffle yesterday. The thing is amazing – 14 grams, clips on to your clothing and holds a gigabyte of music – what else yould you ask for?
What’s even more amazing is that I am one of the first worldwide to hold this baby in my hands – Apple just started shipping it last Friday, and I got mine on Tuesday afternoon. Love it!
Ruriko, my Japanese classmate, told me that I was more Japanese than her, given my excitement about electronic gadgets. I take that as a compliment!
As reported yesterday, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), one of the biggest private equity groups in the world, offered 40bn EUR (51bn USD) to take over Vivendi, the French entertainment and telecommunications group. Although sources close to the talks said that the negotiations were “dead and not coming back”, this deal would represent the biggest buy-out transaction ever if completed.
Just a few months ago, we discussed the biggest buy-out to date in our finance classes here at INSEAD – the 31bn USD take over of RJR Nabisco, an American tobacco and food conglomerate, a deal portrayed in the highly acclaimed book Barbarians at the Gate and a TV movie by the same name. What’s remarkable about this deal is that it remained the biggest leveraged buy-out deal for almost 18 years, only to be surpassed in July of this year, when a deal was announced to take over HCA, the largest operator of hospitals in the US, in a 33bn USD transaction (including debt). In all of these deals, KKR was the lead investor.
Where will it all end? Although private equity firms are experiencing increasing competition and governments around the world seemed determined to increase the level of regulation significantly, some have suggested that only the sky is the limit. Dan Primack, editor of the daily newsletter PE Week Wire, believes that 80bn USD are a reasonable ceiling for future LBOs, while both the Financial Times and BusinessWeek suggest that even Microsoft, one of the biggest companies by market capitalization, could become a suitable LBO target.
Interesting times ahead.
Update: Although the HCA deal finally closed on November 17 for $33bn, it is no longer the biggest LBO ever: The Blackstone Group, another PE firm, just announced the take-over of Equity Office Properties Trust, a Chicago-based real-estate management group, in a deal valued at $36bn.
As expected, my last period here at INSEAD is much more relaxed than the previous ones – we go out a lot, have dinners together and just generally enjoy life.
Last Tuesday we had our big Halloween party at Lindsay’s place here at Heritage View. Great fun, even though I’m not sure I remember it all :-) Enjoy the pictures!