Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 3pm

Private Equity Takes Center Stage at Duke Kunshan: MBA News

Private equity the focus at Duke Kunshan forum

Guo Guangchang and David Rubenstein were among the speakers at a forum held recently at Duke Kunshan University (DKU), the collaborative venture between Duke University and Wuhan University located close to Shanghai.

As part of the Duke International Finance Forum, Rubenstein - cofounder and co-CEO of private equity firm, the Carlyle Group - told an audience of students and business leaders of his belief in the contribution private equity makes to a country’s economic development and betterment:

“If you make companies more efficient and you create new companies, you’re actually making society more efficient. You’re making economies more productive, you’re creating more jobs, you’re creating more tax revenue and, in the end, you’re creating more happiness in the world,” said Rubenstein, who gave the commencement (graduation) address at Wharton in 2014. 

Guo Guangchang offers advice from his wealth of experience

The contribution private equity can make to economic development, in the form of capital, was also picked up by Guo Guangchang, who explained why an investor’s choice of industry is all-important:

“Capital is serving industry, not vice versa. You have to serve the industries that can really create value."

Guo spoke of his experiences as the founder and chairman of US$18 billion conglomerate, the Fosun Group – attributing his success to making the best of China’s growth and outlining his plans for Fosun to continue expanding and to become a world class investment group.

The renowned private equity investor also spoke of the need to always adhere to the industry’s fundamental questions – where money is coming from, what the type of investment is and whether the company in question represents a sound investment. Guo then outlined how his ideal investments can be bracketed loosely into three categories: health care and financial services; relaxation and entertainment; and commodities and mass products.  

However, Guo Guangchang dismissed the frequent parallels that are drawn between him and Warren Buffett, arguing that: “There are a lot of Warren Buffetts these days in China.”

Certainly, the opportunities for private equity firms in China have grown rapidly over the past decade. However, another speaker at Duke Kunshan, Jonathan Zhou, managing director of Bain Capital Hong Kong, suggested that resources other than capital may come to the fore as Chinese companies seek overseas expansion:

“Capital is no longer in short supply, but you still need technology, you still need market access, you still need management skills. When Chinese companies think about expanding overseas, deploying capital to acquire those resources they didn’t have enough of becomes a key driver of investment strategy.”

First management graduates at Duke Kunshan University

Duke Kunshan University graduated the first class of its master’s of management studies (MMS) program, last week. Representing eight countries, 32 students received a qualification that comes from Duke University, having spent six months at the Fuqua School of Business in the US before completing the 10-month program at Duke Kunshan in China from January of this year.

Student speaker at the graduation ceremony, Jonathan Mordh, explained why the collaborative program had appealed to this inaugural class:  

“Choosing DKU shows that each of us has the desire to be a part of continued innovation and cooperation between China and the rest of the world. Whatever each of us goes on to do after graduation, wherever we are in China or outside of China, whether it be jumping into the world of business, continued studies, or whatever else, we will take this desire with us.”

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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