In this post on the Venture Practicum series, Dingman Center marketing graduate assistant Grant Lee interviews Aditya Dokania, a second-year MBA student focused on general management.
Grant Lee (GL): Hi Aditya. Good to see you. Why did you decide to participate in Venture Practicum?
Aditya Dokania (AD): I went to the Smith Experience information session to learn about the program and immediately gained interest. Before coming to Smith, I had experience working in a startup in India and knew I wanted to work with startups in the United States.
GL: What startup are working with this semester?
AD: I am working for Tipton Equity Partners with Brian Banes. It is a private equity fund. Although my major is general management, I always wanted to utilize the resources that our school can offer for new venture finance and thought this would be a good opportunity.
GL: Tell me more about your project.
AD: My current project is to analyze the deals from last year. My goal is to understand the risk for the company and for the industry. I conduct data analysis that helps identify which startups to invest in the future and can also help us to understand how they get funded. I also write a biweekly newsletter.
GL: What do you want to achieve through this experience?
AD: The company’s goal is to improve communication and I can help to identify new targets for investment. Personally, I want to gain more insight about the private equity industry and to learn how people do research and identify targets. Back home in India, new venture financing is a relatively new field. I believe I can leverage this unique experience when I return to India.
GL: Do you think working at a startup will be unlike any other job you’ve had?
AD: Before my MBA, I worked as a consultant at Ernst and Young for more than two years. The scale was tremendously different. At Ernst and Young, it felt like there were thousands of other people there. At Tipton Equity, where there are around 6 or 7 people, I feel more valuable to the company.
GL: What skills or expertise do you offer to your startup?
AD: Research and industry analysis. My graduate assistantship experience has helped me a long way in doing research. I work in the Department of Decisions, Operations and Information Technology department here at the Smith School. My job is to do research on various subjects and prepare case studies for faculty members. I apply this experience to the projects that I am working on for Tipton Equity.
GL: How do you think the MBA program has helped you thus far?
AD: Coming from a consulting background, my goal after graduation is to go back to the consulting field in the US or India. A prestigious MBA will help me to move up the corporate ladder a bit faster. Moreover, the MBA has given me training in public speaking. I have had many opportunities to present on stage and that has helped me to improve my confidence and my communication abilities overall.
Aditya spent two years in risk and assurance consulting prior to coming to the Smith School for his MBA. He focused on performing systems audits and identifying systemic weaknesses that may lead to leakage of financially significant information. While pursuing his MBA, he interned with the International Monetary Fund where he worked on enterprise architecture and roadmapping for the Information and Knowledge Management division.
Brian spent three years in management consulting for financial services companies prior to his MBA. While pursuing his MBA, Brian has worked with a number of public and private investment firms. Post-MBA, he will be working in investment banking with a focus on healthcare.
Grant Lee is a second year full-time MBA student focused on Marketing Strategy at Smith School of Business. Prior to MBA, he had four years of experience in retail marketing and advertising in Taiwan. During first year, he differentiated himself by participating in three business plan competitions and won top five in Wake Forest Retail Innovation Challenge. Now in his second year, he is dedicated to learning more about entrepreneurship by working as a Marketing Graduate Assistant for the Dingman Center, where he enjoys every moment of it. Grant shares his perspectives in his personal website mrgrantlee.com Tipton Equity Partners
About Tipton Equity Partners
Tipton Equity Partners is a middle-market private equity firm investing in promising enterprises in the US and in select emerging markets globally. Tipton Equity Partners primarily focuses on investments in healthcare, software and business services.
Tipton’s principals are experienced investors and operators who contribute strategic insight and execution experience to new ventures and growth-stage companies, in addition to equity capital investment. Tipton’s portfolio companies and managed interests are spread throughout the United States and across international locations, from southern Europe to the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Australia.