As part of the finance curriculum at HHL, the Chair of Financial Management regularly welcomes high-profile guest speakers to provide practical insights for students. On May 22, Bernhard Schwetzler and his team welcomed Dörte Höppner from Riverside Europe to talk in front of the MSc18 students about her passionate working environment within a Private Equity (PE) firm. Dörte Höppner is the COO of Riverside Europe, the European arm of the The Riverside Company, which is a globally operating PE firm with more than 530 transactions under its belt. Her guest lecture focused on the current challenges of PE business, such as record amounts of dry powder (i.e., unspent fund capital), intense competition for deals as well as the changing composition of the investor base. These insights provided fruitful ground for the discussion with our MSc18 students.
Dörte Höppner’s visit at HHL is part of the Chair of Financial Management’s strategy to expand research on PE buyouts. For this purpose, chairholder Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schwetzler and Dr. Benjamin Hammer will re-launch the Center for Corporate Transactions later this year, which will then operate under the name Center for Corporate Transactions & Private Equity (CCTPE). The goal of this re-launch is to establish a leading think tank for PE research in Europe until 2023. As Bernhard Schwetzler, the Academic Director of the CCTPE, says:
“To establish a successful think tank, it is crucial to join forces with practice to stay close to the hot topics in the industry. We are therefore extremely thankful for Dörte’s visit. She not only helps students understanding the PE landscape better, but also provides valuable feedback for our current and upcoming research projects.”
Later this day, the initiative Women@HHL hosted Dörte Höppner for an exclusive talk about female talent in the PE industry. Recent numbers by Preqin, a source of data and intelligence for the alternative assets industry, suggest that women account for only 9% of senior staff in PE companies. To promote more gender diversity, Dörte Höppner, along with several other PE professionals, is actively engaged in the Level20 initiative which aims at increasing the proportion of women to 20%. The discussion with Riverside’s COO helped the audience understanding what it takes to succeed in the PE industry and hopefully encouraged some of our female talents to envisage a career in PE. In addition, Benjamin Hammer, Executive Director of the CCTPE, believes that more academic research on diversity is needed to raise awareness for the topic:
“Academic research helps to bring the topic of gender diversity into the university lecture halls around the world, which is important to tackle the root of the problem. Diversity in PE is therefore an important part of our research agenda for the upcoming years.”
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