VP-level Case Study Advice

I have a case study round with a megafund next week for a VP role (currently VP now at peer fund). It is a 75 minute window, and they gave me a CIM and no other guidance. The case study will be attended by 3 partners/principals at the fund (who I've interviewed with previously). Any idea on how best to prepare? It will be over video given I'm out of state.


I'm currently planning on making an up to 10 page deck hitting on industry, company, risks/mitigants/highlights and maybe a couple more bespoke back pocket analyses. Model slides as well. Also planning on trying to record myself presenting the entire deck for ~45 minutes to check body language and pacing. Any other advice or feedback? Thanks in advance.

 

If you can do all of that on 1h and 15mins, then I am way fucking worse of an investor than I thought I was at this point.  
 
Finishing a quick model, thinking through thesis, and making 10 slides, including some kpis or analysis…in 30mins, then talking about all of that for 45mins.  
  
Fwiw, I was given a similar test but no model, purely thematic testing and q&a. 

 

I assume you mean that you were ALREADY given the CIM, and the debrief is 75 minutes. If so, you need to make a Phase I investment committee deck. Executive summary, company and market overview, key diligence areas (risks and mitigating factors / diligence plan), financing assumptions, model assumptions (for downside, base, upside and management cases; upside can just be management), preliminary returns, downside-thru-upside returns waterfall, management incentive description, budget request. If you have time, I’d even create an IOI letter but that would be extra.

 

That's how I read it too.  Below is an outline I would use and the "so-what?" or special considerations that I'd be trying to focus on 

  1. Exec Summary - Why is the fund you're interviewing at the right buyer of the asset (do they have a track record in this space; is there something you can do with another portco of theirs?); key deal dynamics (e.g., is the seller a PE fund that's held the asset for 10 years now)? 
  2. Company & Market Overview - Highlight key stats that will drive your projection assumptions (e.g., market growth rate) / your assessment of the investment (e.g., customer retention; prior down cycle performance; etc) 
  3. Investment Highlights / Considerations - I think of this as setting the stage for how to think about the projections (e.g., downside case will reflect the key risks)
  4. Valuation Considerations - Beyond comps, some thought on how the company might earn its way to a higher valuation multiple
  5. Diligence Plan - Bring this down to if you had a limited amount of time to do work and confirm your valuation, what would it be? 
  6. Model Overview - How aggressive does your financing & operating assumptions need to be to achieve a 20% IRR? What are the key sensitivities (e.g., if there's a roll-up strategy, how much is the return without any M&A and then what is it with M&A)? I don't think a returns waterfall is absolutely necessary but it's definitely nice if you can do it.

I'd pair the deck with a model output summary packet -- showing full financial detail for each of your cases.

In the past I prepared a ~2-3 minute overview of the investment and then let Q&A drive the rest of the conversation.  Of course, if after the intro schpeel they still are silent, I'd move forward but I figured that with scarce time, best to prepare on that intro because generally people have short attention spans and won't sit through a long monologue.  More likely than not I won't be able to speak for more than 2-3 minutes without questions being thrown at me

 

That's how I read it too.  Below is an outline I would use and the "so-what?" or special considerations that I'd be trying to focus on 

  1. Exec Summary - Why is the fund you're interviewing at the right buyer of the asset (do they have a track record in this space; is there something you can do with another portco of theirs?); key deal dynamics (e.g., is the seller a PE fund that's held the asset for 10 years now)? 
  2. Company & Market Overview - Highlight key stats that will drive your projection assumptions (e.g., market growth rate) / your assessment of the investment (e.g., customer retention; prior down cycle performance; etc) 
  3. Investment Highlights / Considerations - I think of this as setting the stage for how to think about the projections (e.g., downside case will reflect the key risks)
  4. Valuation Considerations - Beyond comps, some thought on how the company might earn its way to a higher valuation multiple
  5. Diligence Plan - Bring this down to if you had a limited amount of time to do work and confirm your valuation, what would it be? 
  6. Model Overview - How aggressive does your financing & operating assumptions need to be to achieve a 20% IRR? What are the key sensitivities (e.g., if there's a roll-up strategy, how much is the return without any M&A and then what is it with M&A)? I don't think a returns waterfall is absolutely necessary but it's definitely nice if you can do it.

I'd pair the deck with a model output summary packet -- showing full financial detail for each of your cases.

In the past I prepared a ~2-3 minute overview of the investment and then let Q&A drive the rest of the conversation.  Of course, if after the intro schpeel they still are silent, I'd move forward but I figured that with scarce time, best to prepare on that intro because generally people have short attention spans and won't sit through a long monologue.  More likely than not I won't be able to speak for more than 2-3 minutes without questions being thrown at me

The one other piece that I have found quite helpful in case studies is to discuss investment / mandate fit and maybe if they have an "edge" in the process.   Really shows if you "get" the firm or not.  

 

I just had a similar case study with 48 hours to do research, build a model, and put together a short investment committee deck. I have a 45 minute debrief with a few team members later this week. I plan to start with presenting the opportunity, investment thesis, key risks, high-level model cases, and my opinion on the investment. However, what type of questions should I expect to receive from the "mock" investment committee? 

 

Woah, tons of great specific advice above. Kudos to those who helped (sadly mostly anonymous users).

The above is all pretty standard stuff that absolutely everyone should include in their case studies (except preparing the sample IOI — that’s so over-the-top it is probably a bit weird). That said, if you truly want to differentiate yourself from the other candidates and be “ready for anything” you need to make sure you fully and completely understand the business. It’s a bit difficult to describe what I mean exactly, but you should be able to make assumptions that go beyond the materials provided in the CIM to develop an opinion/thesis for why this is/isn’t a good investment. If you just repackage the investment merits provided in the CIM and identify the obvious risks, you’ll probably pass the interview but you will lose an opportunity to stand out.

Example: Highlighting the fact that a company has customer concentration is hardly a unique insight. If you can speak to structural aspects of the company’s industry that lead you to believe industry consolidation will occur driving concentration over your hold period — now that is a lot more impressive.

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Not sure how much you really can do unless it’s in your industry coverage. If you go out on a limb / gamble and the team has a different view it’s pretty disastrous. I’d rather state things you’d look into / thesis you’d want to test with budget and another week (which could be your consolidation point but also others). I’m not sure you get bonus points for having very specific subsection knowledge unless that’s part of what they’re looking for

 
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