2020-2021 Class of NAIC MBA Fellows Outperform in the Face of the Pandemic

We launched the NAIC MBA Fellowship Program in 2019 to introduce diverse young talent to opportunities in alternative investments. In 2020 – thanks to endowments generously provided by Grain Management, Palladium Equity Partners, Stellex Capital Management and Valor Equity Partners – we expanded the program from one Fellow to five: Nicole Allain-Stockton, Luigi Crevoisier, Najib Jai, Sofia Baeza Perez, and Russell Williams. Each Fellow gained valuable hands-on experience and mentorship through NAIC and their respective endowment firms.

Few can deny that 2020 was a very challenging year. Despite the pandemic and all that it entailed, our Fellows stepped up, hitting the ground running with superb performances. “To be a part of the second class of NAIC MBA Fellows has been nothing short of an honor,” says Najib. “The program’s design to expose Fellows to the world of private equity through experiential opportunities served to level the playing field for me as a radical nontraditional MD/MBA candidate.”

In addition to gaining experience and contributing at Member Firms, Fellows provided valuable support for NAIC’s suite of programs and initiatives. Our Fellows helped build a comprehensive Capital Allocator Commitment tracker that records commitments to NAIC member firms and assisted with producing NAIC’s quarterly Managers in the Market (MINT) Reports. They also developed a capital allocator survey to allow NAIC to gather more proprietary information about allocators for Member Firms looking to raise funds. In addition, the Fellows helped create a list of Black and Latinx CIOs across leading pension plans, endowments, foundations, and more.

During her Fellowship, Nicole Allain-Stockton focused on helping further developing NAIC’s Women in Alternatives Initiative, a crucial effort to increase the representation of diverse female professionals in the alternative investment industry. The MBA Candidate at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania worked closely with NAIC and the Toigo Foundation to develop marketing collateral for the NAIC PARADIGM CHANGERS Undergraduate and Graduate Internship Program. Nicole interned with Grain Management, working closely with the firm’s Investor Relations team. “Having the opportunity to connect and work with one of NAIC’s Member Firms directly has helped further enrich my 10-month experience and broaden my understanding of the inner workings of private equity firms,” she says. Nicole plans to join the M&A group at Evercore, a global independent investment banking advisory firm.

Luigi Crevoisier became a vital part of the NAIC team and a key contributor to our IntelligentNAIC data aggregation resource. He augmented NAIC’s analytics by adding new metrics and automated dashboards to the member database and related data during his tenure. He also developed training material on important negotiation points between GPs and LPs on limited partnership agreements. For Luigi, the Fellowship provided the opportunity to meet a variety of talented professionals. “I was able to connect with seasoned investment professionals from several asset classes and learn more about their ideologies on investing and running their organizations,” he says. “Overall, the Fellowship has been a great experience that I’d recommend to anyone interested in supporting the NAIC mission and diverse managers.”

Najib Jai, who Valor Equity Partners endowed, completed his final year of an MD/MBA program at the University of Chicago. He has since accepted a position as Director of Population Health, Oak Street Health. “Through my time with the NAIC, I have had the fortune of building tremendous relationships with professionals who I aspire to emulate and look just like me,” he says. “The support, guidance, and learning provided to me from the NAIC has allowed me to excel on and off campus as I received Chicago Booth’s Madison Dearborn Partners Private Equity Award for the class of 2021.” The school presents the award to a graduating student who has demonstrated leadership and interest in private equity.

This year’s NAIC NextGen Symposia was a resounding success, and Fellow Sofia Baeza Perez was a critical contributor. While working with Member Firm Valor Equity Partners, Sofia worked closely with NAIC’s content team on marketing and communications efforts. “The Fellowship provided me the opportunity to get access to diverse and very talented people from the Private Equity and Venture Capital industries,” she says. “It has been super inspiring to be exposed to this group of individuals.” With her MBA studies at the University of Texas-Austin complete, Sofia looks to rejoin RION M&A, a Mexico City-based Boutique Investment Bank Firm, where she previously worked for three years.

Russell Williams says the experience offered him exposure to the private equity world that he otherwise would not have had. “I learned all the factors at play in the industry and the players in the industry – whether it be the LPs, GPs, the service providers and how everything works together,” says Russell. He looks to join Barclays as an Investment Banking Associate in New York. “It was amazing from a networking perspective.” Among those Russell connected with is industry leader Ray Whiteman, Founder and Managing Partner of Stellex Capital Management and the sponsor of his Fellowship. “I got to visit Stellex’s offices weekly, meet with the team, work on special projects and perform due diligence on investments. That was a special opportunity.”

With the 2020-2021 NAIC Fellowship wrapping up, we would like to thank the cohort for their hard work and dedication. We are currently reviewing resumes and applications for the next cohort, which we will be happy to announce once finalized.