Introducing Our 2022-2023 MBA Fellows!

A robust pipeline of diverse talent is critical to the prosperity of our industry. And for that reason, NAIC established the MBA Fellowship Program. Now entering its fourth year, the program provides diverse MBA students with opportunities to gain valuable experience and network with leaders in the alternative asset management industry.

Thanks to generous support from NAIC member firms Valor Equity Partners, Stellex Capital Management, Grain Management and Palladium Equity Partners, we are happy to announce that five talented young professionals will make up this year’s cohort. With an entire cohort possessing industry experience, the MBA candidates are prepared to hit the ground running. As they begin to add value to our programs and initiatives, we would like to introduce this year’s impressive 2022-2023 NAIC MBA Fellows!

Eliana Lozano is passionate about helping underprivileged entrepreneurs and communities gain access to resources and working towards a more equitable future where underserved communities have access to resources. Born in Havana, Cuba, Lozano was surrounded by people who became innovative through poverty and refashioned toys and other objects from recycled items. An MBA candidate at Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Lozano now has a strong interest in real estate development. She is looking to gain further experience and opportunities in the space and earn a role at an organization where she can grow and continue to be challenged.

Since the beginning of her professional career, Ines Valenzuela has looked to create value and unlock potential in the most challenging opportunities. She believes alternative investing embodies this principle by attracting the best investment minds that can identify the potential in a business and that invest capital in the best value-creating opportunities. Through this Fellowship, the Wharton School MBA candidate hopes to learn the best practices to promote DEI in the industry by talking to multiple successful private equity and venture capital firms committed to creating a positive impact. Upon completing her studies, Valenzuela hopes to join an opportunistic private equity firm and eventually become a leader to contribute to diversity and equity initiatives.

For Adam Lawal, the Fellowship provides the opportunity to learn more about the first-time fund manager process and the process for developing relationships with LPs. A Wharton School MBA candidate who completed a summer internship as a Private Equity Associate at Vista Equity Partners, Lawal hopes to continue his professional career within Private Equity in hopes of eventually raising an institutional fund in the future. Lawal first became interested in a career in alternative investing while working in KPMG’s Deal Advisory practice. At that point, he wanted to learn how to think like an investor and gain a better understanding of what separates a great investor from a good investor.

A dual-degree MBA and MPA candidate at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and the Harvard Kennedy School, Afua Asantewaa is passionate about creating opportunities for people across the African diaspora. The Chicago native with ties to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire developed an interest in alternative investments in high school when she learned that her father’s friend, who founded and ran a private equity firm, had invested in household names and improved communities through his philanthropic efforts. Asantewaa became determined to figure out to have a similarly positive impact on under-resourced communities. Through the NAIC Fellowship, Asantewaa hopes to learn more about the alternative investment industry, build her network, and obtain the requisite skills to be successful in her career while furthering NAIC’s mission.

A second-year MBA Candidate at Columbia Business School focusing on venture capital in the media, consumer tech, and web3 segments, Nia Johnson also brings industry experience to the Fellowship, having interned at Base10 Ventures this summer. In addition to being an NAIC fellow, she currently serves as President of Columbia’s VC Club for the 2022-2023 school year. She’s gained industry-wide acclaim for her research into pay equity for interns in the VC industry. A 2016 Howard University alumnae, she has previously worked as a part-time investor at Polymath Capital Partners, where she has sourced deals such as Realtime and Living Carbon, and a Product Manager at Axios, where she helped support the launch of Axios Local.

Fellows support NAIC by aggregating structured and alternative data on the economic impact of our member firms for IntelligentNAIC, and keeping us apprised of member firm fundraises and new sector allocations. They also provide research and logistical support for all of NAIC’s programs and initiatives, including our Women in Alternatives programs, Establishing the Next Generation of Private Equity Firms Symposium and Institutional Investor Roadshows.

Please join us in welcoming the 2021-2023 NAIC MBA Fellows! And special thanks to the Member Firms whose generous endowments keep the program going.