MBA Fellows Gain Valuable Experience and Support NAIC’s Mission

Now in its third year, the NAIC Fellowship Program continues to provide second-year diverse MBA students with valuable industry experience and networking opportunities – essential components to increasing diverse representation in the alternative investments industry. Our 2021-2022 cohort hit the ground running, bolstering our programs and lending their talent and energy to their host firms.

This year’s cohort gathered valuable intelligence on the alternative investments industry and interfaced with leadership at leading diverse-owned firms while providing crucial support for NAIC’s programs. The fellows shared some of their experiences, takeaways, and how they benefited from the program. Here’s what they had to say:

Shirley Lu was an important part of our IntelligentNAIC efforts, aggregating structured and alternative data on the economic impact of our member firms and keeping us apprised of such member updates as new fundraises and new sector allocations. Endowed by Stellex Capital Management, Lu was also crucial to our effort to build a database of talent at various undergraduate and graduate institutions to create a talent pipeline for our member firms. “As a student with a non-traditional background, I faced difficulty getting traction within the alternative investing community. However, through NAIC, I was introduced to various types of investors and landed my post-graduation opportunity.” Lu will join Alpha Square Group, a boutique New York City firm with origins as a family office that invests in growth-stage Fintech and Enterprise SaaS companies.

Endowed by Valor Equity Partners, Pauline Madriz provided substantial assistance with NAIC’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration on LinkedIn, Paradigm Changers Internship Program and Establishing the Next Generation of Private Equity Firms Symposium. Pauline, who joined this year’s cohort from Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, also conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses of private equity firms and helped build a database of alternative asset funds led by women of color. “This program exposed me to a new sector of Wall Street which I had only observed tangentially and had limited exposure to the space,” she says. “Because of the experiences and insight I gained through the NAIC MBA Fellowship, my long-term career aspiration is to become a partner at a private equity firm.”

For Marian Omidiji, who completed her MBA studies at the University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, her experience as an NAIC MBA Fellow was “nothing short of transformational.” Endowed by Palladium Equity Partners, Marian was a key contributor to our Women in Alternatives Initiative, a strategy to tackle the challenge of improving the representation of diverse female professionals within the alternative investment industry. She also engaged with the finance, ESG and deal teams at Palladium. “My introduction to the ESG team at Palladium was extremely impactful in my career journey so much so that I’ve decided to attend the Harvard Kennedy School,” she says. Marian plans to explore how blockchain technology and new regulations can create repeatable and acceptable ESG metrics and standards to measure impact and evaluate risks within Private Equity.

“Working alongside NAIC has enabled me to identify unique ways to think critically beyond the traditional ways of raising awareness while promoting the careers of diverse professionals in alternative investments,” recalls Paul Osei. Joining the Fellows from the University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, the Grain Management-sponsored endowment allowed him to develop a deeper understanding of private equity investing and receive guidance from the firm’s leadership. He also contributed meaningfully to IntelligentNAIC, our Institutional Investor Roadshows and various thought leadership content to educate LPs on the value diverse managers bring to portfolios. With these rich experiences under his belt, Paul will be heading into Healthcare M&A Investment Banking at Barclays Capital.

Endowed by Valor Equity Partners, Melvin Piña lent his talents to everything from DEI and ESG presentations, creating business case studies for diverse managers to incorporate into the Wharton Business School curriculum, and automating the Fundraising Advisory Support Tracker (F.A.S.T.) call process for GPs. “This fellowship has only solidified my long-term interest in being a Private Equity investor,” says Melvin. “I have a better understanding and deeper perspective of the LP fundraising and engagement process, deal execution and talent management process as well as valuable insight on the challenges of first-time fund managers.” Melvin, who earned his MBA from Wharton, will look to leverage those learnings and relationships in his new position as a senior associate within L. Catterton’s flagship buyout fund.

MBA Fellowship applications are accepted in March/April for the following school year. Serious inquiries may be sent to