Deal Camp Q&A
A few questions with Jaime Hildreth, Partner, WestCap
Throughout Jaime Hildreth’s career, her constant throughline has been making sense of data and telling a story with it. Whether at GE or Blackstone, she’s always been attracted to financial planning/analysis and business development-type roles that didn’t exist, and found the opportunities to build them from the ground up.
When Blackstone went public, the company needed to establish a team to value its assets on an ongoing basis. Jaime built the team, the infrastructure, and processes. In doing so, her team ended up developing an internal software that later become iLEVEL, a software to standardize portfolio companies’ financial data and analytics. Today, the software is used by most private equity investors to manage their portfolios.
As a Partner at WestCap, a growth equity firm founded by Laurence Tosi, Jaime’s on the Investment Committee leading their asset management efforts including a few notable FinTech investments like Addepar, where she sits on the board.
To get some key insights into private equity, we asked Deal Camp alumnus Jaime Hildreth a few questions.
What about Private Equity Inspires You?
The building part, the creativity, and solving problems. The nascencies of these companies inherently remove the pressures of a public company. Instead, the focus is on the building and growth phase, and taking advantage of the addressable market.
As a Successful Woman in Financial Services, What Advice Do You Have for the Next Generation Coming Up?
First and foremost, there’s no single, direct path. Every woman should embrace risks and follow their instincts. I don’t think my gut has ever let me down. As for advice for the next generation, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The moment you stop learning is the time to move on and tackle something new.
- Your mentors and network contacts matter — a lot. Invest time and energy in those relationships.
- Lean into flexibility — I’m excited for the future generations and women of tomorrow who have the opportunity to better balance work, family and life.
- Be you!
What Differentiates Columbia’s Deal Camp Program from Other Comparable Programs?
There is no singular path into private equity, so with Deal Camp you can learn the different avenues possible to get you there. For me, I initially got into Blackstone from a study group at Columbia Business School. I later became a Partner at WestCap as a result of my operational experience.
What Challenges or Obstacles Is the PE Industry Facing That This Program Can Help Participants Overcome?
There’s a seismic change happening in the private equity industry right now. Valuations have been slashed as interest rates skyrocket, which has caused a reset to the market. Many firms are switching their focus from growth at any cost to profitability. The quality of business models and earnings will prevail and demand a higher valuation. Deal Camp gives a variety of perspectives on how firms are navigating in this new environment.
If You Could Pick Only Three Words to Describe the Deal Camp Program, What Would They Be?
Networking, networking, networking.
How Would You Describe the Deal Camp Program to a Friend Who’s Interested in Private Equity?
Deal Camp follows an intense schedule focused on the technical learnings of Private Equity and actual case studies. The program stands out for its ability to bring in industry experts from a variety of disciplines including deal team members, consultants, and people who specialize in raising capital. It’s an incredible opportunity for attendees to interact and build relationships with these panelists in an organic way. I still keep in touch with countless students from my Deal Camp involvement.
Learn more about Deal Camp: Preparing for Private Equity program.
If you have questions about this effective leadership development program or are interested in enrolling or sponsoring someone in your organization, please don’t hesitate to contact Greta Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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