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Club Spotlight: The rise of the Baruch Private Equity Club 

Courtesy of Mohammed Tai

With interested colleagues, a previous club now defunct and some time on his hands, Mohammed Tai founded the Baruch Private Equity Club during the spring 2023 semester.

During his freshman year, Tai and his friends had looked for something like other colleges’ clubs that focused on mergers and acquisitions. After getting more familiar with the subject — three experiences in private equity, a fellowship and an investment banking internship — Tai decided to fill the gap himself.

“So, I was like, ‘I’ve got all this experience and knowledge and skills that I’ve gained, you know, I’ve been working extremely hard since my freshman year…’” Tai told The Ticker in an extensive interview. “So, I decided why not, you know, create a club where I can share what I’ve learned with other students that are looking to break into investment banking and M&A and use that experience to break into private equity.”

But many of his friends didn’t have the time.

Tai began pitching the new club to classmates, sending invitations to a growing WhatsApp group chat. He onboarded two passionate first-year students. But, according to Tai, only a few students at Baruch have experience in private equity.

He then met Jiyei M. Noh, who applied for the treasurer position, the first other executive board position besides Tai’s.

Initially, Noh was wary about over-committing, especially with so few members. Then Tai built up the club’s website — from scratch. Between April and May, he created the official social media accounts, starting with LinkedIn.

“Whenever I create like a startup or like a group, I just instantly create a LinkedIn just to keep track of everything,” he said.

He’s since combined a template, his code as well as inspiration from other university club sites to produce the website’s current look and feel.

“I was spending, just, you know, long nights working on our website, just long, long nights,” he said. “So this current website, it’s built using a template. So it’s easy, but before that, I had to code everything — and it was a pain in the ass.”

But Tai took pride in his work, confident that his custom-built site and refined socials gave the Baruch PEC an edge over Baruch’s other pre-professional clubs.

As the Baruch PEC got more attention, people began applying for more e-board positions until it reached its 11 current members. Tai admitted he didn’t know many e-board members beforehand. They simply expressed interest, were qualified and were recruited. Over the summer, he continued fleshing out each role’s tasks and responsibilities and finalized the club’s constitution.

Tai mentioned other reasons why he sees the club as especially unique, focusing on the club’s memberships.

“Like 30% to 40% of our members are graduate students, which is big,” he said.

He also touted the club’s new mentorship program, which came about on Nov. 1 through a partnership with CareerSync, a new startup service founded by e-board member Gianfranco Ide.

While the details of both the mentorship program and CareerSync’s resources remain, Tai expressed that the collaboration — in which Ide would run the service in exchange for Baruch PEC’s member base — could be something entirely new.

“Yeah, so I guess that’s kind of unique for us, because it’s his program essentially — helping students secure internships in investment banking — which is amazing,” he said. Members would essentially receive all the benefits a client of CareerSync would.

The club meets every Tuesday afternoon and hosts various workshops.

“We’ve done a workshop on liquid real estate, private equity and the M&A deal process,” he said. “Today [Oct. 26] we hosted a workshop on intro to search funds. If you want to break into private equity or investment banking, I would recommend you do like an unpaid internship at a search fund, because they’ll teach you about skills and give experiences you need to break into things like investment banking.”

Currently, Tai has several ambitious goals for the club — some more serious than others.

“We’re hoping to become even bigger than [the Finance and Economics Society], [the Investment Management Group], 50Five Capital,” he said.

The club currently has over 250 members and 20 alums who have secured  jobs at firms like BMO Capital Markets, EY, Citigroup Inc. and others.

Tai even joked about putting the club members’ skills to the test and acquiring other less-successful clubs at Baruch. It didn’t end there.

“There’s this website called,” he said. “It’s essentially a bunch of startup companies, like software as a service companies, a whole bunch of different industries… and they’re on sale for like, $1,000, or like, $2,000, $5,000… if we’re gonna pull our money together, and you know, acquire this company, we can rename ourselves Private Equity Group.”

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Judah Duke
Judah Duke, Business Editor
Judah Duke is the Business Editor of the Ticker.
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