IVCA Scholar Q&A: Lesley N. Winbush of ARCH Venture Partners

IVCA Scholar Q&A: Lesley N. Winbush of ARCH Venture Partners

August 1, 2007

CHICAGO - “ The Illinois Venture Capital Association recently spoke with Lesley N. Winbush about winning its scholar internship at ARCH Venture Partners. Winbush currently attends the College of Business Honors Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Illinois Venture Capital Association: How long have you been interested in the venture capital and private equity industries?
Lesley Winbush:
Since early in my college career. As I began to learn about all the different individuals who impact the way the market functions, I became intrigued by the role people in venture capital and private equity play in creating and growing companies.

IVCA: What do you expect to learn during your term this summer at ARCH Venture Partners?
I am hoping to understand how VC firms are able to create value in their portfolio companies and the process in which VC firms find and close deals.

IVCA: How has the industry been instructed to you in the classroom? What real-world experience are you hoping to get out of the next couple months?
This industry is difficult to teach. In the classroom, you learn about the theory behind why private equity works and how it can be efficient.

The experience you get from actually working and experiencing the industry is learning about the individuals within the industry. One of the most important real-world skills I am learning is functioning and collaborating with individuals with similar objectives.

Everyone who functions within the private equity world is an individual: the deal makers, the legal advisors, the advisory boards, the entrepreneurs and the current management. All these people function in a group dynamic that is so important to the success of the venture capital firm.

IVCA: How did the interview process go with IVCA members? What about you do you think they liked the most?
I truly enjoyed the interview process with the IVCA members. While I was able to share myself with them, I was also able to learn about the members individually and what working in the private equity and venture capital industry meant to them.

I think the IVCA members were impressed by my determination to come in and learn. This industry is one in which the learning curve is steep and the learning process never ends.

IVCA: In what ways do the venture capital and private equity industries intersect with the other areas you are studying?
These industries intersect most with courses in economics. The principles of economic theory are constantly in play: supply and demand, market efficiency and consumer preference.

While economics is taught assuming ceteris paribus, it's exciting and interesting to see how many of those theories and assumptions still hold true in real life.

IVCA: Work you like to work in this industry after you graduate?
As for private equity, definitely. There are so many opportunities to learn and grow. The ability to become involved in companies through learning about their industry, their product and then to be able to assist in adding value is an exciting opportunity.

IVCA: What do you hope to share with classmates when you return to school in the fall?
I plan to talk about the opportunities of the private equity industry, the many positions there are to pursue and the value of those positions. The industry holds valuable positions for those with degrees in finance along with those who are studying economics, accountancy and engineering.

IVCA: What do you do for fun?
I enjoy reading historical fiction and non-fiction novels as well as cooking dinner for my family and friends. However, I think the activity I enjoy most is taking in the beautiful Chicago summer weather while running on the lakefront.