IVCA Scholar Q&A: Roy Beckham of Beecken Petty O'Keefe

July 1, 2008

CHICAGO - “ The Illinois Venture Capital Association recently interviewed Roy Beckham on winning a slot in the IVCA Scholar program, working for Beecken Petty O'Keefe and his future and present in the investment industry.

Illinois Venture Capital Association: How long have you been interested in the venture capital and private equity industries?
Roy Beckham:
I've been interested in the actual concept of venture capital and private equity since junior high school. I wasn't aware of the industry, though, until about one year ago.

IVCA: What do you expect to learn during your term this summer at Beecken Petty O'Keefe?
I expect to learn how to build different types of financial models, analyze financial data from the perspective of an investor and learn about procedures that occur before and during the execution of deals in the private equity industry.

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?
I've only learned technical concepts of investing that pertain to public companies. I hope to gain a sense of how to recognize qualities of a private business with a great deal of potential for growth and the ability to go public.

I would like to learn how to measure the quality of a management team; recognize the weaknesses, strengths and opportunities of businesses; gain research skills; learn how to conduct due diligence; and learn how improve my excel skills.

IVCA: How did the interview process go with IVCA members? What about you do you think they liked the most?
The interview process was different than what I've experienced. There was not one interview conducted by only one person. After the first interview, I had to prepare my mind for the next one, which was probably a few minutes later.

In my opinion, the interviews consisted of a mix of open- and close-ended questions. One question I remember is: - œWhy are you interested in venture capital and private equity?- 

I took that opportunity to inform them of my background and argue the case about how I've been molded for an industry such as venture capital and private equity. Fortunately, I was given enough time to answer questions that may have been asked later.

IVCA: In what ways do you think the venture capital and private equity industries intersect with the other areas you are studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business?
I think venture capital and private equity intersect with every course I've taken at the University of Illinois. So far, I've taken courses in foreign language, finance, accounting, business technical writing and communication.

Given the nature of this industry, there's a lot of negotiation that occurs. This requires excellent communication skills for success. It would be a greater challenge to succeed without a background in accounting or finance. This is used through communicating and evaluating businesses through several methods.

Lastly, writing skills are good to have as well because memorandums are used for several reasons in the private equity industry. Fortunately, writing memorandums are included in the curriculum of my accounting and business technical writing classes. That's one thing I'm not a stranger to.

IVCA: Do you know if this is an industry you would like to work in after you graduate?
This industry is very attractive. I like it because it's unpredictable, risky and challenging. I've always enjoyed creating value and improving organizations. I have also enjoyed the atmosphere and culture at Beecken Petty O'Keefe.

Since I've started my internship, I haven't experienced two days that were exactly alike. I would like to work in this industry either directly in a firm or indirectly by performing due diligence for clients in the private equity community.

IVCA: What do you hope to share with classmates when you return to school in the fall?
I plan to raise awareness of the IVCA and the private equity industry. I would like to explain to classmates the procedures that occur in mergers and acquisitions and the experiences I had as an intern.

IVCA: What do you do for fun when you're not studying or interning at a firm?
I write poetry and short stories, watch the news, spend time with friends and family, jog, play sports and participate in investment games such as CNBC's - œPortfolio Million-Dollar Challenge- . Needless to say, I'm currently ranked in the top 15 percentile.