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Students to participate in WVU business school private equity forum October 16

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – What in the world does the term “private equity” mean?

You probably hear it a lot if you watch CNBC or Bloomberg. Simply, it is equity held in a private business, and private equity firms invest in one of two ways: through the outright purchase of a business or by obtaining an ownership stake in a business.

The private equity market has grown steadily for the past four decades, which is why the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics (B&E) will host the WVU Private Equity Forum on October 16 in the Mountainlair Gold Ballroom. The event will focus on providing unique learning opportunities and experiences for students.

John Scerbo

The forum will feature John Scerbo, founder of Sensory Network and former chief financial officer of Catterton Partners, the leading consumer-focused private equity firm with more than $4 billion currently under management. The event will also feature Bob Welty, President of Fifth Third Bank West Virginia and a member of the B&E Visiting Committee; Rebecca Borden, partner at Ernst & Young in Boston and specializing in valuation and transactions; and Joseph G. Bunn, a business attorney from the West Virginia-based Steptoe & Johnson law firm.

“The Private Equity Forum will help explain what private equity is, and opens the door for students to see the private equity career opportunities that are out there,” said Frank DeGeorge, a teaching instructor in B&E’s Finance Department. “It will also give students a look at the educational offerings at B&E that relate to this field. We’re very fortunate to be working with someone the caliber of John Scerbo again this year, and now we have the valuable addition of the other keynote participants.”

Scerbo was presented the 2014 Private Equity Manager Leadership Award earlier this year.

The forum is coupled with the “Up All Night” experiential learning opportunity created by Sensory Network and hosted by the business school, an event open only to WVU students. It is held in the evening into the late night hours, calling upon students to develop cunning, adaptability and business intelligence as deals have been known to change direction in the wee hours. This is the second year for the “Up All Night” event, which typically includes undergraduate and graduate students.