Our mission


Our mission is to elevate Stern as a preeminent target school in the private investment community, by providing club members with the platform and resources to learn more about the private equity and venture capital industries, and the foundation to build meaningful relationships with industry professionals for important career opportunities.

SPEC in numbers:
12 Years of Community
12 Annual Conferences
425 Current Members
1,300 Alumni

We work closely with the administration and the Career Management office to develop initiatives within the School and to promote Stern as a recruiting destination within the industry.

Why join SPEC?

  • To gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry ranging from leveraged buyouts, growth capital, middle-market and distressed investing
  • To secure attractive career opportunities for our membership through working with the office of career development (OCD) and direct job postings through the club
  • To gather tips on how to interview, network, build the perfect resume, and learn specifics about the companies you are pursuing
  • To network and work closely with second-year students, outstanding professors and influential alumni



Our Board Members

2019 | 2020


Ayla Jiang

Kyle Menz


Yun Zhang
VP, Finance

Marc (Peng) Ye
VP, Marketing & Communications

David Zareh
VP, Langone

Gracy Wang
VP, Sponsorships


Brett Goldberg
VP, Alumni Relations

Michael Averbook
VP, External Relations

Chris Ferzli
Lei Gong
Matt Kahn
Michael Maniaci
Joe Solimini

VPs, Conference

Sophia Valner
VP, Mentorship


Virgilio Contucci
VP, Treks - PE

Rahul Gupta
VP, Knowledge Management - PE

Vismayie Vandanapu
VP, Competition - PE

Xuezhu Li, Suhan Li
VPs, Treks - VC

Amy Ho
VP, Knowledge Management - VC

 Stephen Roland
VP, Competition - VC


Faculty Advisor

Gustavo Schwed| Clinical Professor of Finance

Gustavo Schwed joined NYU-Stern as an Adjunct Professor in 2013 and became a Clinical Professor in 2015. He teaches Private Equity Finance to MBA students. Professor Schwed had a twenty-five year career in the private equity industry, which included work at venture capital and large buy-out firms. During this time, he lived in and practiced private equity in the US, Europe, and Latin America.

Prior to joining Stern, Professor Schwed was a partner and Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners, the world’s largest media and telecommunications specialist private equity firm, with over $40 billion of assets under management. Working in the London office, he was one of the partners responsible for the firm’s European business. Professor Schwed participated in the fund raising of Providence VI, a $12 billion fund which was the largest industry specialized private equity fund ever raised. At Providence Professor Schwed led several transactions in the telecommunications industry, including the largest LBO in European history at the time and some of the firm’s most successful deals in recent years. Professor Schwed was a member of the firm’s Valuation Committee and Portfolio Committee, which was responsible for the oversight of the firm’s portfolio of over fifty companies.

Prior to joining Providence, Professor Schwed was a Managing Director of Morgan Stanley Private Equity, where he launched and ran the firm’s Latin American private equity business out of the firm’s Sao Paulo office and became the Chairman of the firm’s Global Emerging Markets Fund, Morgan Stanley’s vehicle for private equity investing in Latin America, Asia, and Central Europe. He subsequently moved to London where he became one of three partners running Morgan Stanley’s European private equity business. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Professor Schwed was an Executive Director at Bassini, Playfair + Associates (BPA). He helped BPA raise and manage a $300 million Latin America private equity fund, one of the first of its kind. While at BPA, Professor Schwed moved to Brazil where he opened and co-ran the firm’s Brazilian office. He began his post MBA career at the New York office of Sprout Group, the venture capital affiliate of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) where he developed the firm’s practice in medical devices venture investing.

Professor Schwed was named NYU Stern’s Professor of the Year by the 2015 MBA graduating class.

Professor Schwed currently serves on the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College, where he is Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee and is a member of the Nominations and Governance and Investment Committees. As part of the Investment Committee, he is responsible for the oversight of the college’s $2 Billion endowment, focusing on the endowment’s investments in private equity and public equities.

Professor Schwed received a BA with High Honors from Swarthmore College in 1984 and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 1988. He is a US, UK and Argentine citizen and speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese.



Our advisory board primarily consists of alumni from NYU Stern. We encourage members of the professional community who wish to be involved with the Stern Private Equity Club to contact the board at SPEC@stern.nyu.edu.


Maggie Arvedlund | Turning Rock Partners

Maggie Arvedlund is a Partner and Founder of Turning Rock Partners. Prior to founding Turning Rock Partners, Ms. Arvedlund was a Managing Director at Fortress Investment Group where she spent over eight years. 

While at Fortress, Ms. Arvedlund was responsible for over $500 million of private equity and direct investments for the Fortress Partners Fund.  The Fortress Partners Fund is a multi-strategy hedge fund, which invested across asset classes and capital structures and totaled $2.7 billion of assets under management.  During her tenure at Fortress Partners Fund, Ms. Arvedlund served on the Investment Committee from 2010-2015 and allocated across the alternative landscape including hedged equity, private equity, real estate, distressed, and other hard assets.  

Prior to joining Fortress, Ms. Arvedlund worked at Hall Capital Partners where she held roles in the portfolio management and research divisions.  Hall Capital Partners is a privately held registered investment advisory firm with $29 billion of assets under management.  Prior to Hall Capital Partners, Ms. Arvedlund held a number of senior operating roles in several privately held businesses. 


Shehzad Ajmal | Audax Group

Mr. Ajmal is a Vice President on the Mezzanine investment team of Audax Group. Audax Group is a premier investor in middle market companies. Established in 1999, Audax manages over $5.0 billion of capital through its private equity, mezzanine debt, and senior secured debt funds.Previously, Mr. Ajmal worked as an Associate with Lehman Brothers in the Investment Banking Division. Mr. Ajmal also worked as an Associate at BNP Paribas.

Mr. Ajmal received an M.B.A. from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University. He is a Chartered Accountant from Pakistan and an affiliate of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in the U.K.


ADAM HOWARTH | Partners Group

Adam Howarth is the Head of Partners Group's New York office and Co-Head of its Private Equity Secondaries business unit. He is a member of the Global Investment Committee and the Private Equity Secondaries Investment Committee. He has been with Partners Group since 2007 and has 16 years of industry experience.

Prior to joining Partners Group, Howarth worked at HarbourVest Partners, LLC and Credit Suisse. He holds an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business.


Paul Lanna | Coller Capital

Paul is a Partner at Coller Capital and is responsible for origination and execution based in the firm’s New York office.

Prior to joining Coller Capital in 2010, Paul was a Vice President in the Investment Banking Group at EarlyBirdCapital in New York.

Previously, he worked as an Associate in the TMT Investment Banking Group at Bear Stearns in New York.

Paul has a BS from Lafayette College, and an MBA from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.


Alden Mahabir | Verizon Ventures

Alden Mahabir joined Verizon Ventures in 2013 and supports its strategic marketing and venture development efforts, while also evaluating investment opportunities across industries.

Alden brings over 12 years of experience in corporate venture capital, investment banking, and investment research, all focused on technology, media, and telecom. Prior to Verizon Ventures, he worked at Goodrich Capital, where he advised startups and private companies on their business strategies and helped them to raise growth equity capital. He has also held leadership positions at Utendahl Capital Partners, CIBC World Markets, Lehman Brothers, and C.E. Unterberg, Towbin. At a young age, Alden co-founded Vintage Research (age 25), an investment research & consulting firm, and Good Buy Realty (age 19).

Alden received his B.A. in Economics at Rutgers University and his MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.


Brett Rochkind | General Atlantic

Brett B. Rochkind is a Managing Director at General Atlantic, where he has worked since 2002. Mr. Rochkind leads General Atlantic's Palo Alto office, where he is co-head of the firm's global Internet & Technology sector. Mr. Rochkind recently returned from GA's Hong Kong office, where he focused on opportunities in Greater China and the Asia-Pacific region including the firm's investments in Alibaba Group, Renren, Soufun and Lenovo. Mr. Rochkind has worked closely with many of GA's portfolio companies in the software, information, services and Internet sectors including Box, Appirio, Bazaarvoice, IHS, SSA Global and Altair Engineering in the United States, Decolar, MercadoLibre and Grupo Linx in Brazil and Latin America and PowerDsine in Israel.

Prior to joining General Atlantic, Mr. Rochkind was an investment banker with Morgan Stanley & Co. in their Mergers & Acquisitions department in New York and Menlo Park, and helped to establish Morgan Stanley's Israel office based in Tel Aviv. Mr. Rochkind graduated magna cum laude and as a University Scholar from the Stern School of Business at New York University and earned his M.B.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

Mr. Rochkind is an active member in the community and is involved in a number of educational and non-profit organizations, including New York University, where he is a member of the University's Board of Trustees and Co-Founder of the Young Alumni Leadership Circle and a member of the Israel Venture Network and AIPAC.


Nancy Vailakis | Augentius

Nancy Vailakis has over 14 years of alternative asset management industry experience as a business development, marketing and investor relations professional. She is currently Head of Business Development - Americas at Augentius, one of the largest independent alternative asset management service providers in the world, focused on private equity, venture capital and real estate fund administration and related solutions.

Prior to her tenure at Augentius, Nancy was Vice President of Investor Relations at Cerberus Capital Management where she covered the co-mingled institutional funds and fundraises with senior partners at the firm. Ms. Vailakis previously worked in a similar capacity at credit firm, BlueMountain Capital Management.

Nancy is involved with many non-profit and professional organizations including High Water Women and 100 Women in Finance.

She holds an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business and a BA from Binghamton University.


Adrian Whipple | TZP GROUP

Prior to joining TZP Group as VP of Operations,  Adrian

Whipple began his career as an Auditor at Deloitte & Touche where he worked on numerous private equity fund audits and portfolio company valuations. After earning his MBA, Mr. Whipple led the internal audit and FP&A efforts of several privately held companies until 2013 when he joined KPMG. There he delivered consulting services to private equity clients, including transaction services, working closely with integration and separation teams.

Prior to becoming a Director, Mr. Whipple was a Manager in KPMG's Private Equity Service Group and an AVP of Finance at BNY Convergex. 

Mr. Whipple received his MBA from NYU Stern School of Business in 2010 and his BBA cum laude in Accountancy from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College



Our corporate sponsors

The Stern Private Equity Club is a committed group of more than 400 full-time and part-time students interested in exploring the world of private equity across a wide variety of investing subgroups from buyout, growth capital to real estate and venture capital. Sponsoring the Stern Private Equity Club is an excellent opportunity for your firm to introduce itself and to network with Stern students with a strong interest in the private equity and venture capital industry.

Our mission is to help Stern students gain a greater appreciation for the role of private equity in business by exposing them to the numerous and dynamic dimensions of the private equity industry. SPEC strives to be a comprehensive buy side resource, and a continual source of support for Stern students, with special attention given to those individuals who aspire to pursue careers in private equity.

Some of the benefits we provide to our sponsors include:

  • Dedicated SPEC relationship manager

  • Exposure during the annual SPEC Conference

  • Educational events such as Case Studies and speakers

If you are a corporate recruiter interested in learning more about SPEC sponsorship, please send us an email at spec@stern.nyu.edu.

Platinum Sponsor:

Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsor:

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