A New Private Equity Fellowship for Minorities

Posted by: Alison Damast on November 4, 2009

The Carlyle Group and the Robert Toigo Foundation have joined forces to help make it easier for minority MBA graduates to pursue a career in the private equity sector, a field long criticized for its lack of diversity in the top ranks. Beginning today, second-year MBA students can apply for the new Toigo Private Equity MBA Fellowship, a year-long program where fellows will divide their time between working at Carlyle, its portfolio companies and some of the firms’ investors, according to a press release from the Toigo Foundation.

Those selected as fellows will receive an annual stipend, which includes a $50,000 MBA tuition payment to help them pay off their student loans. Carlyle, a global private equity firm, is committing $1 million to the effort over the four years. David Rubenstein, the managing director and co-founder of the The Carlyle Group, said he views the fellowship as a “significant and meaningful step” for the sector.

“…We believe more must be done to accelerate how we attract and retain minority talent within the industry,” Rubenstein said.

The Robert Toigo Foundation is known in the MBA community for its prestigious fellowships awarded to minorities who want to attend business school; over the last 20 years more than 800 students have received fellowships, according to Toigo. Many of the foundation’s alumni have wanted to pursue careers in the private equity world, but have not always found it easy to break in, said Nancy Sims, president of the Robert Toigo Foundation.

“The growing number of Toigo Fellows and Alumni focused on private equity balanced with the perceived barriers to entry sparked Toigo’s efforts to address the disparity,” Sims said.

The new Toigo Private Equity Fellowship will hopefully serve as a “catalyst within the private equity sector” by attracting top minority graduates, Sims said.

Students interested in applying to the fellowship can apply at the Toigo Foundation’s Web site. The deadline for submitting an application is December 11, 2009. Both Toigo and the Carlyle Group said they expect interest “to be strong” in the program.

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