Batter Up: Teaching Private Equity on the Baseball Field!

In the fall of 2019, St Ben’s and St John’s introduced a new course: Introduction to Private Equity Investments. The course was quite successful in its initial offering (no pun intended for you finance types) and attracted a lot of student attention. When it was offered again in the fall of 2020, over 40 students registered for the course, making it one of the most popular electives on campus.

A particularly attractive aspect of the course is its outdoor venue. In 2020, due to COVID and social distancing limitations, the course was moved to the St John’s baseball stadium, named Becker Park, after generous contributions from Scott Becker, SJU class of 1977. Although these limitations were lifted in 2021, the venue was so popular that the course remained there in the fall of 2021. All five evenings were beautiful, and students enjoyed learning about private equity under the stars and lights.

group at the park

Students, instructors, guests, and Angie’s Boomchickapop Popcorn!

While current faculty facilitated the course, the primary instructors were the aforementioned Scott Becker, and Cary Musech, SJU class of 1980. Scott and Cary went on to very successful careers in private equity after their time at Saint John’s and are noteworthy “guest speakers”, but they would bring other guests with them to class. One evening, those guests included Angie and Dan (SJU 1990) Bastian, founders of Angie’s Boomchickapop popcorn, along with Dan’s brother Greg (SJU 1994), who was the chief financial officer of Angie’s.

Angie, Dan, and Greg shared their incredible story of entrepreneurship, which was enhanced through partnership with private equity investors. The students thoroughly enjoyed listening to their tales and asking questions while munching on, you guessed it, Angie’s Boomchickapop popcorn.

Scott and Cary are working on another slate of speakers for the course’s next offering in the fall of 2022. Here is to hoping for great weather and another exceptional line-up (of speakers) on the baseball field!