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Career paths - Klara Klarowicz of LDC

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Published: 30 Jun 2022

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Drive and determination has seen Klara Klarowicz make it to investment manager at LDC. Now she has big plans for the future, she tells Jo Russell.
Klara Klarowicz

What persuaded you to take up a career in finance?

I’m originally from Poland, but always wanted to study abroad to see what the world had to offer. So, in 2014, I came to the UK to study business and finance at Queen Mary University of London. I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial and financially independent: at 16 I had already started my own e-commerce business. I’m quite driven and always try to think ahead to achieve my next goal.

I did an internship at Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) after returning from my year abroad at University of Miami. During my time at WSE, I worked in a team that helped companies to IPO. The internship led to a part-time job in my third year at Loot, a challenger digital bank aimed at students. I worked as business operations executive in customer support and on financial crime prevention. It was really enjoyable as there were only 30 of us and I could see the impact of my actions.

On graduating, I wanted to further develop my corporate finance skills. I joined the Lloyds Banking Group graduate scheme, where I also had the chance to take the CFA qualification.

What did the graduate scheme entail?

The scheme appealed as it had four different placements across two years, giving great insight into different areas. My first placements were in financial institutions and real estate. That was followed by equity investments, arranging debt for equity swaps, which is where I had my first experience of private equity. My last placement was at LDC.

It’s incredibly competitive to secure a secondment at LDC, so while on placement I spent time networking and making it clear that I had an interest in working there.

I had one year on secondment, working on a variety of different investment opportunities, and then was offered a position and joined LDC as an associate in 2020.

What’s your role now?

I have now been at LDC for three years. I’m an investment manager and am involved in every aspect of a transaction, from financial modelling to strategic reviews and creating business plans.

On each transaction, we create individual teams, with an investment director and a partner alongside me. I write and present investment reports, participate in legal document reviews, tax structuring and scoping financial and commercial due diligence workstreams. I am also a board observer for our portfolio company, Boxpark.

A lot of the transactions I’ve worked on have been in the technology space, which really excites me. As we are such an active private equity house, I’ve already worked on five completed transactions and the past three years have been a steep learning curve. I really like the broad skill set required for this job, from the analytics needed in the office and strategic insights to the relationship-building elements when we’re meeting management teams and advisers.

Which deal stands out in your career so far?

Our investment and exit from Aker Systems, a company that builds and operates cloud-based data infrastructure for clients. During our 14-month partnership, we grew the business by more than 50%, increased R&D spend and hired more employees.

We exited our minority investment in September 2021. It was amazing to be involved through the whole private equity journey, from origination and execution to exiting, in a process that would usually take at least three years. The management team was growing the company quickly and we worked with them to provide an exit that was right for the business and its leadership.

What are your ambitions?

I’m passionate about increasing the representation of women and minorities in private equity, so it’s great to work for a firm that is committed to addressing diversity and inclusion, both in its own business and across its portfolio. I’ve seen huge changes since I joined.

I’m co-chair of the emerging talent committee and part of the mentorship programme at Level20, a not-for-profit organisation trying to tackle this issue. We host various workshops, networking events and role model sessions. I also lead LDC’s involvement with the organisation.

Finally, I want to get more transaction experience under my belt so that I can lead investment teams and negotiations in the future.