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Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Program

Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Program

Booth ETA Overview

Chicago Booth Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA) is supported by the Svider Private Equity Program and is comprised of a suite of programs and resources designed to provide graduating students and alumni access to the education, capital, mentorship, and resources necessary to acquire and grow small businesses.

These offerings include: a credit-bearing course on the ETA process; an annual conference on ETA co-hosted with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University; a first-of-its kind Investor Summit, where carefully-screened search fund entrepreneurs present to top investors from across the nation; an active student group focused on ETA; access to seasoned advisors and mentors; and a robust network of alumni pursuing careers in ETA.


Steven Kaplan

Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance, Chicago Booth

Steven conducts research on issues in private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance. He has published papers in a number of academic and business journals and testified to the US Senate Finance Committee and the US House Financial Services Committee about his research. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics. At Chicago Booth, Steven teaches advanced MBA and executive courses in entrepreneurial finance and private equity, corporate financial management, corporate governance, and wealth management. BusinessWeek named him one of the top 12 business school teachers in the country. He serves on the board or advisory board of Accretive Health, Columbia Acorn Funds, Morningstar, Sandbox Industries, the Illinois Venture Capital Association, and the Kauffman Fellows Program. Steven received an AB from Harvard College and a PhD from Harvard University.


Brian O’Connor, MBA ’08

Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth

Brian serves as an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth, where he co-teaches a course on Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition. Previously, he was co-CEO and head of business development of Innflux, a hospitality-focused IT services company, which was sold in 2014 to Thing5, a portfolio company of private equity firm TZP Group. Prior to acquiring Innflux through a search fund, Brian was a vice president with Equity International, a middle-market growth private equity fund. He was responsible for sourcing, evaluating, underwriting, and closing new investment opportunities, as well as working closely with portfolio companies post-acquisition on operations and business strategy.

Brian holds an MBA from Chicago Booth with concentrations in entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, and international business. He is also a graduate of Miami University (Ohio) with a double major in finance and management information systems.


Mark Agnew, MBA ’06

Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth

Mark is currently the President of Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria. The Company currently employs more than 2,700 people and operates 42 company owned locations throughout the Chicagoland area along with an eCommerce company Tastes of Chicago. Lou Malnati’s has been ranked in the top ten large employer workplaces five years in a row by the Chicago Tribune. Mark is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, teaching the class “Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition”.

Prior to joining Lou Malnati’s in 2011, Mark spent five years as a Vice President at Dixon Midland Company, a Chicago-based private investment firm. In his role at Dixon Midland, Mark helped source platform and add-on investments as well as provide hands-on operational duties at portfolio companies. Before Dixon Midland, Mark was a private equity Associate at Glencoe Capital specializing in basic industries and an investment banking Analyst at Deutsche Bank with an emphasis on leveraged finance and M&A.

Mark has a BS from Cornell University and an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago. Mark resides in Winnetka with his wife Carolyn, and their four children Molly, Elinor, James and Henry.