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Education has evolved from a single-teacher: single-student focused skill-transfer endeavour to one where the same knowledge is imparted to almost all learners irrespective of their abilities, desires, and dreams. Education was considered the responsibility of the head of the family or the local teacher whose livelihood often depended on the donations from the society/parents. Today, educating the next generation is a responsibility shared between the parents, teachers, and the government. While transitioning to this world of shared responsibility, there has been a systematic reduction in clarity on the sharing of the responsibility for funding the ecosystem. Some developed nations such as Sweden, Switzerland and Finland with significant tax rates have free education systems. On the other hand, developing nations often find themselves unable to collect sufficient taxes to enable a well-funded education ecosystem and private education providers in such nations usually face significant social and policy hurdles to developing self-sustaining institutions. With this as backdrop, some questions that come up are: how can government and private enterprise collaborate to develop education systems from the perspective of nation building? How suitable are various sources of funding for various aspects of sector’s development? Who should fund innovation and who should fund the commercialization of new products and services across various segments? What value can smart capital add to the ecosystem?

Huge gap between public spend on Education in Developed and Developing countries
Source: FT.com & World Bank Data, 2013


  • With increasing number of students at every level of education, the challenges of funding and the pressures upon finances have been steadily growing. Add the global economic crisis and continuing economic instability and the challenges are clear. Education forms at least part of the solution to current economic issues, so reducing provision is simply not an option. Innovative funding mechanisms will need to be found to sustain and develop education. To date, education has been funded in a range of ways, including governments, private organisations and through PPP models. What funding models will prevail in the future?
  • Does education hold the potential of being an alternate asset class when compared with the total market cap of education versus global education spend and when contrasted against healthcare and other sectors?

  • Will the quality of returns ever be of the same level as expected from other sectors such as technology, health, energy, etc? Should the returns be measured only on an IRR basis?

  • What role can enterprises and governments play in funding the capital gap through smart and relevant capital?

Moderator - Amit Sevak


Amit Sevak

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer
INTI Education Group


Brief Bio:

Amit is currently the Chief Executive Officer for Laureate Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore and also the Chief Executive Officer for INTI Education Group. Prior to these roles, Amit served as the Chief Operating Officer of University of Technology of Mexico (UNITEC) which is one of the Laureate’s largest and most successful private institutions.

Prior to joining Laureate, Amit was Vice President of DeVry University in Chicago. Before that, he held positions with Siebel Systems, Bain & Company, as well as several years of teaching and research in the US and in Asia. Amit has a B.A. in Economics & Sociology from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Panelist - Claudia Zeisberger


Claudia Zeisberger

Senior Affiliate Professor of Decision Sciences and Entrepreneurship & Family Enterprise
Academic Director
Global Private Equity Initiative (GPEI) INSEAD


Brief Bio:

Claudia Zeisberger is an INSEAD Affiliate Professor of Decision Sciences and Entrepreneurship & Family Enterprise and Academic Director of INSEAD’s Global Private Equity Initiative (GPEI), one of INSEAD’s centers of excellence. She initiated the launch of GPEI in 2008 to focus INSEAD’s existing achievements in Private Equity, increase its visibility and cater to specific industry needs in research and education.

At INSEAD, she teaches in the MBA and EMBA programme as well as in multiple Executive Education programmes both in Singapore & in Fontainebleau. (Private Equity; Corporate Turnarounds; Hedge Funds & Risk Management). She has been nominated repeatedly for the Best Teaching Award in her PE elective and received the “Dean’s Commendation for Excellence in MBA Teaching” for the last five years running.

Throughout her 20 years in Asia, she has worked with clients in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan & the Middle East in the areas of Integrated Risk Management, Structured Products, Private Wealth Management & Portfolio Construction. She continues to advise selected financial institutions, family offices and regulators from Asia & the Middle East, focusing on Market Dynamics, Risk Management and Alternative Investment related issues.

Claudia has lived and worked in more than ten countries and continues to teach throughout Asia. She brings to her teaching solid insights into the best practices of the global financial markets through her time in Derivatives trading, structuring and institutional sales, working for international financial institutions (Deutsche Bank, Berisford Capital Markets Group (BCMG) and Dresdner Bank) in New York, London, Frankfurt, Tokyo & Singapore.


She is a founding committee member of the Financial Women’s Association (FWA) in Singapore. Her hobbies include martial arts and she is a passionate Polo Player.

Research interest:
  • Private Equity - GP/ LP relationships
  • PE in Emerging Markets
  • The intricacies of Corporate Turnaround/Restructuring situations
  • Trading simulation & Game theory
  • Risk Management focussed on extreme market movements and liquidity

Panelist - Jens Yahya Zimmermann


Jens Yahya Zimmermann

Managing Partner
New Silk Route, Dubai


Brief Bio:

Jens joined New Silk Route in September 2007 and focuses on private equity opportunities across the Middle East and Asia out of the Dubai office.

Jens has two decades of Private Equity experience and a track record of building successful businesses internationally. After working for Booz, Allen & Hamilton's acquisition services team in the early 90's, he joined a pioneer buyout group in Germany in 1995, before co-founding HGU Hamburg Private Equity AG in 1998. Since 2004, Jens has been working in Private Equity in South Asia and the Middle East. He has led over 40 Private Equity investments, served on over 20 boards and founded several companies in the US, Europe and Asia.

Jens holds a MBA degree from the Harvard Business School, from where he graduated in 1995. He is a founding member of the Harvard Business School alumni organization in Germany and a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

Panelist - Leslie Loh


Stephan Solomon

Managing Director
Red Dot Ventures


Brief Bio:

Leslie is a serial entrepreneur and technology venture investor. Mr Loh founded his first technology startup almost immediately after his graduation and led the one-man outfit to a publicly listed global enterprise until it was acquired in 2006. Since then, Mr Loh has been actively involved in investing and nurturing high-tech startups in Singapore and the region.

Mr Loh was selected the winner of the 1998 ASME Rotary Entrepreneur of the Year in Singapore. In 1999, Mr Loh received the National Youth Award (Individual) for his success as an entrepreneur. In 2006, Leslie was awarded the "Person of The Year" IT Leader Award by the Singapore Computer Society.

Panelist - Pankaj Makkar


Pankaj Makkar

Managing Director
Bertelsmann India


Brief Bio:

Pankaj Makkar is currently the Managing Director of Bertelsmann India Corporate Centre. He led the setup of the Corporate Centre in 2011 and has been active in helping define and execute the growth strategy for Bertelsmann and its divisions in India. He currently runs the Bertelsmann India Investment fund, which is Bertelsmann strategic investment vehicle investing in venture and growth opportunities in Media, Education, Digital and BPO sectors.

Pankaj sits on the board of various companies such as Authorgen Technologies, Big RTL Broadcast and Bertelsmann India Corporate Services.

Pankaj joined Bertelsmann Inc. in 2009 in the company’s Bertelsmann Entrepreneur’s program. As part of the program, Pankaj initially worked on projects including Random House (US), ZD group on their education initiatives.

Pankaj worked from 2003 to 2007 with the Malaysian conglomerate – The Usaha Tegas Group and helped the group invest in various sectors in India and South East Asia. Working with various top executives of the group, he led key investment projects in the Television, Radio, TV Distribution, Internet, Telecom and Real Estate sectors for the group’s divisions including Astro All Asian Networks, Maxis Communications, Measat Satellite Systems, Powertek and UT Real Estate.

Pankaj holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in Commerce (Hons.) from Delhi University. He is also a member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and has spent around 3 years (2000-2003) in audit, accounting and consulting assignments for his family firm SSA India for Indian and International clients.

Panelist - Salah-Eddine Kandri


Salah-Eddine Kandri

Global Head of Education
International Finance Corporation


Brief Bio:

Salah-Eddine Kandri is currently the Global Education Head leading IFC’s Education practice globally since April 2014. Prior to that, Salah-Eddine was the Manager for Consumer Services (which includes the Education Sector) for four years covering Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa regions (EMENA) based in Dubai.

Salah-Eddine joined IFC in 2006 as a Senior Investment Officer in Washington, DC and moved to Dubai in 2009 to lead IFC’s program in the Health and Education sectors in the Arab region. Since early 2010, Salah-Eddine spearheaded the Education for Employment (E4E) Initiative for Arab youth and was co-lead for the development of IFC and IsDB’s report ‘Education for Employment: realizing Arab youth potential’ which was launched in April 2011.

Prior to IFC, Salah-Eddine spent six years at the Islamic Development Bank Group in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in charge of the Infrastructure and ICT private sector division. Earlier in his career, he worked for three years at the Central Bank of Morocco focusing on sovereign debt and the development of the local capital markets. Salah-Eddine is a Fulbright Scholar and holds an MBA and an MSc. in Finance from the University of Maryland College Park as well as an undergrad degree in Chemical Engineering from Ecole Nationale de l’Industrie Minerale, Rabat, Morocco.


Knowledge Partners



About Kaizen

We are a private equity firm focused on investing with a distinct focus on companies and entrepreneurs who have the potential to lead their domains. Our purpose is operations driven transformative growth, which defines whom we partner with and how we operate.


As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to change lives and to transform organizations. These core values have enabled INSEAD to truly become "The Business School for the World."

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