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Drake Leonard, a rising second year at Michigan – Ross, spent his Spring working alongside EIR Drew Chiles. In preparation for a future in search, Drake is spending his summer working with portfolio company Managing Partner Brian Corbat.

David “Drake” Leonard II

University of Michigan – Ross School of Business
MBA ’25

Can you describe your background and how it led to your pursuit of an internship at NGP?

I studied at the University of Virginia, where I received a B.A. and a M.S. in Commerce – Finance. After school, I took the opportunity to explore as many areas of business as possible, working across private banking, corporate strategy, technology, sales, operations, in addition to several entrepreneurial successful, but not always, pursuits. I focused my 20’s on knowledge acquisition over monetary payout and climbing the corporate ladder, in pursuit of building the skillset to become a CEO one day. After a short stint at Georgetown Law, a buddy of mine at Stanford GSB sent me the Stanford Search Primer. It when then that I came to the realization that there is no better path for me than pursuing Search, so I dropped out and applied to business school. Pursuing Search allows me to blend my unique and diversified experience and grants me the opportunity to become CEO as an operator of a PE-backed PortCo. I came across NGP early on during my time at Michigan and realized the firm had the perfect blend of culture and entrepreneurial spirit.

Can you tell us a bit about the work you’ve done so far, and any interesting learnings?

I spend much of the day to day on helping due diligence prospective companies, in addition to carrying out extensive financial modeling/market analysis of a company that my Searcher is currently under LOI for. I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking through how to operationalize a GTM sales process for the company post-acquisition as well.

What is your team dynamic like?

The team is very collaborative and helpful to one another. The team does not have adversarial tendencies, and I have found that everyone is willing to lend a helping hand, leaning on their previous work experiences.

What you have you most enjoyed thus far?

Given my background in sales and scaling GTM processes, I thoroughly enjoyed building lists of prospective companies/contacts to acquire, in addition to looking under the hood, assessing the financials and fundamentals, of the company currently under LOI.

Any skills you’ve gained or unique takeaways? Pre-existing skills you’re building upon?

I built on my existing prospecting skills, and really refined my ability to identify great companies with recurring revenue and low capex, in inherently robust and growing industries.

What stands out to you about NGP’s process that you’ve gotten to see first-hand?

NGP has a novel approach to identifying target companies in established industries that have recurring revenue and low Capex, in addition to ones that don’t currently have business succession plans in place. I appreciate the accelerator model; in that you have a back-end team to help not only with due diligence targets but also on creating roadmaps for operational improvements post-acquisition as well.

What do you envision yourself doing in the future, and how is interning with NGP building upon that?

I plan to be a serial entrepreneur, raising my Search fund, ideally through NGP, and successfully existing and/or learning from my failures to become a sounder entrepreneur/operator. NGP has afforded me the opportunity to reaffirm my decision to pursue Search and has made it clear that the accelerator model is the best option for me. I look forward to continuing to work with the firm this summer.

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