HOW TO BEST PREPARE FOR THE ASESSMENT CENTER
The NCA Entrepreneur Selection process is extensive and competitive, taking 3-4 months from application until candidates reach the final step: the Assessment Center.
Are you looking to ace the Assessment Center and increase your chances of being accepted into the NCA ETA program? If so, below are some tips from Marine Hamou, NCA’s Executive Director of Talent Acquisition and HR, whose role is to ensure the right candidates are chosen and that they are as best prepared as possible for the NCA Assessment Center.
Right from the beginning, when submitting their ETA program application, candidates will be asked to describe and define their ideal target company, upload a CV, and upload an Investment Thesis. Describing the type of business you wish to acquire – including target industry/sectors – is an inherent part of your application to the program. This should be covered in detail in your thesis, which should be formatted as a slide deck of maximum 10 slides (excluding annex slides).
Your Investment Thesis is key to your selection process as it will be the basis of all your discussions with the NCA team.
INVESTMENT THESIS STRUCTURE
Your thesis should be formatted as a slide deck of maximum 10 slides (excl. annex). Feel free to define the format/structure of this deck, however we highly recommend including:
- A short background: Introduce yourself + key career highlights
- Search Focus: Geography, Market
- Search Focus: Industry/Sector (if several: specify primary, secondary)**
- Search Universe: Indicate how many companies meet your criteria (per industry/sector) along with NCA’s investment criteria (PRO TIP: read this article for more information on defining your “Universe” of search)
- Opportunities for growth/value creation upon acquisition (per industry/sector) (PRO TIP: read this article for more information on value creation)
- Any relevant additional information that will help convince the jury that:
- This is a solid industry for ETA (could include examples of transactions in the
- sector or industry)
- You are the right person to succeed in acquiring and creating value in this industry
**If you are looking at a very large sector, like healthcare in the US, you should prioritize which subsector you will focus on and why.
If you are looking at a very niche sector that our Jury might not be familiar with, be ready to answer questions on the operating model, EBITDA, etc.
If you are looking at several sectors, ensure you prioritize them in order of preference and relevance (remember that you will only buy 1 company- think about what your dream company to acquire would be!)
INTERVIEW WITH MARINE HAMOU, OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF TALENT ACQUISITION & HR
The first time candidates will speak in depth with Marine is in a 50-minute interview following the Orientation Call. PRO-TIP: Filter your “universe” of potential companies using the NCA investment criteria HERE, and be sure to share your materials before your call with Marine.
The first 15 minutes of the call with Marine will focus on your Investment Thesis, which should cover your industry/sectors, geographic focus, the number of potential companies you could consider (i.e. your search “universe”), and value creation opportunities. Marine’s questions and comments are meant to determine if NCA is the right ETA program partner for you and if your thesis fits with the NCA program.
The second part of the call will be a discussion about your career/experience, motivations, and readiness for embarking on an ETA journey with our program. Expect questions like:
- How is your experience, background, and network relevant to your investment thesis?
- How will your operational experience and previous success/failures enable you to create value upon acquisition?
After your first interview with Marine, we recommend updating your thesis deck considering Marine’s comments/feedback and adding in any additional information that was suggested.
INTERVIEW WITH NCA PARTNERS
If you are selected to move forward in our selection process, the next time you present your Investment Thesis will be during a call with one of NCA’s Partners.
At the start of the call, you will be given 10 minutes to present your revised thesis deck (max. 10 slides, excl. annex). It is important to ensure your pitch is clear and concise. You will also be expected to discuss your interest in the NCA program and explain how your experience, network, and vision are relevant to your search strategy.
This call is a great opportunity to gather feedback from one of our Partners to fine tune your thesis before the Assessment Center.
THE FINAL STEP: THE ASSESSMENT CENTER
If selected to move forward, the next time you will present your Investment Thesis will be during the NCA Assessment Center. This is a 50-minute, virtual video call (that will be recorded) with at least three external jurors – they could be investors, NCA Advisory Board members, current NCA Entrepreneurs, NCA CEOs, etc.
You will find out in advance who will be present at your Assessment Center and there will be NO introductions at the start of the meeting. We want to focus our time on your presentation. As soon as you join the call, be ready to share your screen and start your pitch using the slide deck you have revised and improved throughout the selection process. You will have precisely 15 minutes to make your pitch.
After the 15-minute presentation, Jurors will ask you a very broad range of questions. The goal is for Jurors to understand:
- Your motivations: Why do you want to pursue ETA instead of continuing a corporate career?
- Your focus: Are you really ready for this journey?
- Your passion: What about this sector inspires you?
- Your expertise: What kind of operational experience do you have in this sector?
- Your program fit: Is NCA the right program for you?
Jurors may ask you specific questions about:
- Your CV and LinkedIn profile (PRO TIP: ensure consistency across all of your documents)
- Your chosen market/industry/sectors
- The operating model, EBITDA, etc. if you are exploring a niche sector that our Jury might not be familiar with
- Your industry-relevant experience, leadership style, and operational experience
- Your local business network, as it pertains to the industry/sectors and geographic focus of your thesis
- Your understanding of the ETA program and why you chose NCA
Remember: We only accept candidates whom we believe have a high chance of success in our program. If you make it this far, it means we see alignment between you and our program and that you are amongst the very best candidates being considered… That also means you will be up against the very best- so please be prepared. Good luck!
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
Before the Assessment Center call begins, we advise you to remember to:
- Practice AND time your pitch; you will have exactly 15 minutes
- Be ready to share your screen
- Close non-essential programs/windows on your computer and turn off personal notifications
- Silence mobile phones
- Ensure you have appropriate lighting- we would like to see your face clearly
- Avoid backgrounds with pictures or logos; a blurred background is always best
- Ensure there is a reliable internet connection (and a back-up plan in case you have an issue with your primary connection)
NCA Entrepreneurs are being assessed and selected for our unique ETA program on a rolling basis.
To learn more about our Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition program, visit our website, and stay tuned for more updates as the NCA program continues to grow.