Anasthasia Shilov

Like many graduates who have bid adieu to the liberal arts for the sweet caress of finance, I now spend my time following all the hottest, coldest and most lukewarm mergers and aquisitions deals. Occasionally, I come across a transaction that reminds me of my erstwhile glory in the humanities.

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo is all set to acquire Instructure, best known for its Canvas learning management system, for over $2 billion, or $49 per share. Brian Jaffee, a Principal at Thoma Bravo, explained, “We’ve followed the impressive Instructure growth story for many years and believe Canvas is a highly unique vertical market SaaS leader with exciting scale and future growth potential.” Oh, Brian. I see you playing coy. Just admit what really made your heart flutter: the promise of full access to all my reading responses from my first year literature class.

I knew the day would come when the brightest minds in private equity would recognize my literary genius. Such as that time my class read Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” and I wrote, every letter dripping with nuance, that Emma’s affair with Rodolphe was “bad.” Or that time I became Shakespeare reincarnate, analyzing “Romeo and Juliet” verse by verse to conclude that the young lovers’ deaths were “kind of meaningless, but drinking poison sounds like a metal way to go out.” My most brilliant insight arrived on a chilly November evening while I was reading Homer. The assignment teased my neurons in charming sans serif font on my Canvas class page: “Prepare a 500-700 word response to the question: What is the role of the gods in ‘The Iliad’?” My blankets wrapped around me like a Greek toga, I leaned into my laptop and let the magic happen. “Their role was to be divine, because they are gods.” As Instructure’s new owner, Thoma Bravo can access my great ideas whenever they want.

Thoma Bravo can also read every Canvas announcement, from my hot TA’s “Someone left their notebook in the classroom. The name label says Shakespeare #2, except Shakespeare is spelled wrong?” to my hotter professor’s “Hi everyone, I’m a little disappointed in the quality of the reading responses I received last week on ‘Madame Bovary.’” Thoma Bravo can even open my Canvas dashboard to see my full course schedule that semester, which was carefully balanced to satisfy the intellectual appetite of a modern renaissance man; Introduction to Classic Literature, Rocks for Jocks, Introduction to Music Appreciation and Underwater Basket Weaving.

It just had to be Thoma Bravo to sweep up my reading responses, a leading firm with a 40-year history and over $30 billion of committed capital under their belt. After all, it only makes sense for an elite company to recognize a cosmopolitan literary connoisseur like first-year me. I can see Thoma Bravo’s investment professionals plastering my writing on the walls of their offices, so renewed and enlightened by my heavenly words that they type into their spreadsheets a little faster, and unzip their Patagonia vests in the heat of the moment. At the end of the day, $49 per share is more than a fair price to pay to partake in the workings of my beautiful mind.

Vicky Liu | vicky.liu@aya.yale.edu