Does post-MBA VC require pre-MBA VC experience?

Here's a hypothetical:

  • HYPS undergrad (engineering major)
  • 2 years MBB analyst
  • enrolled in HBS/GSB

Is it possible to get VC internships (specifically tech VCs) after 1st year of business school with these credentials? If so, which kind of firms? What about full-time? Thanks in advance.

Comments (4)

Jul 19, 2012

RO, let me turn your question into "Can I get into VC post MBA with no pre MBA VC experience":

The answer is Yes.

The answer to your original question would be "very rarely" and let me explain why:
- An internship is 3 months long, and VC is so different than anything anybody has ever done that the Summer Associates usually become ok/good towards the 9th or 10th week of the internship, then two weeks later they are gone. It is a big time-sink for us to train summer associates that have no prior VC experience. VC interns will typically have done pre-MBA VC.
- But that's not always true. Smaller funds, like Lux Capital, do take interns without pre-MBA experience.

Now, let me propose a plan for you:
- Get an internship at a VC-backed company
- Network with the VC while at the portfolio company over the summer
- If you're good and they have a spot, they'll happily consider you. I can tell you, we'd much rather hire someone we already know and have worked with, than hiring a headhunter and go through a process.

I was hired at my VC fund through a headhunter, and this has been true for at most 50-60% of Associates. The other 40-50% historically has come through connections.

Good luck, congrats on getting in these great programs, and let me know if you have any questions.

T.

Aei ho theos geometrei

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Aug 2, 2012

@Themistocles -

I did vc internship in my MBA then did Banking for a couple years at a bulge. Now I'm trying to get to VC. Would you suggest the same route of going to a vc backed company? Any other ideas on best to approach the transition?

And if it is a VC backed company, what type of role?

Thanks for the help.

Aug 18, 2012
monkeymath76:

@Themistocles -

I did vc internship in my MBA then did Banking for a couple years at a bulge. Now I'm trying to get to VC. Would you suggest the same route of going to a vc backed company? Any other ideas on best to approach the transition?

And if it is a VC backed company, what type of role?

Thanks for the help.

You would probably be working as the #2 biz dev guy if you go a portfolio company. But again, be ready to wear several hats (which is in my opinion, the most interesting aspect). I wouldn't recommend trying the close-to-impossible transition from post-MBA banking into post-MBA VC as you'll be expensive and will have not much more to bring to the table than a much cheaper pre-MBA analyst/associate out of a 2-year banking program. Going to a portfolio company + banking + b-school network will make you better rounded and more attractive. In any case, be ready for a pay cut regardless of where you go, it's the price to pay (on the short/medium term) to get to do what you really want to do. Finally, start by networking with the funds directly (use your b-school network). Your question should be: "how could I add value to one of your portfolio companies and which companies could use my skillset?"

Aei ho theos geometrei

Jan 18, 2014

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