Final year student seeking for advice before graduating. (Sorry for the long text)
I am currently studying at the best hotel management university in the world in Switzerland. I know you're thinking this is an unusual background, but hear me out. The university is essentially a business school with a touch of hospitality. The reason I chose this uni is that it gives u a strong financial base, but also heavily touches on interpersonal, social and communication skills. Additionally what really motivated me was that there are two mandatory 7-month internship students must complet to complete their bachelor.
The first one I did was in a hospitality related startup. But it's the second one that really had an impact on me. I worked as an analyst for a PE and VC firm in Geneva (AUM >2bn). I worked on this early stage fund called investment partners where the CEO alongside others, invest in promising Swiss startups, that don't perfectly match the investment criteria of our other early stage funds. As such the ticket size was smaller than usual, we don't lead the investments and as a result the diligence wasn't as in depth as for some of our other funds. I worked alongside a senior associate and truly loved my time there, having screened over 50 startups. I truly loved preparing investment reports, attending meeting with founders and investors, monitoring our existing portfolio etc.
What I realized about working in VC is that it requires way more than simply having strong technical (modeling skills). It's about having a deep understanding of the market/industry behind the startup, and having a strong network within that industry . It's essentially learning to identify the most promising companies and the team behind them. Most companies we invested in were SaaS, which required a really strong technological understanding
I am now returning to university to complete my final year and am also evaluating the different options I have after graduating. I am certain that I would like to work in VC in the future. I have made it a point to myself to broaden my network in the private markets by attending numerous conferences and events. I will also be vp of the entrepreneur committee, where I will be organizing numerous events. My goal is to also gain knowledge in the most promising industries (tech: AI, big data, could computing etc. / but i am open to other industries such as energy, health, hospitality, etc.)
The reason I am writing here is because I am unsure of what to do once I graduate. I am between:
1) getting a masters in one of these industries.
2) founding/running in a startup (to gain industry knowledge) then getting an MBA (to widen my network)
3) work in banking (career startup program in either IB (unlikely) or AM)
4) Starting off my career in VC (have a contact with a VC In Dubai, for which I could likely start my career off)
The fourth option seems ideal but following a convo i had with our CIO, he claimed that it's a good option but that most people he's seen start off directly in VC have eventually been fired because they lack the technical knowledge (compared to those who did IB for instance) and also lack the network (compared to those with an MBA). IB seems like a great option but I know it will be difficult for me to land a position at a top 4 with my unusual background, and also considering that I don't have a summer internship in IB. additionally, I am still unsure as to whether sacrificing 2-5 years of my social life is the right move for me. Option 2 also seems good, but I can't guarantee I will have a special idea by then (either you get it or you don't)
Looking for advice from someone experienced in this field. What do you think are the best paths to break into VC and what are the most promising industries to specialize in?