PE/VC is now the most represented industry at HBS

Venture Capital and Private Equity has surpassed Consulting as the top industry experience at HBS class of 2017, accounting for 17% of incoming students.

For the first time ever, Harvard Business School is enrolling more students with backgrounds in venture capital and private equity than those in consulting or any other field. For this fall's incoming group of MBA students, 17% of the entire class–or 166 out of the 940 first years–will hail from VC and PE firms versus just 16% from consulting, down two percentage points from last year. That's an even more significant decline in consulting types from the Class of 2012 when incoming students with consulting backgrounds accounted for 22% of the class.

Despite its continuing decline at HBS, consulting is still the top industry experience at other top schools like Wharton (23%), Chicago (20%), Northwestern (25%), and Berkeley (24%). After reading the class of 2017 profile at HBS and other top schools , here are couple of my observations:

  • HBS accepted someone with a 510 GMAT??? What kind of experience does that guy have?
  • U.S. business schools, even top schools like HBS or Stanford, are not that international. Harvard's percentage of international student is only 34%. That means 2/3 of the class is still U.S. citizens.
  • The percentage of students from different regions (Asia, Europe…) remain mostly unchanged year over year, which means the application process is more of a diversity game than a meritocracy game.
  • Contradictory to popular beliefs, adcoms actually favor candidates with business backgrounds, with business being the top major at HBS (45%), Chicago (55%), Kellogg (48%), Berkeley (49%), and NYU (45%).
  • Given how popular/desirable PE/VC is as a post-MBA destination, why would these PE/VC candidates apply to b-schools in the first place?


Comments (15)

Sep 2, 2015 - 4:48pm

I'll answer regarding the PE component as I know quite a few guys who have done that track. Many PE firms basically require an MBA from a top program to move up the ranks into a PE career track role. A lot of those people from PE entering into HBS will go back into PE afterwards. There is some selection bias too - a lot of folks in PE have excellent resumes, are more likely to go to HBS, are more likely to be able to get strong PE jobs, etc. You can infer for yourself how this affects stats, recruiting, etc. within top schools.

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  • Anonymous Monkey
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Sep 2, 2015 - 7:05pm

I had the same thought re: the prevalence of business majors in MBA programs; it's self-selection more than anything else (kids who did business in college are more likely to go into careers that feed into MBA programs).

Sep 2, 2015 - 7:23pm

Just to play devil's advocate here, plenty of students study Econ (which is not business) and enter consulting/banking/highly regarded fields. In fact, Penn is the only Ivy League with the true business undergraduate program. Other non-ivy top schools like Stanford, MIT, Chicago, Cal Tech only have Econ or Management Science. So as a result, I believe that not many students enter consulting or banking with a business degree.

Totally agree with the self-selection aspect but I think this is also an intentional effort of HBS adcoms to trim number of consultants/ increase number of PE/VC guys for an unknown reason.

Sep 2, 2015 - 10:14pm

Come in with PE/VC experience, exit to banking. At least they get to say they went to hhaaaaaaaaaavvvvaaaaarrrdd.

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
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Sep 6, 2015 - 2:44pm

Esuric: Come in with PE/VC experience, exit to banking. At least they get to say they went to hhaaaaaaaaaavvvvaaaaarrrdd.

at least they don't have to do accounting

I get why you're so angry. You thought that being an investment banking analyst would bring prestige and that it would finally get you some pussy. Instead, you're doing bitch, intern work for effectively $15/hour, 80 hours a week, and the chicks that you hit on have never heard of your tiny, shit bank. On your time off from pitch-book, whole-punching "work," your trolling forums on alternative accounts, hiding your identity, like a giant pussy.

You should apply to the Big 4. Has a lot of name recognition and does well with the ladies. A lot of beautiful girls in audit/tax trying to break into advisory/consulting. My group is very competitive though. We frequently gets apps from former/current IB analysts and they don't usually make it too far. Seem to struggle with the technicals.

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
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