Pre-MBA VCs +/- MBA: What is your path forward?

Rank: Baboon | 127

I'd be happy to hear from other pre-MBA VCs who decided to go to b-school or have gone, and what is their path forward (going back to a fund post MBA, joining a portfolio company, etc.)

Also, if you're a pre-MBA VC and decided not to go to b-school, I'd be happy to hear your perspective and path forward as well.

Comments (11)

 
7/31/12

Tough call, in a similar position as you and I'm gonna bump this a bit as I'd love to hear from people with more experience.

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8/2/12

I'm still an analyst but here is my tentative plan:
1) 2 years analyst VC
2) 2 year associate position in either VC or PE
3) MBA
4) Stay on the buy side as VP+ positions at certain firms finally start to give carried interest.

Like I said, I'm pretty young in the industry but I have a good number of family/friends in VC/PE that have done the following:

1) What my plan is

2) Depending on how talented you are -- I know a guy who graduated 1st in his class at a top 10 undergrad business school. Worked at Boston Consulting Group, then Bain, now VC. Never did an MBA but is constantly moving up the ranks. I've heard his mentality is that an MBA isn't worth the time currently.

3) If your not 1st in you class like most of us, I have a friend who did 3 years IB, then VC Associate program, unfortunately didn't get into top 3 MBA's so just decided to continue working his way up the latter. Mind you he had kids by this point and couldn't justify the opportunity cost.

4) A friend started out of undergrad in a start up, stayed there till his MBA. Jumped to a VC/consulting shop in the VC component post MBA, 2 years later moved into their consulting component for start up tech. Finally he has ended up at a family office as head of their investments.

5) A lot of guys jumped into MM PE funds or the M&A division of strategics similar to the VC they worked for. Ex: Heathcare VC Associate --> MBA --> UnitedHeath M&A

Hope those examples helped a little. Like I said, I'm still young in VC, these are friends/family experiences.

"If you want to succeed in this life, you need to understand that duty comes before rights and that responsibility precedes opportunity."

 
8/3/12
TheBigBambino:

I'm still an analyst but here is my tentative plan:
1) 2 years analyst VC
2) 2 year associate position in either VC or PE
3) MBA
4) Stay on the buy side as VP+ positions at certain firms finally start to give carried interest.

Like I said, I'm pretty young in the industry but I have a good number of family/friends in VC/PE that have done the following:

1) What my plan is

2) Depending on how talented you are -- I know a guy who graduated 1st in his class at a top 10 undergrad business school. Worked at Boston Consulting Group, then Bain, now VC. Never did an MBA but is constantly moving up the ranks. I've heard his mentality is that an MBA isn't worth the time currently.

3) If your not 1st in you class like most of us, I have a friend who did 3 years IB, then VC Associate program, unfortunately didn't get into top 3 MBA's so just decided to continue working his way up the latter. Mind you he had kids by this point and couldn't justify the opportunity cost.

4) A friend started out of undergrad in a start up, stayed there till his MBA. Jumped to a VC/consulting shop in the VC component post MBA, 2 years later moved into their consulting component for start up tech. Finally he has ended up at a family office as head of their investments.

5) A lot of guys jumped into MM PE funds or the M&A division of strategics similar to the VC they worked for. Ex: Heathcare VC Associate --> MBA --> UnitedHeath M&A

Hope those examples helped a little. Like I said, I'm still young in VC, these are friends/family experiences.

does doing an IB analyst stint give you an advantage for getting an analyst spot for VC, or is it just as easy to go straight from undergrad to VC?

 
8/7/12
idrankmalk:

does doing an IB analyst stint give you an advantage for getting an analyst spot for VC, or is it just as easy to go straight from undergrad to VC?

Yes it's easier. A banker will have more skills and if they covered a similar industry they will bring a network with them.

Getting in from out of college is very difficult but sometimes possible depending on the fund.

"If you want to succeed in this life, you need to understand that duty comes before rights and that responsibility precedes opportunity."

 
8/3/12

Obviously it's an advantage...who would you hire: undergrad student or 2 year IB analyst?

 
8/4/12

Great thread. I am an associate at a top European VC firm after a few years of strategy consultancy and will share my views. I will get carry starting next year. I haven't gone to business school and am not planning to. Interested in hearing other people's experiences as I'm also quite new to VC and haven't really found much information, not even here on WSO, on how careers develop in this field. That said, paths I've seen are:

  1. After a few years as an associate, co-found a startup or join one some time after founding to support the current management team and scale the business (these positions come with equity of course)
  2. After a few years as an analyst or associate, move on to another fund (mostly other VC, some growth equity, more rarely buyouts - banking exp pre VC seems to help here) or a family office (which can be incredibly great if you find the right place) for better 'title' and comp.
  3. Staying on. I know a few guys who've been at their funds through what would be the VC equivalent of analyst, associate and VP levels at banks, hoping to eventually make partner, yet can't really think of anyone (again my sample size is still quite small) who's done all this at just one firm.

Personally, I am interested in path 3 at this stage.

For those interested in getting in, it seems the best paths are interning during your undergrad and converting to FT, alternatively a few years in consultancy (should really be a top firm with relevant sector and functional expertise). I don't think IB gives you an ideal preparation for this job as this field is heavily emphasising qualitative aspects during diligence, and a mix of strategic and operational issues after an acquisition where previous consultancy experience may help a bit. That said, I know a few associates that have come out of IB, so still seems to be a viable route in.

 
8/4/12
 
10/14/12

Bump, would love to hear from more people in VC

 
7/24/13

Bump again, any pre-MBA's considering corporate development, product management / business development at a start-up, founding their own start-up? It's tough to make partner without leaving the VC world to gain some operational experience, although at the same time there have been some people that have done it...curious to get some other people's thoughts on this.

 
8/17/13
 
8/31/13

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