Stanford looking to get into VC/start-up PE - Where should I intern this summer?

By next year, I will be a Stanford grad with an interdisciplinary engineering degree and a masters in management science. I'm interested in VC as a career, and I'm planning my summer internship this year. I also have strong prior entrepreneurial experience and am interning with a VC firm part-time during the school year.

My possible options for this summer are:

  1. McKinsey
  2. Google product management
  3. UBS IB
  4. Lehman sales and trading (with a plan to later move to IB)
  5. Work at a top-tier VC-funded startup in Silicon Valley

I don't have any offers yet, but I'm in for Round 1 or 2 for all of the options listed above.

If my goal is a career in VC, which should I choose? (Assuming I get all of them, which of course is a huge long-shot.)

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Comments (17)

Feb 10, 2007 - 8:52pm

McKinsey is in my book indisputably the most prestigious strat consulting firm out there. there are amazing exit ops and the 5 full-time analysts i know there are all hyps magna or summa cum laude. two of the guys i know have completed the analyst programme - one is now in technology (think yahoo, google...) and the other is doing pe.

corgi, its not exactly complicated to set up an internship program... recruiting is similar to full time, throw together one weeks training, staff the guys on projects and treat them as 1st years. we're talking about McKinsey here, not some mm bank or second tier boutique - i just don't see how they can get something so simple wrong. please elaborate on how their program it is 'not very good'. i usually give people a chance to justify their comments but the one you have just made (like countless others) is utter rubbish.

Feb 11, 2007 - 1:26pm

I had a couple buddies do the program last year and gave it so-so reviews. They ended up signing b/c it is McK after all, but EVERYONE I knew that went to Bain's summer program loved it. Quality internship programs are not simple. Use common sense.

The main point is that consulting is probably not the best route for VC these days, unless you are in a place that is doing a lot of tech work. Google product management or tech banking would be much better options.

"the 5 full-time analysts i know there are all hyps magna or summa cum laude"

The ones I know are indeed smarter than bankers, but they certainly aren't top of the class academically (though they tend to have good leadership in clubs and whatnot).

OP should apply to Lehman's VC program instead. It's a chill office, less hours than banking but same pay, AND you get to work in VC.

Bottom line about McK: Don't worry about either not getting or not choosing their internship program. You WILL get an interview for FT recruiting (where they do the VAST majority of hiring).

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Feb 11, 2007 - 1:12am

Go with UBS IB. Since you're in the Stanford area, it's likely that you'll be doing it in LA with Ken Moelis. That's certainly better than any of your other options

Feb 13, 2007 - 1:41am

Above poster is accurate in that (McK) it's a new program and they're still working on it. Bain's program is older, and therefore is much more structured.

Feb 20, 2007 - 1:54am

Number 4 seems like a gamble but if you're willing to take that risk, it could very well be the best thing that happened to you. Being a VC(early stage) is what I suppose that you're shooting for. I, myself, am shooting for the same goal. From my knowledge, it seems like the easiest path to becoming a VC is by running a startup. If you truly believe in the startup, it might very well be the next google or youtube and having that on your resume is going to open doors when you're the one going around pitching to raise money for your VC fund.

Google product management seems like a safe but highly rewarding bet. Increasing google's market share and creating market share in otherwise saturated markets or introducing new technology is something that will also stand out on your resume. It helps with your ability to see a good deal when you need to. I'm aware of your previous entrepreneurial experience but when you can say that you launched a product from negative $300,000 to over $50,000,000 in 3 years, that's something that gets the VC fund rolling.

IBanking/Consulting seems like the long way to Venture capital. Could be 3 years, could be 5 years, could be 10 years. But its also a safe long term bet. The downside is that you will probably earn $200,000 a year and then have to transition to VC where the starting salary is about $130,000 but that's plenty of money and more than I spend in a year so it may not be bad for you(if VC is truly your passion).

My question to you is why don't you take a full-time analyst or associate position with the firm that you're interning with or ask if there is an available position. Yes I understand that analyst/associate positions are hard to come by in the VC world but its worth a shot.

It is not about the title that you have, it is about how much money that you have.
Feb 20, 2007 - 1:55am

Stanford looking to get into VC/start-up PE - Where should I intern this summer? (Originally Posted: 02/10/2007)

(With apologies for the cross-post. I put this up in VC as well, but that board isn't as popular.)

By next year, I will be a Stanford grad with an interdisciplinary engineering degree and a masters in management science. I'm interested in VC as a career, and I'm planning my summer internship this year. I also have strong prior entrepreneurial experience and am interning with a VC firm part-time during the school year.

My possible options for this summer are:

  1. McKinsey
  2. Google product management
  3. UBS IB
  4. Lehman sales and trading (with a plan to later move to IB)
  5. Work at a top-tier-VC-funded startup in Silicon Valley

I don't have any offers yet, but I'm in for Round 1 or 2 for all of the options listed above.

If my goal is a career in VC, which should I choose? (Assuming I get all of them, which of course is a huge long-shot.)

Feb 20, 2007 - 1:57am

1.McKinsey

2.Google
UBS IB
Start-up

  1. Lehman S&T

You aren't going to learn VC skills in S&T. I reckon McKinsey would be the best bet by far. Not sure over the ranking of those in the middle.

Feb 20, 2007 - 2:01am

goog pm is highly desirable and gives you credibility. usually like some sort of operating experience. McKinsey could also give you a solid foundation for this type of work.

ib would help you out more with later stage and growth equity deals, if that's the type of work you are targeting. still wouldn't hurt, and good if you're doing that for their tech group.

startup is too vague. if it's very early stage but backed by big names, then it would be a good place to learn a little about the vc business over a few years. but an internship at early and late stage co's would probably not do you much good since you would presumably not be around long enough to experience vc interaction.

may also want to consider that many of the 'best' vcs have had considerable entreprenuerial or operating experience for several years or much longer. HBS or GSB also never hurts the resume and network for some of these opportunities. to start off in a partner track position after having only an internship as work experience is essentially unheard of, and probably doesn't give you much credibility or make you valuable to your firm or the portfolio companies you work with.

get a few years of solid experience and then make a run at a 2-3 year pre-mba associate role (or better if you can find one). vc is also a played out alternative investment, and the returns should continue to suck unless you are with the likes of seq cap, kp, dfj, nea, etc. but don't let me talk you out of it. go through a banking analyst program. or abandon all hope.

i've recruited these positions.

Feb 20, 2007 - 2:02am

Above post is pretty dead on.

The best school for VCs in training is SGSB.

Most of these places want people with operating experience. Some funds recruit former bankers/consultants.

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