VC Analyst -> ?


Recently got an offer from a firm with a strong reputation, and I'm wondering... while it seems like the VC Analyst position itself is a very sweet one, what kind of exit opps does an analyst in VC have after two years?

Do they pursue MBAs?
Do they go on to other VC firms?

Are there other options? I think the career is a great one, but I'm also worried about locking myself in a niche...

Comments (19)

Nov 6, 2009 - 10:15pm

First of all, congrats on the offer! It's very hard to get into VC's pre-MBA, so kudos to you for being able to do that. In terms of exit ops, the three main ones are:
1) get an MBA
2) join/found a startup
3) go into a corp dev role at a tech company
4) stay in VC

The first is by far the most common path. After a few years as a VC analyst, you should be well positioned to get into b-school, and then you'll have a ton of opportunities.
You could also join a startup. I know some ex-analysts who go on to either create or become an early employee at one of their firm's portfolio companies. You should only do this if you really believe in a particular startup.
The third option is to do corp dev at a tech company. Pretty self-explanatory.
And finally, you can try staying in VC. This basically requires getting an MBA, though, because non-MBA's are generally not put on the partner track.

As for your last question, yes, in some ways, you will be locking yourself in a niche. You can't transition easily to other finance careers like PE or HF's. You'll be limited to the domain of technology/entrepreneurship. But that's a very broad domain, and within that, there are tons of options. So ask yourself what you want to do 10 years down the line. Even if you don't know exactly what it is yet, do you think it will have something to do with tech? If so, the VC analyst role is a great start.

Nov 6, 2009 - 10:49pm

Thanks - it's a very competitive process, and I count myself fortunate.

I'm actually curious about path 1: Are two years in a VC firm (whatever the rep) typically good enough to get you into a top 3 or top 5 b-school?

I know the b-school process can't be reduced to so few variables, but I'm curious if you have data points.

Thanks for framing your thoughts well on the niche question. As a techy guy, I am pretty sure that I do want a career in the long run to be linked in some way to technology.

Nov 7, 2009 - 11:36am

EWS pretty much summed it up perfectly. One thing I might add to that list of exit opportunities is the "growth" PE firms. It would be tough to ever pull down a buyout firm, but growth equity shops would be an option considering some of their investments were once VC funded.

Nov 7, 2009 - 5:30pm

I think being a VC analyst gives a lot of clout when applying to b-school, simply because it's so rare and unique. This is especially the case for schools on the west coast. From personal experience, I can say for sure that Stanford GSB LOVES people with VC experience.

The downside is that you're not going to have a lot of internal support when applying. Consulting firms, for example, provide tons of resources to analysts applying to b-school, including application coaches, interview prep, etc. You won't get any of that at a VC, so you have to be very proactive. And of course, you probably won't be able to get your MBA sponsored. But just in terms of getting in, working at a VC's a very solid job.

Nov 17, 2009 - 1:40am

just wondering if you could please give us some tips on how you were able to land an offer. also, could you also go into your background a bit more and how you felt that entering the VC world was the best fit for you. thanks!

Nov 19, 2009 - 10:23pm

just wondering if you could please give us some tips on how you were able to land an offer. also, could you also go into your background a bit more and how you felt that entering the VC world was the best fit for you. thanks!

Actually, while I was always aware of VC, and it always seemed the perfect match for someone interested in understanding technology and business, VC didn't seem like it might be an option out of college, so I frankly didn't have a "strategy" for pursuing the position.

I was fortunate enough to go to a good school (HYPSM) and simply worked to build a record that spoke for itself. My academic background and work experience are both technical in nature, but my extracurricular pursuits highlighted initiative and leadership more broadly.

When recruiting season came along, my school was among the few where the firm recruited. My odds were never exceptional, but I gave it my best and, thanks in no small part to luck, got the job.

In general, I think it's a bad idea to construct a four year plan for college that revolves around the tiny chance of getting into VC. It's smarter to try to highlight the best of yourself, and then pursue a broad range of opportunities.

if the analyst role is a sourcing one (meaning lots of cold calling) with little exposure to operations/modeling, then the optimism regarding top-MBA admissions might be misplaced

Thanks for that note. My understanding is that the position will involve both sourcing and analysis.

Nov 20, 2009 - 11:42am

People have made lists of sourcing shops before, but given that they seem to be in the majority, can we create a list of shops where sourcing is not the primary role of the associate?

The first one that comes to mind (with an East Coast presence) is New Enterprise Associates. Any others?

I also found the description of one from Glocap. Which firm is this describing?
One of the oldest venture capital and growth equity firms based in the US, with AUM over $5B. The firm has invested in hundreds of companies in the IT, life sciences and clean tech sectors, and has offices worldwide.

This global firm is seeking Pre-MBA Associates to join its East Coast office. Associates will work on small teams with senior professionals on all phases of the investment process, in a generalist capacity, on both early stage and growth stage opportunities. Unlike many other similar positions in VC and Growth Equity, this is not a deal sourcing role. Specific responsibilities include:

Nov 20, 2009 - 12:12pm

Yes, I've never heard of a non-sourcing analyst role either (straight out of undergrad). But a significant proportion of pre-mba associate roles at VC firms seem to also be sourcing, from what I've seen, so I'd be interested to hear about ones that are not.

Nov 20, 2009 - 8:47pm

There are VC funds, usually smaller, that recruit Pre-MBA Analysts for non-sourcing roles. I know because I've interviewed for two of them, both primarily focused on healthcare/life sciences. Its rare but it does happen. Typically the size of these funds is $200-$500 MM. Does anyone know if Bessemer Analysts source deals or is it an analysis role ?

Nov 21, 2009 - 1:09am

Bessemer is very clear about their analyst responsibilities as primarily sourcing. Sarah Tavel has talked about it on her blog before. To be honest, any of the larger, more well-known funds (that actually have pre-MBA associate positions) seem to offer mainly sourcing jobs, with the exception of NEA. I'd love to be proved wrong, though.

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