Urgent!! VC in Zambia or PE in London?

I'm based in London and will be graduating at the end of the year with an MSc from a British target. I just received an offer for a 6 month internship at a VC/GE fund in Zambia. The internship is unpaid but I get free housing/car/fuel/phone/health insurance.

I am also interviewing with a London-based LMM PE fund and I'm 65% sure to get an internship there too.

I wasn't successful with IBD SAs, and my plan is to apply to OC starting in January 2022 at BB/EBs in London.

Taking into account both short term and medium term benefits, which option would you choose? VC in Zambia definitely adds an international dimension to one's CV, but London PE is London PE. I like the guys in both firms.

IB guys, would you prefer a candidate with a more "original" internship or a more "standard" one in good ol' industrials-focused PE?

@Pan European Monkey @French Hardo ?

Comments (15)

Jan 11, 2021 - 11:05pm

Outside of recruiting tho I feel like there is a lot of value gained (life exp/ maturity/ global perspective) from living and working in a really underdeveloped country so it could be really cool gig for an internship 

Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB - Ind
Jan 11, 2021 - 12:33pm

Definitely go with London PE, though sounds like you don't have an offer in hand yet so focus on winning the offer first before weighing decisions. Zambia VC will be discounted as it will probably looked as some kind of family connection nepotism role and won't really be seen as valuable experience. And really how much VC is going on there? International aspect might be more relevant and appreciable if at another financial hub i.e. HK/SG/NYC/SYD.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 11, 2021 - 1:08pm

To respond to your question, VC in Sub-Saharan Africa is very different from VC in the developed world with regard to investments, since the projects they back are way more "traditional" (agriculture, timber, quarry, construction) even though we see some financial firms emerge: for instance, some businesses buy accounts receivable at a discount. The seller gets cash immediately and the buyer makes a profit. Basically VC funds kinda act like banks, as the financial system is dysfunctional.

Will definitely double down on London PE though in that case, thanks.

Jan 11, 2021 - 1:50pm

I'll push back on the characterization of VC on the African continent, it isn't really "traditional industries". Much like it is in the west, there is a strong focus on tech-enabled businesses, mainly fintech, logistics, and healthcare. The issue is that the vast majority of deals come from Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa. Zambia doesn't even chart on a list of top markets. In addition, most VCs in the market are investing at the seed stage, where there isn't much data conducive to modeling - a skill employers would highly value when recruiting for IB. The second thing is that pretty much everybody in VC in Africa is a first-time fund manager, so there is a LOT of dart-throwing, few people in the space have proper investing backgrounds or technical knowledge.

TLDR: LMM PE in London is the way to go, the Zambia gig won't do much for you.

Jan 11, 2021 - 6:19pm

If you are targeting BB/EBs, Id try to stick with that LMM PE

1) You show commitment to the geography (sometimes you may be asked why London and not XXX...)

2) Work is more related, and you will have a better training for your next gig

3) UK/EU PE is a good thing to show on your CV even if its not a large fund

4) Industrials is a plain sector (unless you get placed in a niche vertical), which will help you to understand EBITDA driven businesses

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 11, 2021 - 6:40pm

Africa is a second tier continent. Take London 

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