Which MBA programs should I target for a career in PE/VC?

Will be at a mid-tier BB out of undergrad in a strong coverage group and plan to recruit for PE after analyst stint. I'm thinking about getting an MBA at some point for a couple reasons, but unsure where to draw the line where the cost overweighs the benefits. For context, my reasons for wanting an MBA go beyond career (2 year break from work, social, personal). 

If I get into HBS/GSB then I have no doubt that I would attend. Wharton would probably fall in that category as well. I'm curious how other programs fare (Columbia, MIT Sloan, Booth, Yale) for PE? Assuming I am able to get a decent PE offer after banking (strong MM/UMM), which MBA programs would help me continue my career trajectory? For example, I don't want to leave a UMM fund for MBA and only be limited to LMM funds after MBA

Anyone know which MBA programs (outside of the obvious HBS/GSB) have the best PE recruiting (targeting UMM/MF)? 

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Comments (13)

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  • Business School in IB - Restr
May 23, 2021 - 10:12pm

Are you targeting nyc? Overall, there's a big drop off after HSW for UMM/MF, but I've seen some people from CBS at UMM/MF in nyc. Booth / Kellogg are good for Chicago MM and MM PE in other cities in the Midwest/South. I've seen people from Booth/Kellogg place into UMM, but it's mostly people returning to their pre-MBA fund. Tuck is also a good option if you want to stay in the NE, but probably more MM placement vs UMM/MF. I'm honestly not too sure about Sloan/SOM

  • Intern in IB - Ind
May 24, 2021 - 12:16am

Thanks for this. NYC would be my top choice, but pretty flexible on that. More interested in fund size/strength than location. CBS is definitely on the radar, I'm assuming some advantages due to location. How much of a drop off would you say is between HBS/GSB and Wharton? Would Wharton give you the same opps?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
May 24, 2021 - 10:02am

Brother went to Wharton MBA. Opps are slightly worse than H/S (moreso Stanford than Harvard tbh), but if you have the right background you should still be able to land an offer. The prior PE experience you have is far more important than the school. The kid who went to even a school like Tuck but came from KKR is going to fare far better than the kid who has no PE experience but went to HBS. Drop off between Wharton and the rest of the m7 is noticeably larger than the dropoff between H/S and W.  Harvard sends around 18% of its class to PE/, Wharton sends around 14%, Booth (the next best school) sends around 5%. Take that for what you will

  • Intern in IB - Ind
May 24, 2021 - 12:14pm

Agreed, best case scenario I'm in a position to directly promote or have the option to go back to the same fund after MBA. Do you have any insight on CBS and Sloan from a PE perspective? 

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  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
May 24, 2021 - 12:32pm

Not really, I would say Columbia has been known in the hedge fund world given the value investing program, but less so in PE. From recollection I think I've seen some post MBA PE people on team pages in MM PE, not so much at larger funds. I don't think I've ever seen anyone from Sloan, though I'm sure there is some rare case out there

  • Principal in PE - LBOs
May 25, 2021 - 4:17pm

There's no real difference between CBS, Booth, and Kellogg (don't know about Sloan because there's just a lot fewer people in PE from there, but people won't look down on the school). At that point just go to the school you like best (in terms of culture, curriculum, location, etc.). Wharton is a step ahead if you want to stay in MF/UMM PE, but probably not a huge difference if you're looking for MM/LMM. 

May 25, 2021 - 9:30am

Your Pre MBA experience will be the biggest determinant of your options out of MBA. If you were at a MF or UMM fund pre-MBA and go to any M7 school, you'll be able to get a food in the door at most places.

If you're really shooting for top UMM/MF positions post-MBA then HSW give you a leg up. Otherwise the rest of the M7 place pretty well, but mainly into more MM shops, and somewhat regionally. With that said, there's a couple of kids each year from M7 schools that end up at top shops, again, the options are more limited, but particularly at the more finance oriented schools(Booth/Columbia) there's a handful of alums who will pull for you if you have the right background.

I used to hold the common misconception that unless you went to HSW, getting back into PE was nearly impossible post-MBA. That's really not the case, M7/T10 is ok, but you need experience prior to b-school. Honestly, even if you went to HSW, if you don't have PE experience prior, it's rare that you'd outplace someone from Columbia that had significant prior experience.

I'd be the most focused on being thoughtful on where you end up Pre-MBA as that will be a big factor both in post-MBA ops as well as where you ultimately go for your MBA. Last piece of advice, start the MBA prep early. That means test scores, thinking about your story, ECs if you need those, I ended up going to B-School pretty last minute, but was able to do so because I had everything lined up nicely.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
May 30, 2021 - 4:17pm

In similar shoes to you. Based on my own research, Booth and Kellogg both do fairly well in PE recruiting and are actively trying to attract more PE folks to their school. Saying that, Kellogg and Booth are mainly represented in Chicago, and the Midwest. Booth probably does a little better in NYC PE recruiting and Kellogg is better at Southern PE recruiting. If you are set on MF/UMM in NYC or LA it is probably H/W/S or bust though. I have seen a few people leave Booth for UMM shops in NYC but not many

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