Which route is best?

bcp2up's picture
Rank: Chimp | 8

So currently I am an undergrad at Wharton (will graduate next year) and still have the flexibility of choosing between a few different routes. If my ultimate goal is to work in tech VC which route do you think is most attractive?

  1. I-Banking followed by either MBA/CorpDev at a Tech firm
  2. Consulting followed by either MBA/CorpStrat at a Tech firm
  3. Corporate Strategy group or a business group strategy group (by this I mean like working in Microsoft's OSB Strategy team) at Google/Microsoft followed by MBA
United States - Northeast

Comments (15)

Jul 19, 2007

Ideally I think you would want to work at an IB in the SF area (and obviously, in TMT). I'm not very familiar with the VC space though, so this is really just my 2 cents.

Jul 19, 2007
  1. Work for a VC-backed startup firm (check out startup job websites) and then transition into VC
  2. Work for IB/MC, then work for VC-backed startup, then transition into VC

In my opinion route 5 is the safest. If you have both startup experience AND corporate experience from Wharton you should be a very strong candidate

Jul 19, 2007

I have a client of mine who's son graduated from Wharton (undergrad) and went into PE. He is doing extremly well and really likes what he is envolved in.

Your options will be great, take a look at all avenues. If it were me, I like the first option you listed. Stick that out, pick up the MBA and write your own ticket!

Jul 19, 2007

yeah, take I banking first...Consulting next.

doing banking out of undergrad is a great thing to have on your resume. also good when applying to MBA.

Jul 20, 2007

GS TMT/MS Tech M&A is a nice way in.

Working for a reputable startup is also a good way in.

M/B/B in the Bay area is another way in.

As you get on that partner track you may begin to realize how important operating experience is.

Jul 20, 2007

A great track would be:

Banking--->Stanford MBA--->Tech VC.

Jul 20, 2007

Do either I banking in TMT group or consulting and then get MBA. Go to a bunch of VC websites and you will see what the past experience of associates are. They are mainly in line with that track.

Aug 5, 2007

Alternatively... Start up (BD role) --> MBA (Stanford) --> Corp Dev in Public Valley Company --> VC firm associate.

VC firms aren't about spreadsheets & models (I haven't met a CFA in a VC firm yet, but did meet one pencil pusher in a valley IB firm the other day although he didn't understand the technology being discussed).

You will need a solid grasp of either building something (i.e. the technical side) or selling something (the marketing side).

The truly great VCs can do both. So perhaps Caltech / Stanford Engineering (or IIT Delhi) followed by an MBA.


Mar 7, 2009

Totally true, but all the partners at the fund I interned for had m&a at least for a year or two somewhere in their career. Keep in mind you still have to structure your debt correctly from the LP's, but understanding writing code for weeks on end not be weird is good. I've never meet a VC from Caltech though. Do m&a for a year or two and start your own company, go from there.

Aug 28, 2007

you're at penn; why not apply to insight, bessemer, summit, dfj, etc etc all the other vcs that recruit undergrads at penn?

Sep 22, 2007

do VCs ever take anyone with only 2 years of experience? If so, what would be better - IB or M/B/B?

Jun 6, 2008

so I'm just about to start an associate job, I worked for a few years in MC then a few years in corporate strategy at an F500 internet company. decided to defer my MBA 2 years to do try VC.

short of it is, I don't think there is any one set path, do whatever you like, just be passionate about technology/other sectors that are relevant.

Jun 7, 2008

You definitely have an awful lot of options if you want. My first step would be to first try and get hired directly by a VC, if that didn't work, I think IB would be a good second choice. Obviously as tech focused as possible, but the VC firm I know of personally generally only hires IB analyst with 2 years experience.

Good luck.

Jun 7, 2008

Being a product manager in an industry you are interested in is also a great way in.

Associates are wet-behind-the-ears and generally have no operating experience. Why the hell should an entrepreneur talk to you?

Mar 8, 2009