Why pursue MBA if you won't break into said industry anyway?

liquiditys's picture
Rank: Monkey | 38

So after doing some research, it sounds like it's understood that if you didn't have prior experience in a specialized finance industry like PE/VC you're probably not going to get in unless you were in IB or Consulting.

Which leads to my question, if you weren't in IB or Consulting which MBA can perhaps help get you into PE/VC/Hedge Funds, why do others want to get an MBA if it's nearly impossible to break in?

another unrelated question which "search" didn't really answer, how many years at say a big4 is generally needed to get into a m7 mba program? Someone said only like 2% of a class is from accounting- is this because accountants don't get in or they don't want to get in. So let's say I decide to go easy route of big4 --> m7 mba... where would i and the other non-bankers/consultants most likely land since PE/VC run in their own circles?

Comments (3)

Jul 4, 2008

Keep in mind that PE/VC funds have a headcount that is like an hour glass - most are either at the top or bottom (and smaller funds may simply be top heavy), with very few people in the middle ranks.

In other words, it's the kids in their 20s working for partners in their mid-40s/50s. At most funds there isn't a direct route from analyst/associate (or whatever the fund wants to call the bottom rung) to partner. At most funds, you'll see a lot more pre-MBA junior folks than post-MBA folks - simply because the job responsibilities are very similar, and they'd rather take the pre-MBA guy/gal (they're younger, cheaper, willing to work harder, and have less expectations about "career progression in the firm" because they're doing it for a 1-2 years before heading back to b-school or doing something else).

I really don't understand what the fuss is over PE or VC. The fun and the big payday (and the risk, mind you) is at the partner level, and you're not going to become a partner unless you have decades of industry experience, you were a successful entrepreneur (i.e. not one who started a mom 'n pop, but someone who sold his/her company for at least eight figures), or you are married or born into a well-connected family. Yes, there are the lucky few kids who worked his way up, but the vast majority didn't spend their entire career in PE before becoming partner.

As the partner, your job is not only to do deals, but to raise money, and you need connections to be able to go hat in hand and ask for hundreds of millions (or billions) for your fund.

In the PE/VC world, brains are cheap, and connections/relationships are expensive. There's tons of smart plebians/geniuses they can hire (like yourself perhaps), but there's relatively fewer folks who have access to the boardrooms and "where money/power congregates" in an "off the record" context. Call it supply/demand - they can replace one HYP or M7 MBA with another HYP or M7 MBA and it won't impact the fund one bit.

You don't have to be dating Bush's daughters, Al Gore's nephew, godchild of Rupert Murdoch, etc. but it helps to have access to those circles (i.e. being the son of a state governor, son/daughter of a prominent PE partner, etc.).

in any case, what most non-IB/MC folks do is they go to b-school in the hopes of landing an IB/MC job, which they then hope to parlay into a PE/VC job. And then they will try to jump from one fund to the next at the associate/principal level in the hopes of becoming partner, or eventually find something else altogether (i.e. they join a fund that blows up, and they use that opportunity to find something else to do).

In short, there are big-4 accountants at all the top b-schools, although they tend to be less represented at H/S/W than the others.

Alex Chu

Jul 4, 2008

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Jul 4, 2008
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