Wednesday, February 20, 2008

questions from an applicant interested in VC

I thought this question from a prospective student interested in VC would be helpful to the audience, so I am reposting here.

...From what I gather, VC recruiting is heavily based on networking. Are there any opportunities to work with VC firms through course work or projects? Do VC firms actually try to recruit MBA graduates or is it pretty much a one-way traffic that relies on contacts? Does Lang Center offer any help to obtain a job in VC? Realistically, how many students get an offer in this industry?...

My response:

There are opportunities through coursework to meet VCs. It's fairly one way in my experience - you reach out to them and try to get them interested in sponsoring you for a project, internship, etc. There are very few that post opportunities publicly.

Be prepared to work very hard in building a strong network both in the VC and entrepreneur communities. Ideally, you want to develop one or two areas of market expertise, find unfunded companies in those spaces that have potential, and use this as a pitch when you talk to VCs. If you really want to do VC, I would recommend starting all of this NOW - before going to school. You might even consider lining up a VC internship in the months prior to starting school, to give you a head start.

The Lang Center won't directly help you get a job in VC but it will give you the chance to work with startup companies, develop your own business plan, etc. The entrepreneurship resources at the school are great.

I know this sounds like a lot of work - and it is - you'll be busting your butt a lot harder than your classmates who are able to leverage on campus recruiting (banking, consulting, etc).

Anyways, I hope this helps. Keep looking at the blog, I have numerous posts tagged 'venture capital' that are relevant. And if you have questions, please feel free to let me know, or better yet, post them on my blog so the commnuity benefits.


Sandeep said...


I chanced upong your blog while searching online for queries on columbia. I am applying to columbia for the 2008 mba.

I was hoping to get some more information on columbia and was wondering if you could help me out? Could you please share any notable courses on entrepreneurship, general management, strategy, or at Columbia, and are there any must take courses?

Could you also throw some light on the entrepreneurship initiatives at Columbia and also about the Lange center?

Based on your experience, what is distinctive about the Columbia MBA experience and which schools did you choose Columbia over?

Thank you very much for any help you can give me on these topics.


John said...

Wow - that is alot of questions! :)

Some notable courses: Venture Capital Seminar (Ellman & Porteous), Economics of Strategic Behavior (Greenwald), Media M&A (Knee), Top Management Processes (Biggadike), Modern Political Economy (Horton), Innovate or Die (Harris), Security Analysis (Mauboissin)

I have made a ton of postings about Lang Center and entrepreneurship - take a look at the posts tagged as entrepreneurship and you'll find some helpful stuff.

Distinctiveness is a hard one to call out - after all, I have only attended CBS :) My advice would be to get to know as many students as you can at a variety of schools and then come to your own conclusions.

Sandeep said...

Hello John,
Thanks a lot for the immediate reply, I will take a look at your postings on Lang Center and entrepreneurship. Once again thanks a lot for the info.