Your Questions Answered: VC the right path to MBA?

I get lots of questions from students who are thinking about an MBA, and people wonder what is the “right” path to get there. In truth, there are many paths, but here’s a case of a student who already had one option, and is wondering about another.

Q: I have an offer to work at a small early stage venture capital firm straight from undergrad. I am interested in working in VC long term and see this as a good opportunity to do so early on. I also want to go to business school in a few years. I was wondering whether this experience at the unknown VC or if having experience in a more well known IB/Consulting shop then possibly transitioning to VC is better positioning for business school.

A: Congratulations on the offer to work for an early-stage VC firm! You are lucky, not that many students get this opportunity, as you well know.

I sometimes tell people not to over-think the universe. I know that sounds woo-woo, but I think you have a great opportunity to work in a very exciting field. Because the firm is relatively small, you will have opportunity to see and work on things you wouldn’t be able to if you were to go to a big firm. You will have a chance to talk directly to clients, get to explore with them their innovative ideas, and add value to the process.

On the other hand, you *may* not be getting the kind of training you would get in a larger environment, such as a well-known investment bank or consulting firm. But, keep in mind a couple of things:

1. You have this VC offer and you don’t have an IB/consulting job
2. Business schools are looking for a people with a diversity of experiences and skills
3. You may be competing with your IB/consulting colleagues for the same spot in a business school class
4. MOST IMPORTANT: VC firms uniformly want people with VC experience. Check it out on VC job forums or elsewhere, so if that’s your long-term goal, then take advantage

You may find that you don’t even need to go to business school. I am here in the heart of Silicon Valley and I have met young VC analysts who feel like they aren’t sure whether spending 2 years and thousands of dollars to go to school to come back and compete for the position they would already have if they had stayed.

And then, to go back to my comment on over-thinking. Sometimes you have to experiment and see what works. You have your whole future ahead of you. How lucky is that?

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