A Perspective on Venture Capital
This blog post was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Luke Martiros ’21.
What two words do you think of when you hear about the venture capital industry? Silicon Valley. There is a sexy and almost mysterious connotation to that place and the industry as a whole. Working with the most innovative, driven people attempting to disrupt the status quo through business is fun. And having interned at a venture firm, while not in the valley, it lived up to expectations. And it didn’t.
Venture capital is not a field that many undergraduates choose to pursue as a career immediately out of college. I think this can be attributed to several reasons, including limited opportunities for entry-level positions, lack of awareness about the industry, and a base of financial knowledge that, as some perceive, can only be attained by pursuing fields like investment banking or private equity first. While all these reasons are valid, none of them represent a reason why a prospective intern should shy away. There are over one thousand venture capital firms in the United States alone, so plenty of opportunities exist if you make the effort to take advantage of them.
Where can you start? Look through Babson’s alumni directory, talk to professors, and reach out to firms to see if they have positions available. Even if they don’t have an open position, they might be willing to create one for you if they see the value that you will bring. In regards to the lack of awareness issue and the need for prior experience, they are intertwined. There is a lack of awareness about the industry because there is so much pressure to pursue a career in investment banking or private equity first. When students feel that pressure, they are nudged to look into one industry rather than the other. Those who do enjoy fields like IB or PE should go forth with that passion, but those who do not, should not feel obligated to put themselves through years of unhappiness. There are alternative ways to reach your goals.
If you are able to secure a VC internship, here are some insights into the life of an intern. At an entry-level position, your time will be focused on a variety of things. Some of these include researching how to raise more money for the firm, performing diligence on prospective companies, creating marketing material, and many other tasks. What makes the field of venture capital unique, however, is not so much what you do. It is the people. Whether it be a founder or an investor, your colleagues are intellectual and idiosyncratic people. Surrounding yourself with these types of people is fun and you learn a lot. All of this being said, if you enjoy a stimulating work environment, I would look into the field!