What Are VC Firm’s Efforts To Connect Firms In Their Portfolio With Fresh MBA Grads?

Question: How would you describe VC firm’s efforts to connect firms in their portfolio with fresh MBA grads? Typical? Rare? Never? Im just curious because here in Philadelphia, First Round Capital is posting a lot of job offers for firms in its portfolio on their website, and I’m not seeing any other Philly VC firms doing this (at the moment). Im an MBA applicant at this point, and Im trying to size up my (realistic) career goals via an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management or some similar track.

This varies dramatically by firm and by school. Some venture firms do a good job of having dynamically updated job boards on their websites that list all open jobs by portfolio company. Some examples are us (Foundry Group), Union Square Ventures, First Round Capital (as you indicated), and Spark Capital. These job listings tend to be by company, role, and location – not by educational background.

Some firms actively engage with the nearby MBA programs through their entrepreneurship programs. This is especially true of places like MIT and Stanford, but equally likely at schools like University of Colorado and University of Michigan. While a lot of this is locally driven, some of this is alumni oriented (for example, see the trip that my partner Jason Mendelson and I made recently to University of Michigan, where’s he’s an alum.)

While I think MBA Entrepreneurship programs are fine, the bigger opportunity is to spend two years at business school actively engaging in the entrepreneurial community around the school you are going to. One of the big mistakes a lot of MBA students make is that they hang out at their business school waiting for all the entrepreneurial opportunities to come to them. The industrious (and entrepreneurial) students go out into the community and find the interesting stuff that’s actually going on.

I’d encourage you to ask the question directly to the school you are applying to. They should be in recruiting mode (for you as a student) and should be clear and effective about talking about entrepreneurial opportunities for you if you go through their program.

  • Matt

    Greatly appreciate the prompt and informative response. Thank you.

  • I agree with the theme of this post, and suggest that the focus of the question may have been misplaced.  There’s no reason for a VC extend efforts to connect their portfolio companies with any category of person based upon their status in that category (e.g., fresh MBA, JD, CFA, etc).  You have to build value in yourself and your communities to attract the VC.  I think that’s the author’s point is suggesting that you be industrious and get involved.  Don’t expect people or opportunities to come to you.  Especially straight of of some theory-based program.  Show applicable skills and drive by taking the initiative.

  • I’m a current MBA student at Vanderbilt, and we’ve got a great support network for entrepreneurs in Nashville.  The biggest contribution is alumni-funded scholarships, ranging from $15k-25k, for students to invest in their business, instead of taking a traditional internship at an i-bank or consulting firm.  

    Last year’s scholarship winners are gaining some nice traction:

    Winks by Georgie is a line of eco-friendly beauty products with distribution through Neiman Marcus and HSN. http://www.georgiebeauty.com/winks.html

    RentStuff.com is in the P2P rental space (the “Airbnb of EVERYTHING”).  They’ve already launched in Nashville, and they’re expanding to Atlanta and New York City very soon.

    This year, we expect as many as 9 students to receiving funding for their own ideas, not to mention the various other students working with students on independent studies and in-school internships.