Navigating the enigmatic world of VC recruiting is difficult. The path can feel lonely, uncertain, and painstakingly long. One of the main difficulties is feeling a lack of control. Often, there is no interview script to follow, no set timeline for when a fund will follow up with you, and no clearly defined next steps in the hiring process. Naturally, you will likely need help to identify and obtain your optimal post-MBA investing role.
Okay, that got heavy quickly, such is life! Ready for some good news? You have an entire community of individuals dedicated to and capable of guiding you along the recruiting journey. This article will highlight how to effectively leverage Career Services and your fellow Boothies through the VC recruiting process.
Leveraging Career Services
Obtain 1-1 Support
Meet with a Career Coach! These are members of the Career Services team who can help you with personal branding and communications planning, job search strategy, interview prep, resume review, effective time management, and more! The earlier you engage a Coach the better positioned they will be to help you successfully obtain a role that aligns your passions with your professional skillset. As you progress from recruiting for internships to full-time positions, it will be helpful to have a professional sounding board to re-center your focus and efforts.
Find Online Resources
There are a number of resources provided by Career Services to help you prepare for interviews, internships, and full-time roles. The Career Services resources page provides everything from industry and functional overviews to best practices for establishing a brand through your resume, LinkedIn, and networking. GTS, Booth’s recruiting portal, is another helpful platform for sourcing internships and full-time roles. There is also A-Z Resources that lists a myriad of opportunities we have free access to as Booth students: examples include Pitchbook and Prequin, which can be used to identify fund metrics like AUM and dry powder, background on GPs, raise status, and general industry coverage.
Pro tips: Update your resume in GTS so that it can be shared with applicable funds. You can update your resume on GTS by following this path: GTS > My Profile > Summary. Also, set up a search agent on GTS so that you can be notified when a role within your interest area is posted. Career services recommends applying for roles within three days of posting to ensure your candidacy is considered.
Get Comfortable with Cold Outreach
You will find yourself sending cold emails to General Partners, asking to connect. Response times vary from a few hours to never…lol. One thing is for sure, however, you never know exactly what the GP will feel like discussing. If you have ever recruited for consulting, the whole ‘driving the conversation’ practice will come in handy here! The best way to prepare for these conversations is to have a goal. Do you want to highlight your subject matter expertise because you are making an industry pivot? Are you looking to learn more about the fund to assess fit/culture? Are you seeking an internship offer? Career services can help you develop an outreach plan, prepare for interviews, and provide guidance on the best way to remain engaged after the call.
Produce Quality Deliverables
Most VC internships and full-time roles expect applicants to have some VC experience. Basic expectations are that you can source deals, lead diligence calls, conduct market research, develop an investment memo, and build an investment thesis. By networking with fellow Boothies, you can gain access to external resources to help you build an investment skillset, and identify benchmarks to assess the quality of your work compared to peers.
Connect with Investors and Founders
You may have heard people say that in venture capital your network is everything. For some context, our networks have helped us to obtain interviews and internships with funds not actively recruiting at Booth. Networks are also a great way to learn about cultural fit, which is paramount given the investment team size at most funds. Your fellow Boothies can also help you to build a deal pipeline, which is extremely useful when sourcing companies that fit within the often narrow parameters of VC funds.
Pro tip: Having 1-1 conversations with student founders, first-time founders, and peers who have been founders in the past can help you to identify the most value-adding skills in your personal investor skillset. Each time you connect with a founder, try to add value in some capacity: from an introduction to a potential hire, to market sizing support, to sharing their alpha or beta product with early customers.
Build a Personal Advisory Board
Unstructured recruiting can leave you unsure about how to optimize your time. The culture of interning for free or completing full investment memos for interviews and other assessments can leave you feeling productive but unfocused. A personal advisory board of peers, Booth alum, and Career Services staffers can help you to refine your recruitment strategies and build your confidence.
Pro tip: Over time, your board should expand to include new VC mentors, founders, and others who are integrated into different VC ecosystems. These individuals can provide valuable industry insight and non-public job opportunities.
Ultimately, Booth will provide you with the tools needed to strengthen your investment skillset and add value to founders. Our hope in writing this article is that you efficiently take advantage of the resources made available through the MBA program at Chicago Booth.