MBA Venture Capitalists

Cornell’s Johnson School’s student venture capital fund, Big Red Ventures (BRV), took first place in a Venture Capital Investment Case Competition in February. Today the Johnson School team progresses to the next round of competition, held in New York. MIT, Columbia, and Harvard are also represented at the event.

Johnson’s fund provides incubation and seed capital, (typically between $50,000 and $200,000), to selected businesses and over its lifetime, the fund will invest up to $10,000,000. The fund managers are second year MBA students at the Johnson School. Johnson’s BRV is but one example of how MBA programs are helping students break into the competitive Venture Capital industry, as well as supporting entrepreneurship.

Wharton also has a number of interesting programs aimed at cultivating entrepreneurship. The Small Business Development Center offers consulting services to Philadelphia-area entrepreneurs and small business owners. MBA students are employed by the SBDC as senior consultants. The Venture Initiation Program (VIP) provides MBA students with the entrepreneurial management education, support, and facilities essential to start successful new businesses. The program walks students through the process of kicking off their venture and raising capital. There are some truly interesting concepts being supported by the program.

UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business has a venture capital program called Venture Fellows. The Venture Fellows mission is “to provide future business leaders with a unique learning opportunity through firsthand experience working with venture capital firms and through a curriculum focused on the venture capital community.” It’s a unique program that helps students break into a challenging industry.

Berkeley’s Haas School of Business has a program called New Venture Fellows. This is group of Haas MBA students who receive hands-on experience in venture capital by working for Bay Area venture capital firms. The group develops relationships with VC firms, agrees on projects to undertake, and delivers results directly to the venture capital firm. The group also maintains a network of UC Berkeley alumni working in the venture capital industry.

If you have entrepreneurial aspirations, or you are interested in investing in others as a VC, take heart. Business school may very well be the right place to help you launch your journey.

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