Friday Factoid: Entering Venture Capital at Haas

Because of its proximity to Silicon Valley, the Haas School of Business at the University of California (UC)-Berkeley benefits from an entrepreneurial halo effect, and many applicants therefore consider it a good location from which to launch careers in venture capital and private equity. Nonetheless, of Haas’s Class of 2011, only 1.5% entered these fields. Regardless of the small numbers (and we should note that this is relatively consistent with levels at many of Haas’s peer schools), opportunities abound at Haas for students who are targeting this field, via the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. One unique opportunity for a small number of students is the Haas New Venture Fellows Program, which offers three to five first-year students and one to two second-year students the opportunity to perform actual project work for local venture capital firms for academic credit. Students in this highly selective program have completed projects with such firms as Bessemer Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures. The New Venture Fellows also participate in the program’s Pitch Lab, in which budding entrepreneurs from within the UC-Berkeley community can practice their pitches for feedback and advice. In addition, the program organizes events to facilitate networking between its fellows and practicing venture capitalists in the area. Although entering the venture capital world right out of business school can be quite challenging, attending a school that can get you in the door certainly helps.

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