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#120 Breaking into Venture Capital (as an MBA)

“There are a lot of different ways to get in. The tried and true method is people who have done venture capital before. A lot of folks have investment banking or management consulting backgrounds. Venture firms are very different as well. You have to look at the background of the partners and what the firm is focused on… But I would say, those backgrounds – former investor, banking, consulting, or former operational experience that could have relevance to the VC firm – those are the most common routes.”

What do MBA applicants need to know about MBA careers in venture capital?

Darren invites his friend Garrett to share his experience, both as an MBA student looking to break into venture capital and as an interviewer for Hewlett Packard Ventures.

Garret has worked in venture capital and related jobs in San Francisco for 7 years – don’t miss his hard-earned insights into the industry!

This is Part 3 of our MBA Career Series. Looking for more career-related podcasts? Click here.


  • Garrett’s background (4:50 )
  • What do venture capitalists do? (9:56)
  • What work background & experience are venture capital (VC) firms looking for? (17:00)
  • The importance of networking to break into the industry (20:39 )
  • How helpful are business school reputations and rankings in recruiting (23:40)
  • Common entry points into VC as an MBA? (25:34)
  • The (lack of a) recruiting process in VC (26:10)
  • How VC’s and startups perceive MBAs (28:50)
  • Interviewing with VCs – what you need to know (32:21)
  • Traits of successful VCs (35:38)
  • Best part of job? Worst part of job? (38:12)
  • Venture capital opportunities for international MBAs in US (44:42)?
  • Garrett’s recommended resources (48:47)
  • Garrett’s final thoughts on succeeding in venture capital (50:07)
  • Business school geography and venture capital (52:46)

About Our Guest

After graduating from UCLA with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Garrett Wong worked 3 years as an investment banker at Wachovia and UBS, and then 2 years as a corporate development associate at Cisco, where he evaluated venture capital investments in clean tech and technology. After getting his MBA from Wharton, Garrett worked in a number of PE, VC and product management roles before joining Hewlett Packard Ventures.

Episode Sponsor

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