The Best MBA Programs for Private Equity and Venture Capital

If you peruse the ‘our team’ sections of the top private equity and venture capital firms, you’ll notice a common theme – many of their more senior investment professionals have MBAs from top business schools. Not only does the MBA experience provide the technical and soft skills needed to succeed in PE or VC, it also provides access to successful alums in these industries and sets you up with a network of business leaders from whom you may source deals, fundraise, etc. in your future career.

Whether you already work in PE or VC and want to accelerate your career in the industry or have dreams of breaking into these coveted fields, you may be wondering which top MBA programs are most likely to enable these goals. As such, we’ve leveraged client feedback as well as dug into the employment data, curricular and extracurricular offerings of the top business schools and arrived at our ranking of the best MBA programs for private equity and venture capital.

Our Ranking of the Best MBA Programs for Private Equity and Venture Capital

#1 – Stanford Graduate School of Business

By a significant margin, the GSB sends the most graduates into post-MBA PE and VC jobs – 26% of its latest class. It offers a number of relevant electives like ‘Private Equity – An Overview of the Industry’ as well as hands on opportunities to invest in startups through the GSB Impact Fund. It has an active PE Club and VC Club, helping students build their networks in these industries and collaborate on career search activities.

#2 – Harvard Business School

HBS sent 22% of its latest graduating class to jobs in either PE or VC. Like the GSB, it offers a variety of relevant electives such as the overview course, ‘Private Equity and Venture Capital’. HBS has a relatively new Impact Investment Fund and an accompanying field course that allows students to practice assessing investments and presenting ideas to alums in the PE and VC industries. The VC&PE Club hosts a prominent conference each year, drawing well-known speakers and panelists.

#3 – Chicago Booth

While you may expect Wharton to round out the top 3 best MBA programs for private equity and venture capital, we would argue that Booth has the edge. In addition to sending 12% of graduates to these fields, it boasts a highly flexible curriculum that allows students to maximize the number of industry-relevant courses they take. Most notably, through the Polsky Center, students have direct access to prominent Investors-In-Residence, the option to partake in various case challenges to simulate investment decisions, and even an opportunity to intern in the industry with funding from the PE/VC lab.  

#4 – Wharton

Wharton’s PE and VC placement statistics support its reputation as a strong finance school, with 17% of the latest class heading to jobs in these industries. It offers a solid array of PE/VC focused courses and a Private Equity & Venture Capital Club that is one of the most active organizations on campus. Wharton’s expansive alumni base, including many in these coveted industries, offers strong networking opportunities for those looking to recruit for PE and VC.

#5 – Columbia Business School

CBS sends a solid 8% of graduates to post-MBA private equity and venture capital jobs and its NYC location can’t be beat for access to private equity firms, in particular. For those targeting the west coast, the Venture Capital Club hosts an annual West Coast Trek, providing access to networking opportunities with top firms located there. What truly sets CBS apart in terms of its PE/VC prowess are its Columbia Venture Fellows program, an application-only program that provides VC-relevant academic and experiential learning opportunities, and its Private Equity Program, the central point of contact at the business school for all things private equity-related.

#6 – Kellogg School of Management

Like Columbia, Kellogg sends 8% of graduates to PE and VC careers. It offers a ‘pathway’ (similar to a major) specifically devoted to private equity and venture capital, a rarity amongst peer schools, as well as the option to spend a quarter in San Francisco immersed in the VC landscape while taking relevant Kellogg courses.

#7 – MIT Sloan

Sloan reports that 9% of its most recent graduating class found jobs in private equity in venture capital. It offers the option to earn a ‘finance certificate’, which includes an Action Learning Course that can include real world experience with an external private equity or venture capital firm. Sloan has an active Venture Capital and Private Equity Club that hosts regular educational and networking events.  

#8 – Yale School of Management

Yale sent 4% of its most recent class to the private equity and venture capital industries. It offers a private equity focus area and boasts an impressive array of industry-relevant courses.  Last year was Yale SOM’s 20th annual Private Equity & Venture Capital Symposium, indicating the longevity of its focus on these sectors.

#9 – University of Texas McCombs

It may surprise you to learn that UT McCombs sends more graduates to PE and VC – 3% – than some of its more highly ranked peers (not that rankings are the end-all be-all, they most certainly are not!). However, with its proximity to the startup hotbed of Austin and robust offerings through the HMTF Center for Private Equity, these career paths are certainly a focus for McCombs. The program also boasts a selective two-semester Venture Fellows Program that allows students to intern with local PE and VC firms alongside their industry-focused curriculum.

#10 – UVA Darden

While Darden doesn’t specify the number of graduates entering PE and VC post-MBA, it does report that 25% of its latest class took jobs in the finance industry, which is greater than similarly ranked peer schools who did not make our top 10 best MBA programs for private equity and venture capital.  Through its Venture Capital Initiative, Darden offers a speaker series, focused course offering, and VC investment competition. Its annual Darden Private Equity Conference boasts an impressive lineup of speakers, many of them actively involved alums of the school.

If you’d like bespoke coaching to help you narrow down your list of target MBA programs and craft applications that stand out from the pack, click here to request an initial consultation.

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