Most of my classmates seem to understand that getting a junior venture capital job (pre-principal level) is pretty tough. But just how competitive is it to get a VC job or internship? I’ve seen some more qualitative information from sources such as the Vault Guide to Venture Capital stating that for any posted job opening, you can expect 200 to 300 applicants from all the top MBA programs. While I believe those stats, I was curious to see if I could find any actual quantitative data on just how competitive the VC job application process is. So I started poking around a bit…
A classmate of mine recently pointed out that Bessemer Venture Partners, one of the oldest and most prestigious venture capital firms, is hiring a new analyst. If you had to guess, how many resumes do you think they’ll receive for this one open position? Six hundred and fifty you say? If prior history is any indicator, you’re spot on.
On her blog, Sarah Tavel (a Sr. Associate with Bessemer Venture Partners) shares some fascinating metrics on pre-MBA VC hiring. She provides the following data on the hiring funnel:
- 650+ resumes submitted
- 42 first-round interviews (~6%)
- Seven second-round interviews (17% of the 42)
- One offer (14% of the seven, but 0.15% of resumes submitted!)
Wow. Those are some wild stats.
As an additional data point, I can also share some credible quantitative metrics for an unpaid during-the-school-year VC internship here in New York. I do know that for one internship opening (with a top firm) that was only posted to a select few networks, they received more than 100 applications (resume plus a brief write-up on why you want to do it and why you’re qualified). Of the 100+ applications, they conducted first round interviews with about ten people (<10% of applicants). Of those ten people, they conducted second round interviews with just two people (20% of first round interviewees, <2% of total applicants) and extended an offer to one person (10% of first round interviewees, 50% of second round interviewees, and less than 1% of all applicants).
While the numbers look daunting (in fact, they are), I would bet that only 1/2 to 1/3 (perhaps even fewer) of the applicants actually fit the ‘profile’ that VC firms seem to look for (tech, entrepreneurship/start-ups, right schools, perhaps top consulting firms and/or banks, etc). If you have the majority of those check marks, I would expect that you actually have a decent shot of at least being considered for the first round interview (once your foot is in the door, it’s yours to lose from there). My observations have also led to my belief that most positions in VC are never even publicly open, but rather when venture capital firms do decide to hire a junior VC, it’s done through personal networks, recommendations from trusted people in the industry, and/or recruiting firms (I know several junior VCs who found jobs this way).
So the takeaway is yes, it’s tough, very tough. However, if you truly want it, and have done/are doing the right things to get there (particularly networking within the industry), the odds are not insurmountable. Good luck!