LBS or Sofaer MBA? Or others?


Hi Duncan,

Appreciate your guidance here. I am looking to study an MBA to support a transition to venture capital. I am considering London Business School but have always wanted to spend more time in Israel, and thought the Sofaer MBA program at Tel Aviv University could be good.

Am I best to go for the London Business School one as it is a higher ranked? Which MBA's do you recommend for a career in VC? I have 5 years experience in tech policy and regulation.

Hi Duncan,

Appreciate your guidance here. I am looking to study an MBA to support a transition to venture capital. I am considering London Business School but have always wanted to spend more time in Israel, and thought the Sofaer MBA program at Tel Aviv University could be good.

Am I best to go for the London Business School one as it is a higher ranked? Which MBA's do you recommend for a career in VC? I have 5 years experience in tech policy and regulation.
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Duncan

I don't understand why you think this is a realistic outcome for you from an MBA. Has your prior experience been mostly in the UK or Israel? 

I don't understand why you think this is a realistic outcome for you from an MBA. Has your prior experience been mostly in the UK or Israel? 
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Thanks Duncan. Yes my experience is in the U.K. what would be your advise for acquiring a career in VC? Would going to a consultancy be better than applying for an MBA?

Thanks Duncan. Yes my experience is in the U.K. what would be your advise for acquiring a career in VC? Would going to a consultancy be better than applying for an MBA?
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Duncan

So, there are things you almost certainly already know. Unlike private equity, VC is smaller, more male, older, more Oxbridge field. Also unlike PE, the sort of structured assessment and valuation methods you might learn at a business school are often confounded and turned on their heads by expert VCs. It's relatively less open to diversity. Your public sector experience is not as interesting to them, generally, as a more traditional finance or consulting background where you could have a more valuable network.  

There is a considerable range of (often non-profit) initiatives targeting or ostensibly aiding the VC world. You would be more credible there. In terms of jobs filled by open competition, these might be more plentiful than actual VC jobs. 

The TAU MBAs are not comparable to LBS. While there are very different programmes, they are all shallow, newer, less diverse, and cannot approach LBS's range of electives (unparalleled in EMEA) or network power. There are many reasons to work in Israel, but the low salaries, chaotically informal processes, and argumentative, confrontational business environment can exhaust outsiders, not only foreign-born Jews but even Israelis with different backgrounds to a VC's leadership team. 

So, there are things you almost certainly already know. Unlike private equity, VC is smaller, more male, older, more Oxbridge field. Also unlike PE, the sort of structured assessment and valuation methods you might learn at a business school are often confounded and turned on their heads by expert VCs. It's relatively less open to diversity. Your public sector experience is not as interesting to them, generally, as a more traditional finance or consulting background where you could have a more valuable network.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>There is a considerable range of (often non-profit) initiatives targeting or ostensibly aiding the VC world. You would be more credible there. In terms of jobs filled by open competition, these might be more plentiful than actual VC jobs.&nbsp;<br><br>The TAU MBAs are not comparable to LBS. While there are very different programmes, they are all shallow, newer, less diverse, and cannot approach LBS's range of electives (unparalleled in EMEA) or network power. There are many reasons to work in Israel, but the low salaries, chaotically informal processes, and argumentative, confrontational business environment can exhaust outsiders, not only foreign-born Jews but even Israelis with different backgrounds to a VC's leadership team.&nbsp;
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aslamo

Echoing what Duncan has already said, VC is almost like a closed shop, a lot will depend  on your ability to network to develop relationships and boost your chances of entering the field. So few VC firms have senior women on board, diversity is a real problem. You only need to look at the published statistics to see the pitifully low the proportion of VC funding that goes to anyone other than white male founders. You might want to target the growing number of VCs that are specifically targeting the diverse founder universe.

Consider whether now is even a good time to enter VC. Lots of funds are sitting on some significant losses after the sharp fall in tech startup valuations this year.

[Edited by aslamo on Dec 24, 2022]

Echoing what Duncan has already said, VC is almost like a closed shop, a lot will depend&nbsp; on your ability to network to develop relationships and boost your chances of entering the field. So few VC firms have senior women on board, diversity is a real problem. You only need to look at the published statistics to see the pitifully low the proportion of VC funding that goes to anyone other than white male founders. You might want to target the growing number of VCs that are specifically targeting the diverse founder universe.<br><br>Consider whether now is even a good time to enter VC. Lots of funds are sitting on some significant losses after the sharp fall in tech startup valuations this year.
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Thank you both - appreciate your honesty and advice. I have networks that I have been working on to make a move, but it still does feel like a closed shop. I think trying to get a role in consulting where I can get some more practical experience with the deal process might be a better move than pushing for an immediate VC position.

A lot of people in VC have MBA’s but I suppose practical experience in deals outweighs an MBA. It’s been good to talk this through! Thank you 

Thank you both - appreciate your honesty and advice. I have networks that I have been working on to make a move, but it still does feel like a closed shop. I think trying to get a role in consulting where I can get some more practical experience with the deal process might be a better move than pushing for an immediate VC position.<br><br>A lot of people in VC have MBA’s but I suppose practical experience in deals outweighs an MBA. It’s been good to talk this through! Thank you&nbsp;
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Duncan

Due diligence, equity research, fund raising, coaching start ups, a portfolio of board roles, all of these could be more promising. I would really look into turnaround management and distressed assets - a real strength of LBS. This is a great time for leverages buying. 

Due diligence, equity research, fund raising, coaching start ups, a portfolio of board roles, all of these could be more promising. I would really look into turnaround management and distressed assets - a real strength of LBS. This is a great time for leverages buying.&nbsp;<br>
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Thanks Duncan - do you recommend any firms who are working on distressed assets?

Thanks Duncan - do you recommend any firms who are working on distressed assets?
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Duncan

I don't think the UK or Israel are great places for that: I'd say the real action is in big national markets where there's the sort of mindset that leads to large capital investment into long-term opportunities. Brazil, Russia and the US are great examples, and I think the 'magicians' are Crédit Agricole, Sberbank, Unicredit, and Enforce (in Brazil). Then it's EY and PwC. There are also lots of niche national providers. I'm in Italy this month and, for example, Edrasis Group does a lot of that work in the real estate sector. 

 


PS When it comes to picking MBAs: In the 'New World, NYU and Wharton are well placed, and Insead and LBS in the 'Old World'. 

[Edited by Duncan on Dec 25, 2022]

I don't think the UK or Israel are great places for that: I'd say the real action is in big national markets where there's the sort of mindset that leads to large capital investment into long-term opportunities. Brazil, Russia and the US are great examples, and I think the 'magicians' are Crédit Agricole, Sberbank, Unicredit, and Enforce (in Brazil). Then it's EY and PwC. There are also lots of niche national providers. I'm in Italy this month and, for example, Edrasis Group does a lot of that work in the real estate sector.&nbsp;<div><br></div><div>
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<br><br>PS When it comes to picking MBAs: In the 'New World, NYU and Wharton are well placed, and Insead and LBS in the 'Old World'.&nbsp;<div><br></div><div><br>
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