Let’s be frank. Pursuing a career in Venture Capital (VC) is not easy. And even once you’re there you may find out it’s not quite what you expected. So to uncover some of the insights into this sector of finance, we reached out to our friends at SET Ventures, an Amsterdam-based VC firm that’s been around since 2007, to interview the women in their team and shed some light on what you should know before pursuing a career in VC.
Each woman you’ll hear from is in a different stage of her career, has different motivations, and started their career in Venture Capital in completely different ways. But they all share key pieces of information to know before you make the journey into VC!
Role: Investment Analyst
Started in VC: February 2023
Background: Oxford MBA, consultancy background at Accenture
Passion for: Being at the centre of measurable impact
First off, what was your path to break into VC?
“After finishing my MBA at Oxford following four years at Accenture, I was ready for a new challenge. I reviewed all avenues to do work that I considered impactful. I was comparing the work environment I wanted to be in, the types of problems I wanted to be exposed to, and the speed of decisions making. The world of impact VC got me curious, so I applied to several firms in Amsterdam and was eventually hired by SET Ventures.”
You’ve been in VC for a few months now, what are some of the critical things you have learned in that short time frame?
“I think getting into VC has three different stages; each stage requiring different ways of thinking that will help navigate the process.
For the first stage of “deciding” why one is interested in VC, researching and networking with industry stakeholders is critical.
In the second stage, “applying for a job”, you’re expected to know a lot about startup news. And since VC is a small and competitive industry, you’ll be expected to complete a case. Most other entry level positions, you just learn on the job, maybe have some level of interest. But in VC, that competition means you’re expected to rationalise and contribute from day one.
In the third stage, “day 1” there is not much information available on how to succeed, and it is highly dependent on the firm. I wish I had known earlier that the bar is high, and one must be ready for a range of scenarios.”
In a nutshell:
Research and speak to people about the industry before applying to understand the norms and challenges in VC.
Prepare extensively for interviews. The bar for entry is high and the industry is competitive, so you need to be on top of your game.
If you come from a consulting background it’s good to understand that the VC working environment is different. You will have to unlearn some things to be successful. It’s important to figure out which traits will be helpful and take them forward.