Venture Capital Without A Business Degree
Mike Ross is a former lawyer at one of the biggest law firms in the nation. He was hired by a senior partner despite not having a law degree. He also worked as a legal consultant and an investment banker. Is this even possible? He is, in fact, the main character of Suits. If someone were to start watching from any season other than the first, that person wouldn’t know how Mike was able to become a corporate lawyer without any college degree (Season 1 is the best among all, by the way). So if you haven’t read my previous post, I would suggest you do and come back.
Now that Summer has arrived and college work is gone, I thought this would be the right time to start planning on what to do during my ongoing journey towards Venture Capital. Before I delve into it, I want to share Six Myths About Venture Capitalists by Diane Mulcahy. I think it’s important to pursue one’s dream but cannot emphasize enough to know what it entails — both glamorous and unglamorous sides. Regardless, here are three main to-do tasks for this Summer:
Keep Learning — Courses, Articles, Books, etc.
Imagine if you have to physically go to a library and look for resources to learn. I’m very thankful for having a laptop and a stable internet connection. It is one of the most practical resources that a broke college student can utilize for almost free! Although holding a business degree is not a requirement for VC, many concepts and knowledge useful in the industry are often learned in business classes. However, there are tons of complimentary courses offered on platforms like Coursera and Youtube. I personally like taking a finance course, specifically, Startup Valuation Methods. Other than taking classes, one can read articles here on Medium or Harvard Business Review. Because I don’t have enough exposure yet, I think it’s important to broaden my perspective with a variety of sectors. Then I can figure out what specific space I am interested in. Books are great investments. Summer is the best time of the year to read a plethora of them. Books that I recently purchased are Venture Capital Strategy, BreakintoVC, and Venture Deals. It seems that learning never stops whether it’s about VC or anything else.
“He who learns but does not think is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.” — Confucius
Building an investment portfolio
For someone with an issue with capital, I’d recommend doing a side hustle that takes up a little bit of time. I have been tutoring for three years, which enabled me to save up some money for stock investment. But the investment portfolio I’m talking about is not on Robinhood. Investing with less than $1,000 in early-stage startups is not a fairytale anymore; anyone can do it on equity crowdfunding platforms. Of course, one needs to conduct their own due diligence despite a few limits, defend each decision and explain their reasoning. Writing this process in a blog post can become a valuable asset and possibly one's own investment thesis. I hope this can help me provide unique insight. As a matter of fact for a task prior to a recent interview, I had to select three companies and create a one-page profile to briefly discuss each and my reasoning after a few days of research. All of them will be covered more deeply in my upcoming posts.
Network. Network. Network.
Enough said. This is fundamental 101 — attending conferences and events. For the upcoming week, starting from the 12th, I will be physically (with social distancing, please) participating in STEP-UP 2021, Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Program. Online events can be great alternatives at the moment as well. Meetup or Eventbrite are a few of the platforms with lots of free events. Networking is a great opportunity to find a mentor, too.
I started writing blogs for three reasons — (1) A reminder for self-reflection/motivation, (2) A room for future plans, and (3) A receptive channel for others’ feedback. Hopefully, through this, I will be able to learn thoroughly, apply that learning proactively to diversify my knowledge, and equip myself with the tools necessary to become an innovative and hard-working decision-maker.