The Merrick M. Elfman and Therese L. Wareham Private Equity and Venture Capital (PE/VC) Lab was created for Chicago Booth students to learn firsthand about the PE and VC industries. Through the combination of an intensive internship at a PE or VC firm and an academic course, students become active participants in the analysis of real-world investment decisions made by seasoned investors and also learn to apply their academic frameworks to their internship experiences.
The PE/VC Lab now supports internships in geographies beyond Chicago. Thanks to the support of the Petrick Family, PE/VC Lab participants with out-of-state internships may apply for funding from the Petrick Family Internship Fund to support their travel and on-site experience.
The PE/VC Lab course equips students with timely practical tools and imparts insights from industry veterans with the ultimate goal of accelerating the apprenticeship process for those aspiring to work in PE or VC.
How do I get into the PE/VC Lab course?
The PE/VC Lab is an application-based course. Participants do not need to bid points to gain entry into the course. Accepted students will automatically be registered for and receive points for their participation in the PE/VC Lab course.
When does the class meet, and who teaches it?
The PE/VC Lab is a quarter-long course that is offered on Tuesday evenings during the Winter and Spring terms. There are two sections of the course, one focused on VC (taught by professor Jason Heltzer), and the other on PE (taught by professor Chris McGowan). Students are typically registered for the course section that corresponds with their internship (i.e. if you are interning at a VC firm, you will be registered for the VC section of the course). However, students may request to switch into the alternate section if desired.
What is covered in the course?
Coursework includes case discussions, simulated board meetings and investment committee meetings, guest speakers, workshops, and lectures. Students hear from both the professors and guest speakers on cutting-edge topics related to PE and VC. Students also share information and challenges related to their internship experiences, and networking opportunities allow students to meet VC and PE professionals from other participating firms. Grades are based on host firm evaluations, classroom participation, case write-ups, and a final project.
Can I audit the course or take it pass/fail?
No, the course cannot be taken pass/fail, and it is not possible to audit the course.
If I take the VC section one year, can I take the PE section next?
No, the PE and VC sections are connected to the same course number. A student can only take one section of the course, and can only have one internship connected with the course.
How can I learn more about the course?
We encourage you to reach out to either the PE/VC Lab faculty or 2022-2023 PE/VC Lab teaching assistants with questions related to the course. TAs for the course are:
Timothy Thomas III
In conjunction with attending the PE/VC Lab course (in either the Winter or Spring term), participants in the PE/VC Lab also intern for 15-20 hours per week for at least 10 weeks between January and late May with a PE or VC firm (broadly defined to include seed/venture capital firms, growth equity firms, and buyout firms).
If I am hoping to participate in the Spring term course, do I still need to apply in the Fall?
Yes, there is only one application deadline for both the Winter and Spring term courses. If you intend to participate in the PE/VC Lab during any portion of the 2022-23 academic year, you must apply in alignment with the October 13th deadline. Acceptations for late applications will not be made.
What kinds of projects do PE/VC Lab interns work on?
Students work on specific assignments for their firm, ranging from evaluating new market and business opportunities for investment to analyzing specific issues faced by portfolio companies.
Which firms participate in the PE/VC Lab?
Each year, the Polsky Center sources over 100 firms to participate in the PE/VC Lab. These firms represent top venture capital, growth equity, and private equity firms in Chicago, as well as firms in other US geographies. A list of this year’s participating host firms can be found here. Please note, this list will continue to grow until the release of the student application on October 3rd. Please continue to check this gallery before submitting your application.
In addition, students may source their own internships and petition to have the internship approved for the Lab. This enables students to network and intern with firms in their target geographies, and it helps Booth grow its relationships within the PE and VC industry.
Can PE/VC lab firms be based outside of Chicago?
Yes. The PE/VC Lab now supports internships in geographies beyond Chicago. Some of the pre-approved internships sourced by the Polsky Center team are outside of Chicago, and students are encouraged to source their own internships in their target geographies and petition to have the internship approved for the Lab.
Are PE/VC Lab internships in person, hybrid, or remote?
Internships can be fully in person, virtual or hybrid. We advise that you work directly with your host firm to identify the modality that works for both of you. If your internship is fully remote, we encourage you to discuss accommodations with your firm that will allow you (to the extent possible) to “sit in” on conference calls and video meetings, participate in Slack conversations, receive virtual mentorship, and delve into longer-term projects to ensure a valuable learning experience.
Are PE/VC Lab internships paid or unpaid?
PE/VC Lab internships are typically unpaid; however, the Polsky Center will reimburse students for up to $500 for transportation expenses (in accordance with the University of Chicago’s policies on travel) and educational material purchases related to their internships. Students who go on to intern with their firms for the summer may negotiate separate terms and compensation.
Is there funding available for out of state internships?
Yes, In addition to the $500 in reimbursement that is available for all interns, students with out of state internships can apply for an additional $1500 stipend to offset travel costs for one or more in-person experiences. Students must apply with an application that consists of a proposed budget and the host firm must complete an on-site approval form. A small amount of funding beyond the $1500 stipend is available for students in need of additional financial assistance. Applications for additional funding will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Reach out to the Polsky Center for more information.
Will my host firm ask me to sign an NDA?
Host firms are welcome to have students sign standard non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). However, host firms are prohibited from asking students to sign non-compete agreements.