Elfman-Wareham Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab (PE/VC Lab)

Elfman-Wareham Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab (PE/VC Lab)

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 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 meets on Tuesday evenings during the spring term. There are two sections of the course, one focused on VC (co-taught by professors Jason Heltzer and Ira Weiss), 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.

How can I learn more about the course?

We encourage you to reach out to either the PE/VC Lab faculty or 2020-2021 PE/VC Lab teaching assistants with questions related to the course. TAs for the Spring 2021 course are:

TAs for the Spring 2021 PE/VC Lab course (BUS34702) include:
PE Section 

  • Kristina Flathers
  • Najib Jai
  • Simi Kavthekar
  • Siqi Zhao

VC Section

  • Jean-Paul “JP” Bowgen
  • Charlie Campbell
  • Dhanasree Molugu


In conjunction with attending the spring-term PE/VC Lab course, participants in the PE/VC Lab also intern for 15-20 hours per week for at least 10 weeks at any time between January and June with a PE or VC firm (broadly defined to include seed/venture capital firms, growth equity firms, and buyout firms).

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.

How will PE/VC Lab internships be affected by Covid-19?

Given the rapidly evolving situation with Covid-19 and the uncertainties of the coming academic year, we understand that internships this winter/spring may be fully virtual or semi-virtual, either based on your firm’s policies or your own preferences. We advise that you work directly with your host firm to identify a plan 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 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.

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.

The following firms participated in the 2021 PE/VC Lab. 

  • 1315 Capital
  • Academy Investor Network
  • ADM Ventures
  • ARCH Venture Partners
  • Ardan Equity
  • Benford Capital Partners
  • Bernhard Capital Partners
  • Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Better Tomorrow Ventures
  • Blue Marlin Partners
  • Breakout Capital
  • Casa Verde Capital
  • Chicago Community Trust
  • Chingona Ventures
  • CIVC Partners
  • Clean Energy Trust
  • CompanyFirst
  • Crescendo Capital
  • Cressey and Co.
  • Cultivation Capital
  • Decibel Ventures
  • DFK Group Inc.
  • Discovery Ventures
  • Equator Capital Partners
  • Equity International
  • Five Lakes Equity
  • FJ Labs
  • Foundation Capital
  • Gemspring Capital
  • George Schultz Innovation Fund
  • GGV
  • GoHealth
  • Gold Leaf Farming
  • GP Investments
  • Graham Partners
  • Hidden Harbor
  • High Street
  • HUB Capital Group
  • Hughes and Company
  • Hyde Park Venture Partners
  • IDEA Fund Partners
  • Impact Engine
  • Independence Equity
  • Jackson Private Capital
  • Jump Capital
  • KB Partners
  • KCRise
  • Kinzie Capital
  • Kli Capital
  • Knox Capital
  • L Catterton
  • Lifespan Equity Partners
  • Listen Ventures
  • Lofty Ventures
  • Lumos Capital Partners
  • Lunacap Ventures
  • M25
  • Manifold Group
  • Maxim Partners
  • Monument MicroCap Partners
  • Motivate VC
  • NextGen Growth Partners
  • Ninth Street Capital Partners
  • Noble Rock Advisors
  • OCA Ventures
  • Origin Ventures
  • Osage Venture Partners
  • Pareto & Co
  • Patriot Capital
  • Periscope Equity
  • Portfolia
  • Prime Impact Fund
  • PSP Capital
  • Rally Cap Ventures
  • S2G Ventures
  • Samata Capital
  • Sandalphon Capital
  • Seven Hills Capital
  • Software Growth Partners
  • Spiral Sun
  • Standard Real Estate Investments
  • Sterling Parners
  • Stoic Lane
  • TechStars

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