Donate   //   Visit Us   //   Member Login
Elfman-Wareham Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab

Elfman-Wareham Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab

The Merrick M. Elfman and Therese L. Wareham Private Equity Lab was created for Chicago Booth students to learn firsthand about the private equity and venture capital industries. Through the combination of an intensive internship at a private equity or venture capital 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 Merrick M. Elfman and Therese L. Wareham Private Equity Lab includes an academic course and an intensive winter- and/or spring-term internship at a private equity or venture capital firm. The course component meets once a week in the evening for three hours during the spring term. There are two sections of the class, and while many common topics are covered in both sections, one section emphasizes private equity and the other venture capital.

The course is co-taught by professors Jason Heltzer, Ira Weiss, and Chris McGowan. The content is designed to equip students with timely practical tools and impart experience from industry veterans with the ultimate goal of accelerating the apprenticeship process of those aspiring to work in the private equity industry.

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 private equity and venture capital investing. Students also share information about their internship experiences with their classmates and work together to solve problems that arise during their internships. Various networking opportunities allow students to meet venture capitalists and private equity professionals from other participating firms.

Grades are based on host firm evaluations, classroom participation, case write-ups, and a final project. The course cannot be taken pass/fail, and it is not possible to audit the course.

Students do not need to bid any points to gain entry into the Lab; instead, there is a separate application process that does not involve bidding. Students who are admitted to the Lab will, however, receive points for their participation, which may be used to bid on other Chicago Booth courses.


In conjunction with attending spring-term course sessions, participants in the Lab also intern for 15-20 hours per week for at least 10 weeks at a private equity fund (broadly defined to include angel groups, venture capital firms, mezzanine lenders, buyout firms, and many other variations). Internships may take place during the spring quarter only, winter quarter only, or both quarters.

Students are matched with a firm based on the firm’s criteria and the student’s background. There are a variety of firms that participate in the Lab, and each looks for a specific background based on their investment focus and current projects.

Participants 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.

All internships are unpaid; however, students may be reimbursed up to $500 for transportation expenses relating to their internships. Some students may stay on with their firm for the summer, in which case they can negotiate separate terms with their respective firm.

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 2019 PE/VC Lab.

  • 7Wire
  • Abundant VC
  • Agman
  • AGR
  • Akoya
  • ARCH
  • Baxter Ventures
  • Breakout
  • CapX Partners
  • Chicago Pacific
  • City Capital VC
  • CIVC
  • Clean Energy Trust
  • CompanyFirst
  • Core IP Fund
  • Crescendo
  • Cultivian
  • Dow VC
  • Edgewater
  • Energize
  • Equator
  • Equity Intl
  • Erie Street
  • Evolv
  • Granite Creek
  • High Street
  • HPA
  • Impact Engine
  • Independence Equity
  • IrishAngels
  • JD Capital
  • Jump
  • Kinsale
  • Kinzie
  • Levine Leichtman
  • Lightbank
  • Listen
  • LMM Capital
  • M25
  • Maxim Partners
  • May River
  • McNally
  • Moderne
  • New Stack
  • NextGen
  • Nine Four Ventures
  • OCA
  • One Equity
  • Origin
  • Patriot
  • Periscope
  • Pfingsten
  • PGVC
  • Prospect
  • PSP Capital
  • PSP Growth
  • RF Investments
  • S2G
  • Sandalphon
  • Sandbox
  • SevenSaoi
  • Sterling Partners
  • Tilia
  • Twin Bridge
  • UChicago IF
  • Venture Univ
  • VestedWorld
  • Victory Park
  • Waud Capital
  • Wexford

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyze your use of products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts.