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

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

Application & Eligibility

Students must confirm that they meet eligibility requirements and then apply to take part in the PE/VC Lab. Participants are selected through a competitive application, screening, and interview process, in which students are matched with firms based on the firms’ criteria and the students’ backgrounds.

You can watch a recording of the PE/VC Lab info session to familiarize yourself with the program as you begin the application process. Career switchers are also encouraged to watch the recording of professor Chris McGowan’s Private Equity Landscape and Skills for Career Changers presentation and PE Interview Prep for Career Changers presentation.


  • The PE/VC Lab is open to Full-Time, Evening, and Weekend MBA Program students at Chicago Booth. XP students are not eligible to participate. The PE/VC Lab is not currently open to undergraduate or graduate students outside of Chicago Booth.
  • International students (first year and second year) are eligible to participate in the PE/VC Lab through Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization. International students will be required to complete an attestation form to confirm they’ve met with OIA and will take the necessary steps to complete their CPT. International students may consult this document for further information regarding eligibility requirements.
  • Prior professional experience in private equity or venture capital is not needed to be considered for the PE/VC Lab. Additionally, there is no specific background or resume that will guarantee entry to the Lab.
  • The PE/VC Lab requires a significant time commitment. In addition to weekly three-hour class sessions, participants are expected to work 15-20 hours at their internship for at least 10 weeks and should only register for a total of three courses (including the Lab) during the quarter in which they are interning. Applicants must be willing and able to make this time commitment.


To be considered for the PE/VC Lab, students must complete the PE/VC Lab Student Application by November 9, 2020 at 10 a.m. CT. Late applications will not be accepted.


Following the application deadline, the Polsky Center team shares select student resumes with participating firms based on the firms’ investment stages and criteria, as well as students’ interests and backgrounds. Firms then interview candidates and select an intern.

Which firms will receive my resume?

On the PE/VC Lab application, students are asked to rank their interest in three investment stages: seed/VC, growth, and buyouts. Students’ resumes are guaranteed to go to all firms that match their top-ranked investment stage. In other words, if a student indicates that “seed/VC” is their top preference, their resume will go to all firms that self-identify as “seed/VC.” In addition, some firms will request additional resume sets. They may ask to see candidates who ranked their investment stage second, or they may request a curated set of resumes based on prior professional experience and industry exposure. Students may indicate firms of particular interest to them, and this information will be taken into account when creating tailored resume sets. All student resumes that fit the criteria for these specialized requests will be included.

Can I bring a new firm into the program?

Students who line up an internship with a firm not associated with the Lab and wish to count that internship toward the Lab must: 1) complete a petition form to have the internship approved for the Lab; and 2) return a PE/VC Lab Host Firm Agreement form signed by your supervisor at the firm. Please complete the petition form prior to accepting your internship offer. All petition forms will be reviewed by the PE/VC Lab Lab faculty and staff, and a decision will be communicated to you within two business days of submitting the petition. Please also review the terms of participation with your firm, and have your firm return a signed copy of the PE/VC Lab Host Firm Agreement.

How many firms will my resume go to, and how can I find out where it went?

Students can expect that their resume will be distributed to 20-30 firms. Resume sets are sent to participating host firms in late November/early December. Students may contact the Polsky Center (Nora Mansfield or Megan Fox) after December 7 to ask where their resume was sent.

What happens after my resume is sent to firms?

Once host firms receive resume sets, they will screen candidates, arrange interviews, and select an intern. The interview and selection process is conducted entirely by the firm—the firm determines how many students to interview and what the interview process looks like. As a result, students should recognize that the Polsky Center may not be in a position to know about their status. The firm also sets its own timeline for interviews and selection. Some firms interview and select interns as early as December, while others take until March to hire an intern. You could be invited to interview with a firm any point between early December and mid-March. Please note that not all applicants will receive an interview request. All selections must be completed by the startup of the spring term.

What is the acceptance rate to the PE/VC Lab?

In a typical year, 300-325 students apply to the PE/VC Lab. Approximately one-third of applicants (~100) will secure internships.

Do I need to have prior PE or VC experience to be accepted?

No, prior experience in PE/VC is not required. In a typical year, 50-60% of accepted students will not have prior industry experience.

What do PE/VC Lab firms look for in candidates?

There are a variety of firms that participate in the Lab, and each looks for a specific background based on their investment stage, industry focus and current projects. There is no one background that will guarantee entry into the Lab.

What are the next steps after accepting an internship offer?

In order to be enrolled in the Lab course, students must notify the Polsky Center of their selection by a firm and provide the start date of their internship. The Polsky Center will then share their name with the Registrar’s Office, who will enroll the student in the spring-quarter PE/VC Lab course.

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