Gain Real-Life Experience in Venture Capital

Apply your classroom knowledge to the venture capital industry.

Venture Lab is an experiential learning course that places students in a quarter-long internship with a venture fund, incubator or startup. Once placed, you are expected to complete a mutually agreed upon project that will give you new insight into the venture capital industry, develop the skills necessary to succeed and produce a product of value for the sponsor..

Information for Students

Course Description: Venture Lab is an experiential learning course that allows Kellogg students the opportunity to be placed in a quarter-long internship. Venture Lab opportunities include:
Program A: Venture Capital Funds and Incubators
Program B: Portfolio Companies of Venture Capital Funds

Work at venture capital funds can vary widely from tasks such as market research, due diligence, assisting with fundraising documents, and sourcing deal flow. Work at incubators typically involves assisting with incubated startups or helping to develop a startup idea for incubation. Work at portfolio companies (most of which are start-ups) includes activity in product management, strategy, marketing, finance and business operations. Enrollment in the course is by application only.
Apply for Venture Lab

Before applying for Venture Lab Program A, please consider if you prefer interning at a Venture Capital firm (Venture Program A), or alternatively, at a portfolio company that one of our Venture Lab host firms has invested in (Venture Lab Program B). Responsibilities will be somewhat different at a portfolio company compared to the responsibilities at a venture capital firm. Please do not apply for both Venture Lab Program A, and Venture Lab Program B: you may only choose one or the other.

Faculty Advisor:
Professor David Stowell

Course Requirements:
  • Internship. Students who are selected commit to dedicate two full working days a week to working onsite at the venture firm's office for local firms and an equivalent amount of time offsite for remote firms. Students are expected to dedicate 15-20 hours per week.
  • Classes. Two mandatory classes will be held during the quarter, on the first and last Wednesday mornings. 
  • Meetings with Professor. Participants will meet optionally with Professor Stowell during the quarter to organize and provide an update on progress. Attendance at these talks is mandatory.
  • Grading. The venture firm will evaluate the student's performance and deliverables. Grades will be determined by Professor Stowell in conjunction with the host firm after factoring in attendance at meetings and an end-of-quarter paper.
Venture Capital Firms and Portfolio Companies:
Participating firms are both local and remote (e.g., located outside the Chicago area). Students working at local firms will either work at the firm's offices or remotely, subject to health considerations. Students working at firms outside of Chicago will work remotely. Often firms based outside of Chicago will arrange for their student to be flown out to meet the fund managers and present once or twice during the quarter. Sponsors participating in the upcoming quarter can be found via the electronic application.

Target students:
The experiential learning opportunity will be most beneficial to students who do not have extensive VC experience, but would like a career in the field.

Students must have completed the following:
  • Accounting for Decision Making (ACCT-430/ACCTM-430); or Financial Reporting and Analysis (ACCT-451);
  • AND Finance II (FINC-431/FINCM-431); or Accelerated Corporate Finance (FINC-440)
We strongly recommend that students have completed the core requirements prior to applying to the program. We further recommend taking the following classes before, concurrently or after the lab:
  • Entrepreneurial Finance and Venture Capital (FINC-445)
  • Marketing Research and Analytics (MKTG-450)
  • Technology and Innovation Strategy (STRT-463-5)
  • Technology Marketing (MKTG-468)
  • Managerial Accounting (ACCT-431)
  • Financial Decisions (FINC-442)
  • Decision Models & Prescriptive Analytics (OPNS-450)
  • Competitive Strategy & Industrial Structure (MECN-441)
Application Instructions and Materials:
A list of participating sponsor firms for the current quarter is included with the electronic application. This list will be continuously updated, and students should check the list for updates. Once an application is submitted it cannot be modified. If you submit early, and a firm that you are interested in applying to is added to the list, you will need to submit a new application. All applications for this course will only be accepted via this online application.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance or rejection several weeks prior to the start of the quarter. Students should register for classes assuming they will not be accepted to Venture Lab, yet be prepared to drop a course or two if they are accepted. Please keep in mind that most students find that they get the most out of the program by making their class schedule flexible, especially on Mondays. This allows students to become immersed in the organizations and to participate in investment meetings, entrepreneur pitches, site visits, and other activities to which students would otherwise not be exposed.

The time commitment to Venture Lab is substantial. Plan your course load appropriately. You may not drop this course once the matching process is complete.


Matching Process:
Students may apply to any subset of the available host firms. Please apply only to firms for which you are interested in working. Firms are sent all applications from students who indicated an interest in the firm. Based on the application statements and resumes, firms choose finalist students. Some firms may choose to interview students either in person or by telephone. Based on the interviews, firms make their final selections. Your application statement should address the firms you are applying to (generically, not firm-by-firm).

The list of participating funds is continuously updated. Please check back before submitting your application to ensure you have accessed the most recent list of host funds. If additional funds are added after the deadline, you will be informed and given an opportunity to apply to them as well. Please do not apply to funds that have requirements for their applicants unless you have the relevant experience.

If you are matched to a firm, you may not turn down the offer. APPLY ONLY TO FIRMS WHOSE OFFER YOU ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT. If accepted, you will automatically be enrolled in the course.

Information for Sponsors

Course Description:
This course offers Kellogg students an experiential learning opportunity at a venture fund or incubator. The host firm determines the project(s) on which students will focus. Students who are selected commit to dedicating two full working days a week to working on-site at the venture firm's office for local firms and an equivalent amount of time off-site for remote firms. Students are expected to dedicate 15-20 hours per week overall to venture fund work.

Student Demographic:
Students enrolled are recommended to have completed all of the core requirements. Many of them want to enter the VC industry after graduation.

Student Responsibilities:
These will vary considerably based on the sponsoring firm. Each student is required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Sponsoring Firm Commitment:
The firm is encouraged to supply the student with guidance in his or her respective responsibilities/tasks and give continual, constructive feedback throughout the 10-week period. The student’s grade is based principally on feedback the firm gives to the Kellogg faculty advisor.

Advanced Planning:
The sponsoring firm and student are strongly encouraged to make contact two months prior to the start of the quarter. This will allow for time to determine the nature of the student project prior to the beginning of the quarter. The student can then be ready to start projects immediately.

Featured Venture Lab Sponsors & Past Participants

Firms have the option to participate during each quarter of the academic year.

Some of the firms we’ve partnered with for Venture Lab over the past few years have included Clean Energy Trust, Early Stage Partners, Longitude Capital, Siemens Venture Capital, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, New World Ventures, BookBoard and many others.
Those interested in becoming a Venture Lab sponsor should contact Professor David Stowell for more information.

My sponsor firm involved me in every aspect of traditional venture capital, which gave me the perspective I needed to pursue a career transition into VC post-Kellogg.

Ben Gaither '20

Interested in learning more? Get in touch.