Posted on April 23, 2018
There are major programs in entrepreneurship and business in many colleges, but there is no major in angel or venture capital investment.
Some online sources have already made reports on where VCs and investors went to college, and some stereotypes about Stanford and Harvard turned out to be true. The same applies to the importance of MBA. However, we don’t know much about what they studied there, so let’s figure it out now.
To get some answers, we used educational histories of 5,000 VC partners from the USA and Canada. These people invest on behalf of and are employed by venture capital firms. We also took a look at educational histories of 8,500 angel investors. After this, we categorized majors into several general fields of study.
Our results show that 27% of VC investors studied Engineering and Technology, 26% — Social Sciences, 18% — Business/Finance/Accounting, and the remainder share consists of investors who studied Natural Sciences, Humanities, Formal Sciences, and other disciplines.
Startup investors are often interested in technology companies, so there is no surprise that most venture capitalists were focused on engineering (mostly mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineering, but some people prefer such niche categories as nuclear engineering). There is also a big share of professionals who studied such technical subjects as materials science and information systems.
The most interesting thing about this statistical data is that investors majored in computer science or math, which were classified as Formal Sciences, ranked a little lower than those who mastered humanities.
Despite this tendency, there is a completely different case with angel investors: 23% — Engineering and Technology, 22% — Social Sciences, 19% — Formal Sciences, 18% — Business/Finance/Accounting, and the rest is Humanities, Natural Sciences, and other disciplines.
A background in math is more common among individual angel investors. The reason may be that they are unaffiliated with venture capital firms.
We also noticed a few interesting facts:
So, what does all this information mean? First of all, we see that the academic background of investors is diverse. There is no single recipe for becoming a venture capitalist. The same applies to angel investors as well — you can study various subjects, all you need is enthusiasm and enough money.
However, we see that statistics, computer science, and mathematics are certainly under-represented among VCs. This fact is really weird because most investors are mainly focused on startups associated with software, computing technologies, and hardware. We have yet managed to explain these figures.
Our conclusion is that, if you want to invest in startups in the future, you shouldn’t be too concerned about what to study in college. Just focus on what you like. After all, your position in this field will be determined by many other factors.