Venture Capitalists


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Classes that will provide good preparation for college and a career in venture capital include business, economics, accounting, English, speech, computer science, marketing, and psychology. Participation in business and debate clubs will also be useful.

Postsecondary Education

Many venture capitalists have master’s degrees in business management, Information Technology, engineering, healthcare management, or even the liberal arts from Ivy League schools or other prestigious colleges. Some have law or medical degrees. 

Other Education or Training

Venture capitalists may think they know it all, but as the groundbreaking physicist Albert Einstein once said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” Many venture capitalists are smart enough to follow Einstein’s advice and pursue continuing education opportunities throughout their careers. Who knows? Maybe the seminar they take on emerging markets in South America will provide just the kernel of knowledge that helps them to identify a good investment opportunity in Brazil. Continuing education opportunities are offered by professional associations and at industry conferences. For example, the National Venture Capital Association offers various webinars on topics such as the Securities & Exchange Commission,  IPO readiness, the VC fundraising environment, among others.

There are also programs that provide supplementary training in everything from successful due diligence to valuation methodologies. Here are two well-known programs:

  • Venture Capital Institute ( Probably one of the better-known training programs in the United States.
  • University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance ( University-sponsored conferences and seminars on investing and entrepreneurial finance.


Aspiring venture capitalists should consider participating in the certificate programs offered by the Investment Management Consultants Association. The online program provides participants with an introduction to venture capital and other alternative assets classes, due diligence, risk management, and other topics. Visit for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Some venture capitalists earn financial certifications that provide them with additional expertise as they do their work. Some popular certifications include:

  • chartered financial analyst (administered by the CFA Institute)
  • chartered alternate investment analyst (Chartered Alternate Investment Analyst Association)
  • certified investment management analyst (Investments and Wealth Institute
  • certified treasury professional, certified corporate financial planning and analysis professional (Association for Financial Professionals)

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring venture capitalists need five to 10 years of professional success as a serial entrepreneur, or high-level executive experience at a portfolio company, or experience in a high-profile position in Information Technology, engineering, health services, or biotechnology. 

A variety of skills are needed to be a successful venture capitalist, including financial acumen, an analytical mind, excellent negotiation abilities, and keen business judgment. They also need strong communication and interpersonal skills, and the ability work as a member of a team. Venture capital firms are tiny compared to most other professional entities. They are high-pressure partnerships where the alchemy of strong personalities becomes critical to the success of the firm.