Columbia Business School Professor Angela Lee just looks at the numbers to see that interest in venture capital has exploded in recent years, with a perennial 20 percent increase in enrollment in entrepreneurship courses.
Lee, a professor of professional practice and faculty director of the Eugene M. Lang Entrepreneurship Center, says five years ago, she taught Foundations of VC to 50 students. “This year, we taught 480 students the same course.”
"Networking is the name of the game in entrepreneurship, and CBS students have a leg up in this dimension."
- Angela Lee, faculty director, Eugene M. Lang Entrepreneurship Center
In 2021, CBS created the Columbia Venture Fellows program, which guarantees Venture Fellows a spot in the “highly overbid VC courses,” Lee says. Fellows also work with a venture capitalist in an experiential exercise. “They get to write an investment thesis and diligence memos for the Lang Fund that help guide our investing,” she says.
Alumni and the entire CBS network help guide students entering the world of VC.
“Networking is the name of the game in entrepreneurship, and CBS students have a leg up in this dimension,” says Lee. “Just by attending CBS, you are now a part of a network that has 50,000 alumni. On top of that, we have very intentional programs to amplify networking.”
That’s important to aspiring venture capitalists whose role is critical to those developing new products and services. And lately, they’re finding new opportunities. Lee says that in the fall of 2023, VC activity was on the rise. “I’m seeing more folks who were sitting on the sidelines starting to write checks.”