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April 01, 2005

"Do I need a MBA to become a VC?"

Here is Fred Wilson's (of Union Square Ventures) answer to this often-asked question:

I never place any value on the schools people went to and the degrees they have. It's bullshit for the most part.

My partner from Flatiron Jerry Colonna has a liberal arts degree from Queens College and he was one the best VCs I've ever worked with.

My partner Brad Burnham doesn't have an MBA either and he knows more about startups, technology, and markets than almost anyone I've ever met.

I don't have anything against MBAs. Going back to school and getting an MBA can be a great break from the career path that allows someone to find out what they really want to do. And you can learn some things along the way.

But you can't learn real life business in school. That requires doing it, not studying it.

So I'll take a candidate who's got the track record over the pedigree any day.

Arun Natarajan is the Editor of TSJ Media, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of TSJ Media's Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.