If you have considered working for a venture capital firm, you have probably discovered that obtaining a position as an investment analyst is extremely challenging. Recently, I have been in the process of determining if this is the career path that I would like to pursue. Before exhausting all of my efforts to attain a spot in this incredibly competitive and exciting environment, I decided to interview Aakar Vachhani, a Senior Analyst at Fairview Capital.
Aakar joined Fairview’s team in 2008, where he is involved in research, due diligence, investment monitoring, and business development. Before joining Fairview, he was an Analyst in the alternative asset performance group at Cambridge Associates where he was responsible for tracking fund and company performance metrics for private equity, venture capital, and real estate funds, as well as analyzing and producing due diligence reports for select funds. In addition, Aakar has also worked with consulting teams to provide portfolio performance reporting to endowments, foundations, colleges/universities, public pensions, and family offices. Furthermore, at Cambridge Associates, he led quantitative research and analysis projects on private equity and venture capital benchmarks. Aakar has studied at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Economics – Finance from Bentley College.
I wanted to know the best way to get a job in the venture capital industry, so I asked Aakar how he landed his position at Cambridge Associates and Fairview Capital. He told me that the industry is relatively small and that there are not a lot of positions available for younger people. It is difficult to find employment with a firm, especially straight out of school without any relevant experience. Aakar said that Bentley’s career service department helped him connect with Cambridge Associates, one of the most well respected consulting firms that specialize in consulting pension funds, endowments, foundations and family offices on private equity and venture capital investment portfolios. They happened to have an opening for an internship in their performance reporting group. Unfortunately, getting this position was difficult. Aakar got through two rounds of interviews and was turned down. The next year, Cambridge Associates posted a full-time position. Aakar decided to apply during his fall semester, went through three rounds of interviews, and was ultimately rejected. In the spring, he applied again and after another three rounds of interviews, and an incredible amount of persistence, he was finally offered the position.
Working at Cambridge Associates was a great way for Aakar to learn about the venture capital industry. He said that he was constantly looking for ways to get involved and increase his knowledge. After two years of experience, Aakar decided to look for other opportunities. He noticed that Fairview Capital had an opening for a research analyst and decided to apply for the position. Since obtaining the position, he has been promoted to a Senior Analyst on the investment team.
After learning about how Aakar got involved in venture capital, I asked him about what he does on a daily basis. In any given day, he accomplishes a variety of different aspects of the business. While he is performing due diligence on potential investments, he is meeting with venture capitalists, analyzing performance and crafting recommendations. With regards to business development, he builds presentations for clients or potential new investors and puts together marketing material for new funds. Aakar also assists with annual and semi-annual reporting and writes summaries on fund activity and performance. In correlation with research, he explores investment themes and writes about them in newsletters and research reports. Aakar has also helped developed hosting symposiums, web conferences and even podcasts with venture capitalists.
Aakar has a broad role and it was important for me to learn about his daily responsibilities. Having the drive to be involved in venture capital is certainly not common among most individuals. I went on to ask Aakar about when he knew he wanted to be involved in the industry. He said that he started to develop interest when he was in his third year at Bentley. In his senior year, he became interested in venture capital, but he never knew that working for a fund of funds would be a good fit. Aakar’s defines his interest of the venture capital industry to be more of an evolutionary process.
I enjoyed putting together the interview and learned that persistence is crucial when trying to be employed in the venture capital industry.