The dream of many business school students is to work at a startup. Startups usually allow you to gain more responsibility and grow your career faster. They also have cool and flexible work environments; and, for the risk takers, landing a startup job as an MBA can bring some interesting potential upside.
However, many startups do not come to campus to recruit. So know that if you want to go down this route it will require you to proactively search for a startup you like. The questions then become: Which industries am I interested in? How do I start the search? How to choose the right one?
One of the easiest ways to start searching for a startup, is narrowing down to a specific geographic region. But below are some additional recommendations if you are looking for startups to work in.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, the ecosystem and community matters a lot. There are studies that show that different areas are more prone to having startups from a given industry segment. For instance, Boston is very know for the healthcare and biotech industries and as a result also have many biotech startups. So do your research and find out what the startup ecosystem looks like in different areas. If you have an industry you are interested, that will help you determine where you might want to consider living. Or if you have a location you want to live, it might help you determine which segment of startups you might want to look into.
Use local media
Once you have narrowed down the area and/or industry, you can then start searching for good local media channels for startups. Those will help you see the companies that have been recently successful raising capital or those that are hiring a lot of people. Websites like Builtin.com has chapters for NYC, LA, Boston, Seattle and some others. Another good strategy is to type “Best startups in XXX” in google and go through recent articles of the coolest startups in the area. It is always helpful to look at those that recently raised money, since that can be a good indicator that they are hiring.
Become part of the local startup community
Another important thing to do is to start frequenting local startup community events. This will also allow you to see what the startups are doing and those that are getting more visibility locally. To find events, I would suggest starting by searching for accelerators and co-working spaces in the area to see events they are hosting. Those usually host many topic themed events and demo days. Techstars and other groups with local representation are also an option. You can also look for startup conferences at event websites like Meetup.com and Eventbrite. Once you find events you are interested in, attend and get ready to mingle.
Research the local VCs
Another way of evaluating the quality of the startup is looking at the investors they have. That is why it is a great strategy to research the best VCs in a location and look through the startups they have invested.
All those steps will help you narrow to a list of startups that you can then reach out to and start talking to. Keep in mind that applying for a job through the website is usually not the best approach to recruit. It is highly recommended to reaching out to people that work at the startup through linkedin (or at an event) in order to get an interview.