Entrepreneurship at Darden: 10Thoughts

The internet is full of content to read – but how does an MBA student know what content is worth his or her time? That’s the problem that Jack Mara’s (MBA ’15) new venture, 10Thoughts, aims to solve. Through user recommendations, 10Thoughts curates a list of current articles worth reading and delivers them to you via email once a week (or through a visit to their website), allowing MBA students to easily target well-written, thought-provoking articles in their spare time, rather than wading through the sea of content that comes to them through various channels.

Mara, who is originally from Boston, MA, really wanted to take advantage of the entrepreneurship classes offered in the second year at Darden. In his Starting New Ventures class with Professor Saras Sarasvathy, he decided that his project was going to be helping fellow second years achieve whatever goals they had for the year. This broad idea led him to create plans for people trying to accomplish things such as running every day, quitting smoking, or reading more. Of the plans that he worked on, Mara felt that he was having the most success helping his classmates read more: he was recommending five articles a week, and his classmates were reading and enjoying them. A desire for more variety led him to ask several other MBA students for article recommendations, and when that took off – at the time, over 30 people were signed up for his manual email updates – he decided to make it an automated service. And thus, 10Thoughts was born.

After establishing his idea in Starting New Ventures, Mara went on to take Developing New Products and Services with Professor Raul Chao, where he continued to refine and develop 10Thoughts. From there, he began a Darden Venture Project (DVP) so that he could focus on 10Thoughts full-time — another perk of Darden’s second year curriculum. Professor Chao serves as his advisor for this project.

Mara credits Darden’s strong entrepreneurial curriculum and faculty with the success of 10Thoughts. Professors Sarasvathy and Chao were key in instilling the mindset of constant experimentation in him, and teaching him that true entrepreneurship is about the process of getting something to succeed. He learned that the idea for a start-up is irrelevant – you never know what ideas are going to work, but success comes from experimenting over and over. The more tests you can run, says Mara, the faster you can figure out what works and what does not.

Now, with its easy-to-navigate website (built by Mara’s younger brother, Jeffrey, a student at Lehigh University), 10Thoughts has over 800 subscribers from a variety of business schools. Users can sign up for weekly updates of the most popular articles, follow up to five friends for a more finely curated list of content they want to see, and even make their own article recommendations. And, it’s just going to keep getting better: Mara and business partner Jerome Hughes (MBA ’15) will be in Darden’s iLab this summer. Mara tells us his summer goals include developing an app so that 10Thoughts can be mobile, improving article curation and delivery timing, and perhaps getting some members of larger companies to recommend articles. He is also looking to grow his customer base and garner more feedback, so he encourages you to sign up for the service (10thoughts.com) and send him your thoughts on your experience (maraj15@darden.virginia.edu).

Best of luck to Jack, Jerome, and Jeffrey as they continue their adventure with 10Thoughts!

Leave a comment

Jacob Shmukler (MBA ’15) Chosen as 2015 FASPE Business Fellow

Jacob Shmukler (MBA ’15), was chosen by FASPE (Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics) to be one of 12 business fellows who will participate in a two-week program in Germany this summer.

FASPE, a unique international ethics program now in its sixth year, explores the history of the Holocaust as a way to engage graduate students across five different fields (business, journalism, law, medicine, and religion) in an intensive study of contemporary ethics in their discipline. FASPE provides fellows with the opportunity to visit Auschwitz and travel in Germany and Poland, and helps them learn how to apply the lessons of history to the current ethical challenges they will confront in their own professions today and into the future.

Congratulations, Jacob!

Leave a comment

Forté Foundation Conferences for New & Returning Women at Darden

In previous blog posts, we have introduced you to the Forté Foundation, a group we partner with in their mission of launching women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, opportunities, and a community of successful women. Whether you are a newly admitted MBA student, or you are already part of the way through your degree, the Forté Foundation has a few events coming up in June:

For women newly admitted to the program, Forté’s Financial Services Fast Track is taking place in New York, NY, on 2–3 June 2015. An introduction for newly admitted MBA students interested in financial services, it provides an opportunity to learn more about the endless financial career possibilities for. The application deadline is 8 May 2015.

All MBA women are invited to attend The Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference in Washington, DC, on 19–20 June 2015. This year’s theme is “Let’s Power Up!” and will have thought-provoking speakers, customized sessions, and one-of-a-kind networking. The early-bird rate of $199 is available until 15 April 2015.

Darden student Rachel Penny (MBA ’15), who attended one of Forté’s conferences prior to her first year at Darden, tells us,

“What I loved most about attending the Forté Women’s Conference was being surrounded by so many intelligent, motivated women. Coming from a predominantly male-dominated industry, it was impressive to see the support system that women truly have in business through Forté and our schools.”

The conferences also provide new Darden students an opportunity to connect with classmates. Rachel adds, “I especially enjoyed meeting the other Darden women prior to coming to school, being able to build a foundation of friendship a few months prior to arriving.”

You can find more information about opportunities for women at Darden, including more about our partnership with the Forté Foundation, here.

Leave a comment

Alumna Profile: Hillary Lewis & LUMI Juice

When she enrolled at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business in 2011, Hillary Lewis was no stranger to eating on the go. Already a Wall Street veteran, she was committed to both a healthier lifestyle and to gaining the tools needed to help her become an entrepreneur.

But what was she going to sell?

It was at a local grocery store where Lewis got the idea for Lumi, a cold-pressed, organic juice made from fruit, vegetables and an extremely high-pressure system. She’d read the label of a juice manufactured in New York that used high-pressure processing, and she decided to bring the method to Charlottesville and create a completely organic juice product.

“You drink Lumi today and you’re like, ‘Whoa, it’s really intense,’ because it’s so much nutrition and so much flavor. It tastes the way food is supposed to taste,” she said.

Lewis began the business process while still at Darden. After the idea sparked, she built a plan alongside her co-founder, associate professor of business Kenneth Lichtendahl, who had robust experience in the beverage industry.

Mentor and assistant professor of business Yael Grushka-Cockayne was also integral in making the idea a reality, Lewis said. “I’m really bad at organizing, but really good at implementing – and [Grushka-Cockayne] made me sit down and think about all the steps I needed to do to make this happen, from the start to down the line. … Support across the board from Darden has been completely amazing.”

This post is an excerpt from a news story originally published by the University of Virginia. You can read the whole article on the UVA Today website.

Leave a comment

Round 3 Application Due Today

Darden’s Round 3 application to the full-time format of our MBA program is due today.

If you encounter technical difficulties, please simply sign-out and log back in. If this does not solve your issue, contact us at admissionstechsupport@darden.virginia.edu or call us at 1-434-924-7281.  Please note that after 5:00 pm EDT we prefer that you email us with any technical difficulties. We will respond as soon as possible.

Good luck and we look forward to reading your application!

Leave a comment

Round 2 Decisions are Out!

Round 2 decisions have been released! Please check your e-mail for a message indicating a change in your application status, or you can log into the application system to view your decision.

Congratulations to the newly admitted students to the Class of 2017!

Mug on Front Sign - Resize 750w

Leave a comment

Round 2 Decision Day is Tomorrow!

Round 2 Decision Day is tomorrow! We are very excited for the incoming Class of 2017. Get ready for your #FirstFirstCoffee.

Mug on Fountain - Resize 750w

Leave a comment

Faculty Profile: Saras D. Sarasvathy


mbaMission, an MBA admissions consulting firm, recently profiled Darden Professor Saras D. Sarasvathy in its blog.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

Students we interviewed feel that Sarasvathy, who has been an associate professor at Darden since 2004, is one of the up-and-coming scholars of entrepreneurship in the world. One alumnus described her to mbaMission as “very encouraging, supportive. She allows people to share ideas rather than looking for the right answer.” Another told us that he found himself in her “Starting New Ventures” class by mistake; he had lingered too long in the classroom after his previous class had ended and was still there when Sarasvathy’s class began. He was so impressed by her teaching that he added her course to his schedule, even though he was already overloaded.

You can read the entire profile about Saras on the mbaMission blog.

Darden is proud to have top-notch faculty members such as Saras. To learn more about Darden’s faculty, check out the Faculty section of our website.

Leave a comment

Rd 3 Application Tips Webinar

Are you applying to Darden in Round 3? The 1 April deadline is quickly approaching. If you have questions about your application or the admissions process, join us Tuesday, 24 March 2015 for a Q&A session with a Darden Admissions Committee member. Come get your questions answered, and make sure your application is the best it can be.

Tuesday, 24 March, 2015
12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

Leave a comment

Spring Break Update

Spring has finally arrived! In celebration, here is a quick update from MBA Admissions Dean Sara Neher.

Video: Admissions Blog: Spring Break Update

Leave a comment