In this week’s guest post, First Year student Sarah Rumbaugh outlines how aspiring entrepreneurs benefit from the Darden MBA program:
“When applying to MBA programs, I looked for schools fostering high community engagement, a superior educational environment, and robust entrepreneurial opportunities. Undisputedly, Darden has been recognized for its academic program and community based environment pronounced through the case method style of instruction that pushes students inside and outside the classroom to be better prepared to articulate opinions, convince classmates of arguments and ultimately to be well equipped for the workforce upon graduation.
Little did I know prior to visiting campus and learning more about the program, the Darden School of Business would also offer me the entrepreneurial resources and opportunities to pursue my entrepreneurial aspirations.
The Princeton Review’s annual 2013 rankings placed Darden No. 5 on its list of the “Top 25 Graduate Entrepreneurship Programs for 2014.” Darden has been putting its stamp on the entrepreneurial ground for some time now. The MBA program offers services that keep aspiring entrepreneurs engaged in competitions and networking events, connecting them with community and alumni entrepreneurs, and offering an Incubator accelerator program for students starting businesses.
The following opportunities and resources have been truly valuable to my entrepreneurial pursuits while at Darden:
The Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club
The Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club is a student-run club that connects members with other First and Second Year members, Charlottesville community entrepreneurs and alumni entrepreneurs. The club prepares students for entrepreneurial competitions, the i.Lab Incubator application, and ultimately a career in entrepreneurship.
Second Year club members share their perspectives and experiences in entrepreneurship with First Years. Networking events with alumni and Charlottesville community entrepreneurs are held, enabling students to form lasting connections with potential mentors, advisor and investors. Panel presentations consisting of Second Year students who successfully competed in entrepreneurial competitions the year prior provide First Years with valuable perspectives and insight on how to best position their business pitches and business plans for upcoming competitions and events.
The Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Darden’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, supported by the Batten Institute, is a $100M endowed center of excellence at Darden. The center is dedicated to supporting students through knowledge about entrepreneurship and innovation and to cultivating principled entrepreneurial leaders. The center runs the i.Lab Incubator accelerator program, and advises students on their entrepreneurial pursuits, preparing them for the Incubator application, and seeing participants through the Incubator program.
W.L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory (i.Lab)
The i.Lab is the center for the Incubator Program. It supports development of promising early-stage business ventures by providing participants funding, faculty and student support, office space, access to technological expertise, and free legal services. The Incubator strives to educate participants about new-venture development, foster formation of start-up businesses, and create an entrepreneurial community that facilitates mutual support.
The Incubator is a one-year program starting in May with a full-time 10 week summer internship and subsequent continued support, commitment, and activity following your internship from August to April.
Students interested in entrepreneurship have multiple opportunities to pitch business ideas to investors, peers, faculty, alumni, business leaders and the broader UVA entrepreneurial community through entrepreneurial competitions.
Competitions include the Concept Competition, a preliminary event encouraging the development of new business ventures; UVA Entrepreneurship Cup, a university-wide competition that decides the ultimate entrepreneurial concept champion for the entire UVA community; Effectual De-Risking Competition, which encourages students to create business concepts with self-selected stakeholders while reducing the risks associated with launching businesses; and the Business Plan Competition 2.0, which focuses on the value of the business.
The Batten Venture Internship Program (BVIP)
BVIP is a summer internship program that subsidizes summer internships for students interested in working at a venture capital, start-up or small-scale business organizations. The program provides students interested in entrepreneurship with the opportunity to experience venture capital or small-scale side of entrepreneurship firsthand.
These entrepreneurial services have enabled me to stay on top of my entrepreneurial pursuits while simultaneously undergoing a rigorous academic program. The resources available at Darden for students interested in entrepreneurship create an entrepreneurial environment as interactive and demanding as traditional MBA industry recruiting. Darden begins preparing aspiring entrepreneurs from day one of the MBA program, offering unparalleled services, recourses and networking opportunities.”
Sarah Rumbaugh is a First Year student at the Darden School of Business. Prior to business school, she worked in management consulting at Booz Allen Hamilton supporting government clients on cyber security and information security engineering solutions. At Darden, Sarah is working on development of an MBA recruiting tool for three key users: MBA students and alumni, MBA recruiting companies and MBA career services centers.