If you’re interested in starting your own venture, or just learning more about how entrepreneurs think, act and create, the Darden School has a host of resources (including scholarships!) to help make your ambitions a reality.

Among the newest entrepreneurial offerings is Darden Connect, an immersion program launched by Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation that has placed MBA students in the field in areas such entrepreneurial hotbeds as the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin, Texas. On the most recent Connect trips, students met with a diverse range of early stage, venture-backed companies and leaders in the venture capital space — many of whom are Darden alumni.

In addition to learning more about the industries, students forge connections with a network of potential mentors and advisers.

In a recent news story, Cara Jankowski (Class of 2020), reflected on the experience.

“The wealth of knowledge between Paul, Matt and T.R. was awe-inspiring,” said Cara Jankowski (Class of 2020). “The true Darden pride was awesome to see. Hearing their advice about navigating the space throughout their careers and their paths getting there was something I will carry with me moving forward.”

Jankowski, also a Batten Institute 2019 Technology Venture Fellow, will spend her summer in Austin working for Bright Health through her TVF sponsor, Adair Newhall (MBA ’09) of Greenspring Associates.

“As someone who is interested in both early stage companies and VC, Darden Connect was truly the best of both worlds,” Jankowski said. “In San Francisco and Austin, we were able to talk to entrepreneurs about their personal journeys and businesses, as well as hear from VCs about their investment strategies, industries and areas of focus. I couldn’t recommend this program more for anyone interested in startups, building your own company or VC — or all three.”

Darden is experiencing growing interest from top prospective MBA students who are looking to pursue historically nontraditional MBA career paths into the venture space, during or immediately after business school. As Darden’s Batten Institute continues to deliver on its mission to provide the world’s best educational experience in entrepreneurship and innovation, the institute plans to continue expanding Connect to additional markets in the 2019–20 academic year, such as New York, Atlanta and Denver/Boulder.

Read more about the Darden Connect progam.