Career, Executive MBA

Catching Up With Executive MBA Entrepreneurs: Part 2

By Brett Twitty-

Today, we continue our look at entrepreneurship in the Executive MBA program with a spotlight on two more entrepreneurs in the Executive MBA Class of 2020. Read on for details about their ventures and find out how their Darden experiences helped them with their businesses.

If you missed our earlier post, be sure to check out part one in the series. We also recommend reading last year’s overview about entrepreneurship and the executive formats.

Erin Tollini (Class of 2020)

Company: Expand My Tribe

Listen: The ExecMBA Podcast No. 120 with Erin Tollini

Tell us about your startup.

My venture addresses isolation and loneliness, an increasing threat to physical health and psychological well-being, with an app and website aimed to foster social connectedness. 

For real sense of connection, the crucial factor is social relations that are deep, not merely large in number — having in-depth authenticity and meaningfulness is essential. It is widely accepted that social media has allowed individuals to develop broad networks, although often at the expense of quality relationships.

Ironically, technology can also be the bridge between the gap of social isolation and forming in-person connections. Though apps have gained traction in enabling users to find dates and groups of people with similar interests, there is still a gap in the market for an app to help users find authentic and meaningful personal relationships.

How has Darden helped you? 

Darden has helped with my startup by:

  • Having a range of entrepreneurial electives available, including an independent study
  • Hosting a well of resources and encouragement, from both faculty and fellow students
  • Providing a tool kit and confidence that, as a leader, I can attack seemingly intractable problems and daunting initiatives
  • Ensuring that I am confident in my skills and knowledge to build a team and be an effective leader

Stephen Weir (Class of 2020)

Company: Weir Consulting

Listen: The ExecMBA Podcast No. 114 with Stephen Weir

Tell us about your startup.

Weir Consulting is a boutique consulting firm focused on providing fractional CFO and other services to small businesses who need the expertise but are likely unable to afford or attract the talent needed to provide those key functions.

How has Darden helped? 

It’s hard to overstate how impactful the entrepreneurial-focused courses have been. My attitude toward entrepreneurship shifted from believing I needed to know my destination, to believing I needed to assess my resources (skills, network, passions) and see how I could create value. Beyond just the attitudinal shift, the network of classmates has been invaluable as a source of encouragement and place to bounce ideas.

Check out faculty thought leadership published on Ideas to ActionAnd stay connected with us via social media: FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitterWeChat