We continue our Executive MBA student spotlight series with a post featuring Daniel Wilcox (Class of 2023). Wilcox is currently based in Oakland, California, and he has built a career working for early stage ventures across a wide range of industries — from consumer packaged goods to telemedicine to pet care.

Read on to learn more about Daniel’s story, and if you’re new to the series, be sure to catch up on on all of our recent Executive MBA student profile posts – Rachel Smolkin (Class of 2023), Slavomir Zapata (Class of 2023), Matthew Vann (Class of 2023) and Matthew Boyd (Class of 2023).

Looking for even more student stories? Add The ExecMBA Podcast to your weekly download! New episodes publish every Friday, and the podcast features conversations with members of the UVA Darden Executive MBA community, including students, alumni, faculty and staff. Our latest episodes feature:

Daniel Wilcox, Class of 2023

Q: What is your current role? What is your professional/academic background?

A: I am the Head of Customer Experience at Dutch, a new veterinary telemedicine start-up based in Oakland, California. We connect pet parents with veterinarians virtually and we create additional value for our customers by shipping the medications our vets prescribe directly to their homes. Dutch follows my career trend of helping early-stage companies such as Roman (telemedicine) and BarkBox (dogs!) scale from Seed and Series A rounds to multi-million dollar companies. Given my background with telehealth, direct to consumer operations and pets, Dutch has been a great fit and has provided me with invigorating challenges and opportunities that makes working at a startup so engaging.

I studied theatre and social psychology at Bennington College in Vermont and spent a few years in Europe touring with a theatre company – these experiences taught me how to be scrappy and creative which lends itself well to the start-up space.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

A: Given that my early studies focused on the arts, all of my business training has been on the job. And while that’s invaluable, I felt I hit a point in my career where some formal education would serve me as I continue to advance and grow. As an EMBA further along in my career, it felt like the right time to develop my entrepreneurial muscle through MBA course offerings while also getting to know other young professionals hungry to advance their careers.

Q: What led you to Darden?

A: The Admissions team! I joke, but in all seriousness, Darden is a place for people that are kind, open, curious and engaging. My kind of people. Having been here for 7 months, I see how much the admission process and admission team authentically mirror the energy and pathos of the program. Being among one of the top business schools with some of the best professors in the world doesn’t hurt either!

Q: What has been the impact of your Darden experience so far?

Daniel Wilcox (Class of 2023) with Chica

A: I consume news and information with a richer understanding of the levers and mechanisms that shape our economic foundation. In our first quarter I took Global Economy and Markets with Dan Murphy and it’s fascinating to see how people’s expectations of market behavior intersect with the monetary and fiscal policies that are constantly seeking stability and equilibrium. At a time of such great volatility and strife across the globe, these foundational classes, and discussions about lessons from the past and observations from today have been illuminating. As a budding leader, developing that macro lens and mindset is critical when making decisions about your business and what consumer behavior will be like. Darden is giving me that and it’s just the beginning.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for prospective students?

A: Don’t write an application you think you want them to hear – write the truth! If you are going through the rigor of applying to business school, you know you want to do it. Lean into that truth…and make sure to take your friends out to dinner who are especially good at editing!