The Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management were happy hosts for the 2024 University of Virginia Venture Capital Conference (UVAVCC) at Darden Sands Family Grounds in Rosslyn, Virginia. This year, the conference explored how market conditions influence venture capital activity across sectors including defense, cybersecurity, health care and consumer goods.

We caught up with two Full-Time MBA students to hear about their experience at the conference.

Dominik F. Kirchdorfer is a student in the Full-Time MBA Class of 2024.

Dominik F. Kirchdorfer, Full-Time MBA Class of 2024.

“As an entrepreneur in training, one’s career and salary prospects can look bleak and meager in comparison to one’s MBA peers who are about to venture into lucrative consulting and investment banking careers. But it is events like the UVA Venture Capital Conference that shine a light on the beauty and opportunities of the entrepreneurial journey.

Not only did we all gain great insights about the current state of the market, policy-making in D.C. and how to successfully pitch to investors, from entrepreneurs and venture capitalists alike, but we were also able to form lasting connections with each other and the other participants of the conference. In my case, I was able to discuss my startup with several investors and have already received a warm introduction to a top startup accelerator. You really cannot ask for more!”

Babatunde Ogunleye-Johnson is a student in the Full-Time MBA Class of 2024.

Babs Ogunleye-Johnson, Full-Time MBA Class of 2024.

“Darden VC Conference 2024 was a significantly enlightening experience, with tremendous real-world insights from practitioners across the landscape of the venture ecosystem, including LPs, GPs, entrepreneurs, and VC Policy Experts from the NVCA.

One of my biggest takeaways was learning about the groundbreaking work of the newly established Office of Strategic Capital at the DoD (led by Director Jason Rathje) and the multiple venture-enhancing funding initiatives that the office is catalyzing to stimulate and attract private capital to sectors that may not otherwise be as attractive to traditional VC investors.

It was heartwarming to learn about programs such as the Small Business Investment Companies (SBIC) and Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR), among other financing programs, to support and nurture venture ecosystems nationwide. It suffices to say that the VC conference confirmed that the venture ecosystem is adequately future-proof and will continue to foster innovations and support promising entrepreneurs to build notable companies in the U.S. for many years.”

Darden is committed to supporting entrepreneurship through its work with the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology.

Check out these other stories about successful ventures happening on Grounds as entrepreneurs at Darden prepared for this year’s conference.

In this Experience Darden episode, two second year students in Darden’s Full-Time MBA Class of 2024, Malcolm Stewart and Ellie Jamison, talk about Venture Capital at Darden – what resources and courses are available to students, advice for prospective students interested in VC and more.

Plus, a Q&A on The Darden Report with Darden alumni Matthew Kemph (EMBA ’23) and Caitlin Mavraganis (MBA ’11) currently working in venture capital.

Q&A: Darden Alumni Leaders Share Venture Capital Insight