Darden grad Peter Boyd (JD/MBA ’10) started his medical device career at Vapotherm (NYSE:VAPO) as a Batten Venture Internship Program (BVIP) intern. Through BVIP, Darden offers the chance for early-stage companies, VC firms, or recently-acquired closely-held enterprises to have a summer MBA intern. The program’s goal is to provide students interested in startups with the opportunity to assist companies in meaningful ways. In doing so, students gain entrepreneurial experience and companies with limited funds benefit from having talented MBA students for the summer.

Now, Peter serves as CEO for Sonnest, a pre-clinical stage cardiac diagnostic and therapeutic imaging company. Peter sees the value having since hosted students as interns and is actively recruiting through BVIP for two of his startups — Sonnest and ReGelTec, a firm developing the next generation of spinal implants for chronic lower back pain due to degenerative disc disease.

Also seeking BVIP interns is rapidly growing retail startup Perishable Shipping Solutions, a firm introduced by Darden professor Timothy Laseter.

“As a professor of practice, I seek to connect students to the practitioner world and the BVIP helps make this possible even for a small company with limited funding,” Laseter says. “The founding team at PSS were excited when we shared this opportunity with them.”

Know of an early stage company, VC, or search fund in need of MBA intern support?

Darden encourages such firms to hire an MBA intern via the BVIP program. Find common BVIP FAQs and more information below.

How does the BVIP program work?
You create an account in the Darden jobs portal and post your internship (job title, company description, proposed project, company contact). Then, you’ll review candidates, interview, and make an offer. Read more information regarding the program.

Do I have to know exactly what the project is?
No. The scope of work can be defined in advance, or along with the intern to build upon their strengths. Life moves quickly at startups and what is needed in February might not be what is needed in June. Past projects include competitive analysis, due diligence, marketing strategy, process improvement, or business plan creation. Rarely does a BVIP intern work on just one project.

What happens when I am ready to hire?
You extend an offer letter to the student committing to a 10-week internship for the summer. You agree to pay at a minimum $5,000 if you are based outside of the greater Charlottesville area, or $4,000 if the student will remain in Charlottesville. The student then requests the matching funds.

Can I pay the student more than the minimum?
Yes! Companies are encouraged to pay more than the minimum required. In addition to stipends, companies have covered travel expenses, or provided food, transportation or other perks during the summer internship.

Can I hire more than one intern?
Absolutely, pending available funds.

Is my company eligible?
If you are with an early-stage startup, venture capital firm, search fund, or recently acquired closely held enterprise, then likely, yes. If the company is approaching unicorn status, we recommend paying students’ per the market rate. Reference Darden’s 2019–20 Employment Report for internship salary trends.

What about full-time offers?
If your company is growing and able to extend a full-time offer, great! We understand that early stage companies often aren’t in a position to make an offer, so it is not expected.

Can a BVIP company be a family business?
Yes – just not the intern’s family! Hire a Darden classmate if an intern is needed.

If I post an internship, are we guaranteed an intern?
The market for Darden students is competitive, so potentially not all posted internships will be filled.

If I post an internship, are we required to hire an intern?
No. If after reviewing candidates no fit is found, the company can opt not to extend an offer.

What if I have more questions?
Contact Jenny Zenner, senior director of technology and startup careers, or MJ Toms, Batten Institute director of education and experiential learning.