Recovery From Near-Fatal Accident Sparks Recent Graduate’s Entrepreneurship

By Carl Briggs

University of Virginia Darden School of Business alumnus Ali Barta’s (MBA ’18) drive to start an herbal wellness company came after a freak accident left her with a broken back and a variety of lingering ailments. As she recovered, Barta began to develop Nuna Med, which will soon release its first product, a tea intended to treat chronic urinary tract infections.

Barta, a past participant in the incubator program at the W.L. Lyons Brown III i.Lab, graduated with a master of public policy degree from UVA’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy alongside her MBA, and is now focused squarely on running her fledgling business.

The combination of classes from Batten and Darden prepared her to navigate government regulations and to maintain a business focus.

“There are many more regulations within the herbal supplements industry than I imagined going into this – from guidelines in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 to label requirements, to some of the do’s and don’ts related to good manufacturing practices compliance,” she said. But, “I’ve wanted to make sure that everything that Nuna Med is doing is at as high of a level as it can be — dotting the ‘i’s’ and crossing the ‘t’s.’ So many companies make compromises on quality to cut costs, and I refuse to let Nuna Med be one of them.”

She noted that Batten professor Randy Lutter’s “Federal Regulatory Policy” course and former Batten professor Eric Patashnik’s “Health Care Policy” course were two courses that served her particularly well starting Nuna Med.

As for Darden, “I am certainly glad that it’s a general management MBA program!” she said, since she anticipates that she will rely heavily on everything from Mary Margaret Frank’s taxation course to Tim Kraft’s operations classes to Damon DeVito and Saras Sarasvathy’s entrepreneurship courses.

“I am going to miss the classroom environment because I’ve learned so much from my classmates and their various experiences,” Barta said. “I’ve also really enjoyed meeting so many incredible people in the process of getting Nuna Med up and running. I can’t wait to finally be selling, beginning with helping people one urinary tract challenge at a time.”

Read the full story on UVA Today.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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