New UVA Darden Initiative Expands Career Development and Experiential Learning Opportunities in Venture Capital

By Jay Hodgkins

 The University of Virginia Darden School of Business today announced the launch of the Venture Capital Initiative (VCI), which will provide degree program students with a suite of curricular, experiential and professional offerings to support their interests and long-term career pursuits in the venture capital industry.

Led by a team of faculty and staff from the Batten Institute, Darden Career Center and Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management, the initiative will build on Darden’s existing strength in the VC industry in teaching, career support and faculty thought leadership. Professor Elena Loutskina has been named academic director of the initiative.

“There has been rapid growth in private investing markets in the last 20 years, and Darden students have increasingly expressed a strong interest in pursuing careers in alternative investing, such as venture capital,” said Loutskina. “This initiative will ensure Darden develops cohesive curricular and co-curricular programming and engages a broader network of practitioners so that the School and our students stay at the leading edge of this growing field.”

Darden students seeking to establish or enhance their knowledge of the venture capital industry can take advantage of several curricular and co-curricular programs during their two years at Darden. Whether the ultimate goal is to work in venture capital long term, or to build a stronger base of knowledge to support entrepreneurial ambitions, the VCI offers students a wealth of resources.

“With only about 1,000 active VC funds in the United States, venture capital is a notoriously difficult field to enter.” said Robyn Swift, senior director of strategic initiatives for the Batten Institute and administrative lead for the VCI. “Students will always need to hustle in order to create career opportunities in venture. However, with Darden’s dynamic alumni network, faculty expertise, dedicated career support, and curricular and experiential learning opportunities, the Venture Capital Initiative will be a powerful resource to help all Darden students gain exposure to the industry and, for those committed to the field, pursue career opportunities.”

Scholarships and Career Support

The initiative will seek to continue the strong track record of Darden students earning MBA internships at venture capital funds. This summer, 14 students in the Class of 2022 completed highly sought-after internships with top venture capital funds in the U.S. and abroad. The School also plans to increase the number of Darden-supported internship opportunities through the new Darden Venture Fellows program.

As part of that effort, the VCI will help advance diversity in the field of asset management through support for Darden’s Breakthrough Scholars program, which offers scholarships and mentorship to a cohort of women and under-represented minorities seeking to pursue careers in alternative investing.

Additional student and career development programs the initiative supports include the Batten Venture Internship Program and the Mayo Center Investment Fellowships. It also provides resources for education and networking opportunities presented through student-run clubs, such as Darden Capital Management, which allows students to manage a multimillion investment portfolio, the Darden Private Equity Club (DPEC) and the Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Club (EVC).

 “The professors, alumni and support system at Darden give students and our clubs incredible access to the knowledge, experiences and network that are critical to forge a path into venture capital,” said Adriana Gadala-Maria (Class of 2022), president of the EVC club, who completed her MBA internship at VC firm Glynn Capital Management. “The Venture Capital Initiative is going to take Darden to the next level serving students who want to develop their interest in alternative investing.

Curricular and Experiential Opportunities

The initiative will lead the expansion of Darden’s venture capital and alternative investment course offerings, events and workshops, and help build a broader VC community within UVA.

Darden offers more than two dozen courses that develop skills and knowledge relevant to VC, including electives such as “Venture Capital,” “Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity,” “Due Diligence in Seed Funds” and “Venture Velocity.” The initiative will also support independent studies and projects with VC firms, and develop insight on VC firm performance, best practices and related investment opportunities.

The School’s faculty, consistently ranked the best in graduate business education, brings a breadth of experience and influential thought leadership in asset management. Loutskina, 2019 winner of the UVA Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award and a teacher of several alternative investing courses at Darden, is joined by notable thought leaders in finance and entrepreneurial education, including Professors Rustam Abuzov, Susan Chaplinsky, Greg Fairchild, John Glynn, Pedro Matos and Ting Xu. Glynn, founder of Glynn Capital Management, and his wife, Barbara, recently made a $3 million gift — matched by the UVA Bicentennial Professors Fund, leading to $5 million in total impact — to create the John and Barbara Glynn Chair in Venture Capital Fund, which will enable Darden to recruit an influential expert in venture capital to join the School as a professor. The search for the new chair is being led by Loutskina and Fairchild and Darden is entertaining nominations and applications.

Glynn has taught the popular “Venture Capital” course at Darden for more than 30 years, and the gift empowers Darden’s plans to expand its reach in the venture capital space.

“Together through the Venture Capital Initiative, support from donors and our incredible alumni network with deep connections in the field, Darden is building an ecosystem to launch the next generation of responsible leaders and develop cutting-edge thought leadership in alternative investing,” said Dean Scott Beardsley. “We are also putting in place an advisory board of outstanding practitioners to support the VCI.  The initiative will be a tremendous resource for Darden students for generations to come.”

To learn more about the Darden Venture Capital Initiative, email

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. 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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