UVA Darden Alumnus Inspired by Entrepreneurship That Is Great and Good

By Jay Hodgkins

University of Virginia Darden School of Business alumnus Naresh Kumra (MBA ’99) has counseled younger students from his hometown of Punjab, India, and elsewhere for decades about education and careers. Through La Rochelle Ventures Ltd., an investment firm he founded in 2012, Kumra also became an angel investor in Asia-based companies that target global markets, with a goal to help young entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.

In a profile on Darden’s Alumni Spotlight, the Hong Kong-based Kumra recently shared how he found his career path and how he’s working to pay it forward for those who grew up like him in a small town with limited resources.

The guidance Naresh Kumra (MBA ’99) provides entrepreneurs to build their business ventures has roots in Rajpura, a small town in Punjab, India, where he grew up. Only a handful of students there went on to university at the time, and Kumra was one of them.

While good grades and determination helped him gain admission to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), he says luck also played a role. He wants younger generations coming up to have more opportunities.

“Given my experience, I am most motivated by reducing the luck factor for the many talented students from small towns who may not have the same chances,” he says. “So education, equal opportunity and entrepreneurship are big themes for me.”

More recently, Kumra has begun incubating ventures, helping young professionals become business owners in consumer tech, B2C brands and ecommerce. He says he learns a lot from the creative ways the entrepreneurs solve problems.

“They usually have insights that aren’t commonplace. They are just made different — the way they look at things and analyze, their courage, tenacity, passion, humility, learning mindset. In nearly every interaction, I walk away thinking I got more out of it than I gave as an adviser,” he says.

Read the full profile on Darden’s Alumni Spotlight. 

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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