After several years of quantitative consulting work, John Greenfield (MBA ’16) was ready to pursue a different path — and he chose Darden to get there.
“As a consultant, you don’t own decision-making in the same way as someone inside the client’s company,” he said. “In my career, I was looking for opportunities where I would be challenged to make difficult decisions in ambiguous situations, and to live with the consequences of those decisions.”
Specifically, he wanted to learn how to succeed in small, high-growth companies building revolutionary new technology. And he felt that Darden was uniquely positioned to help him develop the mindset—and skill set—he needed.
The case method approach “brings discipline to situations where everything is possible,” Greenfield said. “The bias at Darden is toward action, and I think that’s critically important in technology companies and even more so in technology startups.
While at Darden, Greenfield was elected president of the Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital (EVC) Club, which works closely with the Batten Institute. Through one of their initiatives, the Batten Venture Internship Program, he received funding support for a summer internship at PsiKick, a Santa Clara, California, and Charlottesville, Virginia, based technology startup that builds batteryless sensor systems for the industrial market. He continued working with PsiKick throughout his Second Year, and joined the company full-time in a business development and operations role after graduating in May.
During his time at Darden, he also co-founded a company with two neurosurgeons (one an MD/MBA classmate) called Janus.io to improve the care of patients with movement disorders through modern technology. In the spring of 2016, the three founders brought on David Maruna (GEMBA ’16) as CEO and earned the company a spot in the i.Lab Incubator. They are now raising their first round of outside capital to pilot the technology with the UVA Health System.
Greenfield remains involved with the Batten Institute, both through Janus.io and the i.Lab, and as a member of the Batten Advisory Council, where he is continuing the work of the EVC Club to help students engage with the entrepreneurial and venture capital communities in Charlottesville and beyond. He expects to stay involved in the creation and growth of new technology ventures long-term, perhaps including moving onto the funding side. He is confident Darden has given him the preparation he needed to succeed and thrive, in spite of not knowing what challenges future roles will bring.
“Darden was a truly wonderful choice,” he said. “I’m grateful every day for the lessons I learned from the exceptional faculty, the driven and dedicated students and the broader community of alumni who have welcomed me into the Darden family with open arms.”