Darden MBAs Launch Matchmaking Platform For MBAs, Recruiters

Companies can search student profiles by industry experience and preference, function experience and preference, location preference, MBA school, undergraduate major, other graduate degrees, and years of work experience.

“The filters for students and employers are catered for the MBA market, removing unnecessary filters and focusing on key elements students and employers statistically look for, while still allowing them to cast a wide net,” Rumbaugh says.

She and Mayo learned through their discovery process that employers – flying recruiters around for events at schools, paying fees for campus recruiting events, sponsoring schools, and buying resume books – spend about $15,000 making a new MBA hire, three to four times the cost of recruiting a non-MBA, Rumbaugh says.


Last year, the two ran a pilot of their service at Darden that served as their proof of concept and Minimum Viable Product prototype. They signed up two-thirds of Darden’s MBA students and brought on 30 companies, including Google, Amazon, Bain & Company, Deloitte, Accenture, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Barclays, Home Depot, Corning, DuPont, and UPS. Because students don’t apply for positions through the site, Rumbaugh and Mayo haven’t determined whether any jobs came out of the pilot. They’re now working with a handful of companies to track outcomes, Rumbaugh says.

Along with the Darden MBAs who have been rolled into the new platform after participating in the pilot, a small number of students from top-10 schools signed on to RelishMBA in advance of the platform’s opening, and students from other schools can participate now that it’s launched, Rumbaugh says. “We haven’t marketed our platform to other schools at all yet, but we have the appropriate channels and contacts in place to push marketing at each school once we launch,” she says.

In the week before the launch, RelishMBA had on board Morgan Stanley, Bain, 3M, manufacturing and tech firm Emerson, and DuPont. Rumbaugh and Mayo are working with the majority of the 30 companies that participated in the pilot, plus another 50, to bring more employers aboard before the upcoming recruiting season, Rumbaugh says.

Jack Oakes, Darden career services

Jack Oakes, Darden career development

Rumbaugh, in developing RelishMBA, had consulted with Darden’s assistant dean for career development, Jack Oakes. Oakes and his colleagues were impressed with how quickly she identified a market opportunity through her own MBA experience, and with the focus she applied to creating the company, Oakes says. Among MBA candidates, recruiting “can be a huge burden for many,” Oakes says. RelishMBA’s capability to allow companies and students to present a branded profile stands as a primary strength, as does its broad net that connects students with companies that may not make recruiting visits to their campus, Oakes believes. “That’s the power of a platform like this, there are so many companies that aren’t going to spend the money to go to a dozen schools,” Oakes says.


On the downside is the reality that RelishMBA would add yet another online system to those students are already using, including Darden’s own platform, the recruiting platform of competitor MBA Focus, and recruitment functions on Symplicity.com.

The startup grew out of Rumbaugh’s own foray into MBA education. A Booz Allen Hamilton senior consultant and information security engineer for three years, she’d come to Darden for the management knowledge an MBA would provide – plus the time, resources, and connections that would allow her to fulfill her ambition of becoming an entrepreneur. When she realized how all-consuming the recruiting process was, her enterprise path emerged.

“I knew that’s where my startup was going to operate,” says Rumbaugh, 27. “It took six months to find a solution to the problem.”

Mayo, before Darden, had spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda, then worked in marketing for a Tennessee company and started an e-commerce business selling skin and hair products made from argan oil pressed by a women’s cooperative in Morocco. He was on a full-tuition entrepreneurship scholarship at Darden. A section-mate of Rumbaugh’s, he joined the startup at the end of the first school year. The two worked on the business full time through their second year.

University of Virginia iLab - iLab photo

University of Virginia iLab – iLab photo

They were accepted into the University of Virginia iLab incubator, which takes no equity and provided a $5,000 expense stipend. Rumbaugh and Mayo each received a $5,000 lump-sum salary stipend for Darden students doing a startup for the summer instead of an internship. They took advantage of iLab’s workshops, did collaborative work among 15 other startups, had consultation time with a UVA law student, and received mentoring sessions. Most valuable were the connections with potential customers and users – MBA students and employers who hire MBAs – and potential investors, Rumbaugh says.

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