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Nontraditional Career Paths: Pursing Entrepreneurship and Growth

I started my MBA program at UVA’s Darden School of Business knowing that I wanted to leverage my new degree to build my own business but was unsure of what to build or where to even began. However, that entrepreneurial idea came during my first few weeks on campus after I was struck by the sheer breadth of opportunity available to MBAs at top programs.

That seed of an idea became RelishMBA and, eventually, RelishCareers, a hiring marketplace for graduate students and alumni and the companies that hire them. Working with a variety of stakeholders in the MBA recruiting arena to build our platform, a classmate and I launched RelishMBA out of UVA’s iLab incubator in 2014.

The response to our initial pilot was strong enough that, even as we watched numerous classmates accept much safer and more lucrative offers in industry, we pledged to continue building the platform after graduation.

That building process was not always easy, but a commitment to the project and growing traction in the market helped us to stay on track despite the obstacles. Within a year of graduating in 2015, we had raised a seed round of financing and had expanded our services to help with both business and engineering graduate degrees.

And as we watched our business school classmates continue to grow and develop their own careers, we started doing some hiring of our own, growing the RelishCareers team to keep up with the needs of our users and clients.

And just last month, we hit a milestone I never thought we’d hit when I started the company all those years ago: we acquired another recruiting business!

Bringing a new business into the RelishCareers family has not only provided tremendous value to our users, but it has also been personally meaningful for me as validation of my choice to embark on this sometimes perilous entrepreneurial journey.

I hope that my story can inspire other female MBAs to pursue their own entrepreneurial dreams – stick with it through thick and thin, and you just might find yourself reaching heights you never imagined when you started.

Sarah Rumbaugh is the CEO of RelishCareers, an online platform that helps master’s-level business school students connect directly with corporate recruiters. Available to students and alumni from network schools, RelishCareers gives candidates access to employer branding and MBA and MS-specific career exploration resources (including exclusive webinars).