Georgetown McDonough Graduates Leverage Educational Experience in Startups

January 15, 2013

Entrepreneurial endeavors often start up in the classrooms of the Rafik B. Hariri Building, home of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Two recent startups by Georgetown graduates aim closer to home though, providing services for MBA students and alumni who share in the mission of serving business and society.

Serving the Startup Community

Dan Mullaney (C’00, MBA’12) founded his company, MBAProjectSearch.com, from the Global Business Experience that encompasses and defines the MBA programs at Georgetown McDonough. Inspired by the consulting project for a multinational company, he set out to replicate the experience and the benefits within the entrepreneurial community by linking startup companies with MBA students for freelance work and employment. The service is free for both companies and students, with optional fees for featuring projects.

“Taking into account my experience as a business owner before matriculating at Georgetown, I truly believe that the skills shown and insight provided could greatly serve the startup community,” Mullaney says. “I know that I could have used the assistance of a Georgetown MBA when I conceived of and worked on my first venture (BrokerLenderLink.com). I didn't know how to write a business plan or do any type of market analysis.”

Within four months of launching, MBAProjectSearch listed more than 800 projects, full-time jobs, and internships online, with participants from top MBA schools across the United States and internationally. Students have created business plans for nonprofits, developed social media marketing strategies, performed financial audits, and completed management consulting projects. They may earn class credit or compensation for their work.

Making Education More Accessible

Michael Taormina (BSBA’05) found a way to help his fellow classmates at Wharton to access more affordable financing for their MBA educations by building upon his undergraduate degree in finance and international business, his experience in asset management, and a strong desire to serve others. Taormina founded CommonBond with two other Wharton MBA students. The innovative loan alternative connects student borrowers with alumni investors and creates financial value for both sides of the equation.

 “As CFO of a financial services company, I use my finance degree from Georgetown every single day,” Taormina says. “A co-founder in a relatively early-stage startup needs to wear many hats to push the company forward. My Georgetown education provided the necessary toolkit to execute in the areas where the business has needed support and strong execution.”

He also credits Georgetown for instilling in him a desire to serve business and society, particularly though education.
 “The mission of our company is exactly in line with Jesuit values – to help make education more accessible. In the case of U.S. graduate students, we're helping to make education more affordable through the low-cost financing of student loans. We also have a Social Promise: for every degree we fund, we are funding the education of a student in the developing world for a full year. To date, we've partnered with the African School for Excellence – a network of secondary schools in Africa – to make good on our Social Promise.”

As a crowdfunding platform, CommonBond harnesses the power of community to provide financial value to both students and alumni. The company launched at Wharton in November, lending out $2.5 million to current students and recent graduates, and is expanding its loan program to other business schools – including the McDonough School of Business – in 2013.