Eller MBA Programs Launch Desert Angels Scholars Program

Dec. 9, 2020


Even during a time when company visits, field trips and in-person professional development events have come to a halt, the Eller College of Management’s MBA programs continue to find innovative ways for their students to “step outside” of the classroom and gain experience from connecting with business professionals—most recently with a new program that allows MBA students to peer inside the world of venture capital. 

With the creation of the Desert Angels Scholars program, nominated MBA students are given the opportunity to sit in on a virtual screening call with members of Desert Angels, a Tucson-based nonprofit organization of accredited investors that seeks opportunities to invest in regional startup and early-stage companies. During this screening call, invited entrepreneurs pitch their business concepts to the Desert Angels screening panel, which then selects a couple of pitches to present before the entire organization for funding consideration. 

During the screening call, the MBA students are considered honorary members of the screening committee, allowing them to review each pitch, question the entrepreneurs, discuss with the investors and even have a say in the process by voting for the pitches that they deem to be most viable. 

“After a number of current students expressed interest in investing and venture capital, we felt it was important to find a way for our students to meet with professionals working in the field,” says Cori Rodriguez, associate director of MBA student engagement initiatives at Eller. “We are very grateful to Desert Angels for their mentorship and willingness to share their expertise. 

“Being part of the Desert Angel's Scholars Program was a great and rewarding experience,” says Jacob Havlovick ’22 MBA. "Joining the Desert Angel's Scholars Program gave me insight into the experience of being an entrepreneur as well as some experience I can use to help propel myself into the venture capital industry.” 

“As someone who is interested in potentially entering into venture capital in the future, this program was very beneficial to my educational experience,” says Juan Balderas ’21 MBA. “I enjoyed participating in the presentations and appreciated the opportunity to ask my own questions during the pitches, to experience what it is like to be on the panel. It was an honor to be nominated for the program. I look forward to exploring this field more in the future.”