To say a Richmond MBA student will get a unique experience in Rick DeJarnette’s new class is an understatement.

The owner of CapRock Venture Guides, nominated for Blue Ridge Outdoors adventurer of the year, and management consultant at CapTech, will be a new adjunct professor at The Richmond MBA starting in spring of 2018.

“My plan is to incorporate climbing into the class,” DeJarnette said of his new venture. “I want it to be practical, meaningful, and I want us to challenge each other. It should be an opportunity to get students out of their comfort zone.”

DeJarnette founded CapRock Venture Guides, a company that takes groups of professionals outside for climbing and professional development, in August of 2016, while continuing to serve as a management consultant at CapTech. Then in the summer of 2017, he reached out to Dr. Randy Raggio, director of the The Richmond MBA in hopes of giving students the same experience he has provided Fortune 500 executives, government leaders, start-ups, and non-profit leadership teams.

“Unlike The Richmond MBA, many programs have too much emphasis on the quantitative aspect of the MBA, presenting a perspective of certainty, sometimes at the expense of recognizing the uncertainty of the business world,” DeJarnette said. “Within The Richmond MBA, I want to create a forum that recognizes both the presence and value of uncertainty, which helps us become better decision makers when we face it.”

As DeJarnette explains, CapRock Venture Guides is all about climbing to learn.

“When you’re climbing, you have a plan, you act according to it, but then there are variables that are out of your control,” DeJarnette said. “It’s the same way in business. Part of being an effective guide is knowing what variables can change, and proactively engaging them in a way that maximizes the positive outcome you want to achieve with your clients.”

He says there is nothing like being out climbing, and then facing a sudden, uncontrollable change to your plan.

“Things like weather, or rock fall, all those different components; you have to be able to decide how to handle them in a way that will make a positive outcome for you. And it’s the same way with your clients,” DeJarnette says.

He hopes to bring this unique perspective to Richmond MBA students.

“I want students to become better decision makers, and help them learn how to manage and control some of those variables of change,” DeJarnette said. “I think my perspective is that of a person who is in the trenches with them. As a consultant, I’m still working on a daily basis to try to solve challenging client problems.” 

Dr. Randy Raggio, director of The Richmond MBA, says DeJarnette has a unique combination of skills and experience he can share with students.

“With CapTech, he develops large-scale change management strategies.  With CapRock Venture Guides, he coaches individual leaders and teams,” Raggio said. “Regardless of where our student are – or want to be – he has the experience and ability to help them cultivate the skillset of foresight.”

Raggio says the school is fortunate to have him working with students this spring, and he looks forward to what they will experience in DeJarnette’s class.

“What’s unique is a way to use the class as a catalyst for something greater, instead of a means of transferring information,” DeJarnette said. “Everybody makes good and bad decisions over the course of their career, and I want to help increase the number of good ones.”