A TCNJ graduate in Business Administration, Darrel Frater ‘15 returns to TCNJ as an inaugural student in the MBA program at The School of Business. A lifelong Trenton-Ewing resident, his experience has covered entrepreneurial pursuits in app development as well as advising.
Due to the numerous closings and cancellations during the Covid-19 pandemic, Frater has recently founded TheClub, an app he developed as a platform for DJs and musicians to host virtual parties and events. With over 1,000 streamers and several influencers and endorsements, the app has widely grown throughout the community, with the influence based on his co-founding background from PromSocial, a prom planning app for teens.
He also has acted as an advisor for the Mayo Business Plan Competition at TCNJ, as well as a mentor for high school students in the community. “I see everyone as equals, even when I speak to people ages 19-20 and even high school students as well. All people have the ability to build great businesses,” said Darrel. “It just takes your drive, takes your effort, and it takes the skills that you’ve developed and just how you know how much you want it.”
Within the sales, strategy, and leadership route, some of Darrel’s favorite courses in the MBA program include the product innovation, strategy, and negotiation classes. “As an entrepreneur and startup founder, I was able to learn things in real time in an applicable setting,” said Darrel. “When I speak to investors and speak to people, it’s very helpful for them to be able to leverage some of the words and some of the language that I use in those classes.”
Darrel appreciates TCNJ’s approachable size and connections to the industry. “Through the innovative structure of how they do the classes and the content and the professors that they have that are super passionate about what they’re teaching, I believe TCNJ is in a great position to be the number one MBA program in the world for entrepreneurs,” said Darrel.
Darrel hopes his MBA helps him move forward with investors as well as build advising and opportunities to support minorities who might not have the access to these resources for their small business ideas.
“I want to create a venture capital firm that enables founders that are from low income families, minorities, and women that are looking to start businesses but don’t have the access to capital and mentorship to do so. I believe it’s time for us to give more people access to the source of income and revenue and investment opportunities,” said Darrel. “But then also enable non accredited investors to also invest in these early stage startups, because I believe that there’s been a lot of wealth that’s happening and generating from investing in early stage technology companies.”
Advice for students: “I would suggest having some time off from undergrad [before graduate school]. This is my personal opinion, just because you learn a lot in the real world when you’re working at a job or in a business or your own business. Before you go and get a degree because when you’re getting your MBA or master’s, you want to know what you’re going to use it for. But you won’t really have a good sense of what you want to do in life until you work.”