Student-Created MBA Classes: Impact Investing

Darden students have the ability to shape and mold their own educations. One recent example of this is the pair of students who created their own class about an emerging business topic — impact investing.

Recently, MBA Admissions Dean Sara Neher sat down with one of the co-founders of the impact investing class. Watch the video below to learn more about how he was able to create his own class and the unique opportunities he and his classmates have gained because of it.

Video: Admissions Talk Show: Impact Investing

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50 Years of Women at Darden — Part 4

Continuing our series celebrating 50 years of women at Darden, this week we recognize Susan Sobbott (MBA ’90), a woman who decided to replace work/life balance with work/life integration. An excerpt from her story is below:

Susan Sobbott – Integrating Budgets and Ballet Shoes

“Yesterday, my daughter Leah asked if she could come to work with me, so I brought her in,” said Susan Sobbott (MBA ’90) of her 9-year-old. “Leah sharpened about four boxes of pencils and sat through some meetings with me. She said she had the ‘very best day.’ Last night, she asked what time we were leaving for work this morning.”

Susan Sobbott

Susan Sobbott (MBA ’90)

As president of Global Corporate Payments at American Express, a wife and a mother, Sobbott knows about the challenges of managing a family and a career. At home, she raises her two children, Leah and Jeremiah, with her husband, Keith.

In her current position, she is responsible for all of the products that serve the company’s corporate payment clients around the world, including the Corporate Card and Corporate Purchasing Solutions. A leader in the corporate payments arena, American Express operates in nearly 200 countries and serves 62 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Since she started working for the company more than 20 years ago, Sobbott has established herself as a leader who spearheads creative marketing strategies, uncovers pockets of untapped growth and cares deeply about her customers.

Read Susan’s entire story in the latest issue of the Darden Report.

To learn more about resources and opportunities Darden provides specifically for women, please visit the Women at Darden page on our website.

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Darden Students Visit New Cuba

As you have heard us say before, Darden students get many unique, hands-on opportunities to advance their educations, both in the U.S. and abroad. One recent example of this is a group of our Second Year MBA students who were among the first American students to visit Cuba since President Barack Obama and Raul Castro struck a deal to re-establish relations.

Below is an excerpt from the news article published on the Darden website.

U.Va. Darden School Students First to Study the New Cuba

“Cuba is an interesting animal,” said [Greg] Fairchild, an entrepreneurship expert. “This is an exceptional opportunity to see a unique economy that’s in transition.”

The 26 Second Year MBA candidates have a busy schedule during their visit to the island country that lies less than 100 miles from the U.S., but is light-years away in political and economic thinking.

The nation of about 11 million people is one of only a handful of communist states left in the world. Under Fidel Castro, and with the help of the then Soviet Union, Venezuela and now China, the country has eked out an existence under the ideology of Marxism-Leninism. In 2008, an ailing and elderly Castro turned his power over to his brother Raul, who has slowly and very modestly begun to loosen restrictions on Cubans and welcomed President Obama’s surprise offer to re-establish relations. But, not everybody is happy with that offer. Cuba’s critics point to the country’s suppression of basic civil liberties, lack of respect for human rights and its totalitarian control over politics and the economy as reasons to strike a harder line with Cuba.

You can read the full article here.

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50 Years of Women at Darden — Part 3

Continuing our series celebrating 50 years of women at Darden, this week we recognize Karen Yelick (MBA ’81), CEO of Indego Africa, a nonprofit in Rwanda. An excerpt of her story is below.

Karen Yelick — From Corporate Capitalism to Conscious Commerce

“I ran what was called the War Room — conflicts clearance for investment banking, and it was a 24/7 job,” recalled Karen Yelick (MBA ’81), a mother of three. After 24 years with Merrill Lynch (which Bank of America acquired in 2009), in 2011 she decided to transition into the social sector. “I had always wanted to do something in the social enterprise space related to women and education. It was time,” said Yelick.

She found “the perfect fit” with Indego Africa, a nonprofit that partners with Rwandan women artisans to sell their handmade products in the United States market. Profits from sales coupled with donations fund education programs for the artisans. “I wanted to join a group that was on the verge, to help take it from a startup to the next level,” said Yelick, who is now Indego Africa’s CEO.

Karen Yelick Darden Women

Karen Yelick (MBA ’81) transitions from Wall Street investment banker to CEO of a Rwandan nonprofit.

Read Karen’s entire story in the latest issue of The Darden Report.

To learn more about resources and opportunities Darden provides specifically for women, please visit the Women at Darden page on our website.

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Darden Global Conference

A core trait of a Darden student is the desire to innovate and make a difference as a leader in the community. One example of a student-led activity is the upcoming Darden Global Conference, organized by a collaboration among six student affinity clubs — the International Business Society (IBS), Asia Business Club at Darden (ABCD), Darden African Business Organization (DABO), Darden South Asia Society (DSAS), European Society (ES) and Latin American Student Association (LASA).

Darden Global Conference Flyer 400

The theme at the second annual Darden Global Conference is “Challenging the Status Quo.” Keynote speakers include:

  • Rakesh Mohan – Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund, Former Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Government of India

  • Joaquim Souza – CEO of Caixa Banco de Investimento

Learn more about how you can influence impact investing and social entrepreneurship in a global environment by attending the Darden Global Conference on 30 January.

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A Partner’s Perspective on Going Abroad

Darden students have many opportunities to study abroad during their time here, ranging from one-week seminars to semester-long consulting projects. A question often asked is, “But I came here with my partner. What can he or she do while I’m away?”

Meet Agnes Filipowski. Agnes is one of our Darden partner bloggers, and in a recent post, she shared the story of how she spent time in London while her student participated in a Global Field Experience.*

Here’s an excerpt from her blog post, “Looking Back at London during a Darden GFE“:

“One of the best pieces of advice that I could pass on to incoming Darden partners:

‘When your significant other/student goes on a “Study Abroad” type of experience through Darden, (Global Business Experience, Global Field Experience, a club-sponsored conference, an exchange program, etc.), consider taking the opportunity (if your schedule and finances align) to join him or her for a time – either before it starts, after it ends, and/or during part of the time the trip takes place if possible.’

Michal and Agnes

Michal and Agnes in Cambridge.

I joined my husband Michal during his GFE last semester, and I couldn’t have been more grateful…

…Michal and I decided to arrive a few days in the UK before he started working in London so that we could spend some time with mutual friends in Cambridge. We found an incredible Airbnb deal that included daily homemade breakfast with a friendly French expat family, and a location on the same block as some of the most popular pubs in town. (We frequented the Elm Tree, for its wide selection of rare Belgian beers.)…”

Read Agnes’ entire post here.

Darden has many resources for partners and families. To learn more, visit the Partners and Families sections of our website.

*Global Field Experiences are now called Global Consulting Projects.

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50 Years of Women at Darden — Part 2

Continuing our series celebrating 50 years of women at Darden, this week we’re featuring the story of Mala Bawer (MBA ’79), co-founder and director of Cybersmart! Education. An excerpt from the original article can be found below:

Mala Bawer — Want Peace? Teach Net Ethics Worldwide

Mala Bawer

Mala Bawer (MBA ’79) with her son.

In 2011, the Ministry of Information and Communications (formerly ictQATAR) in Qatar enlisted Mala Bawer’s (MBA ’79) help to develop a multimedia digital learning program for their country.

A seasoned digital education expert, Bawer knew she was up for the challenge. After Darden, she worked for several media companies devoted to initial Internet exploration, where she anticipated the future need for digital literacy. “Schools needed to be prepared, and they were not. That was very clear to me,” she said.

Read Mala’s entire story in the Winter 2015 issue of The Darden Report.

To learn more about resources and opportunities Darden provides, check out the Women at Darden page on our website.

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Announcing the Ninth Dean of Darden

As you prepare for your MBA experience, we’d like to share with you exciting news regarding the senior leadership at Darden. This morning, University of Virginia Executive Vice President and Provost John D. Simon announced the appointment of Scott C. Beardsley as the next dean of the Darden School of Business.

Scott C. Beardsley Photo credit: University of Virginia

Scott C. Beardsley
Photo credit: University of Virginia

A senior partner of McKinsey & Company, Scott Beardsley currently leads global learning and leadership development for all McKinsey & Company professionals and has served as a top adviser to leading companies in more than 40 countries and as head of the management consulting firm’s strategy practice.

“We see this as a great opportunity — not just for the University,” said Provost Simon, “but for the individuals and organizations who come to Darden to equip themselves as the best-prepared business leaders of the 21st century.”

Scott Beardsley brings to Darden a deep and global understanding of business; a successful track record of developing leaders at all levels; a vast, global network; and a passion for education, teaching and research. Beardsley was born in Maine, grew up in Vermont and Alaska, and is a citizen of France and the United States. He and his family will be relocating to Charlottesville, Virginia from Brussels, Belgium. Read more about him in the news release.

Through the world’s best education experience, top-ranked faculty and alumni network, Darden prepares responsible leaders who step forward to improve the world. We hope you join us this summer as we continue in our forward momentum and welcome Scott Beardsley as Darden’s ninth dean.

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Round 2 Application Due Today

Darden’s Round 2 application to the full-time format of our MBA program is due today.

Due to the high volume of traffic, you may encounter some technical difficulties. If this occurs, please simply sign-out and log back in. If this does not solve your issue, contact us at or call us at +1 434-924-1051.  Please note that after 5:30 p.m. EDT we prefer that you email us with any technical difficulties. We will respond as soon as possible.

Good luck and we look forward to reading your application!

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50 Years of Women at Darden — Part 1

Nancy MiltonHappy New Year! Darden is proud to celebrate 50 years of women in Darden’s MBA program. This month, we are featuring one female student from each decade since 1965 — the year the first woman graduated from Darden.

The original article appears in the Winter 2015 issue of The Darden Report magazine. We encourage you to use this as a launching point to learn more about how Darden alumnae are making an impact in business and changing the world.

Nancy Milton — First Female Student Reflects on her Darden Days

This past spring, Nancy Milton’s classmates encouraged her to return to Grounds for induction into the Abbott Society to celebrate their 50th reunion milestone. Although she spent only one year at Darden, she received a standing ovation when she joined her Class of 1964 classmates on stage for the ceremony.

Dean Charles Abbott was the person who convinced Milton to apply to Darden as the first female student. She interviewed at the University after having been discouraged by a senior Louisville banker, who informed her that even though she was completing an economics degree at the University of Louisville, she would “never be considered for a serious position in banking in the South,” she said. She was accepted into the Darden MBA program in 1962.

Read Nancy’s entire story in the latest issue of The Darden Report.

To learn more about the resources and opportunities Darden provides, check out the Women at Darden page on our website.

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