Meet Matt Miller, Class of 2018

If you’re thinking about applying to Darden, you may have wondered what your Darden classmates might end up being like — where they come from, what they enjoy, how they spend their free time. Darden’s classrooms are full of students with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, goals, and more. You never know who you might end up sitting next to and what you might learn from him or her.

In this video, get to know Matt Miller (Class of 2018). He’s a Darden First Year and an Olympic Athlete who participated in the Rio Olympics this past summer. And he’s just one of the 345 incredible students in this year’s class who each bring unique experiences to the Darden community. We hope you enjoy learning more about his journey!



Watch: Matt Miller Profile

Want to get to know more of our students and hear about their experiences? Our student ambassadors are happy to answer your questions. We encourage you to reach out to them!

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Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA: Meghan Azevedo, EMBA ’18

Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.


EMBA Student Meghan Azevedo

Name: Meghan Azevedo

City: Severna Park, MD

Employer: Under Armour

Years of Experience: 8

Format/Section: Charlottesville EMBA

  1. What is your current job? I am the Chief of Staff to the CFO at UA.
  1. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? Pursuing an MBA is something that I considered for a long time. I graduated from undergrad with a B.S. in Sport and Entertainment Management and, while the majority of what I learned was applicable in my first job out of school, my career path changed drastically. At some point, as many people do, I found myself in a role that I never anticipated. I began to realize more and more that I didn’t have a strong enough financial acumen to get to the level I wanted to reach within the organization, and I decided to do something about it. I had always found a reason to put “going back to school” on the backburner but, with a full-time job, a husband who travels, and an 18-month old at home, I realized that there would never be a “right” time. I am so glad that I took the leap to invest in myself, both personally and professionally, and look forward to seeing what the future holds.
  1. Why did you choose Darden? I chose Darden for so many reasons! Its ranking speaks for itself, as does its reputation, but I think the alumni were what was most attractive to me. I don’t mean the network, which is also world-renowned, but the alums themselves. We have quite a few at UA—they’re easy to spot, and even easier to respect and admire. UA’s Darden alums are smart, confident, and quick. They see the big picture, and they are always pushing to motivate their teams and those around them to achieve their best. I wanted to be that kind of leader, and that’s why I chose Darden.
  1. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA? I knew I still wanted to work full-time while pursuing my MBA so, for me, the schedule was the most appealing thing about the executive format. A lot of other programs are very weekend-intensive but, as a mom, I wasn’t willing to give up that critical time with my son. The weekly online classes and once-per-month residency format of the EMBA format allow me to balance my course work with my most important role as a wife and mom, in addition to the ever-increasing responsibilities of my position at UA.
  1. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far? First and foremost, my classmates are awesome (and, no, I’m not just saying that). I had so much anxiety heading in to the first day. I was certain that I would be the least intelligent, that I wouldn’t add value to class discussions, and that no one else would be “like me” (full-time working mom, unsure of my future path, etc.). Turns out, all 119 of my classmates felt the same way—and we couldn’t have been more wrong. After a week at LR1, I think we would all agree that we never could have imagined that we’d be as close as we are. We are switchers, climbers, and general “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”-ers. We are moms, dads, military heroes, engineers, nurses, beer wholesalers, cardiac surgeons, and everything in between. Our ages range from 25-65, and we all bring something unique to the table. I can’t explain why, or how, but it just works. I left LR1 with more Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, Instagram followers, selfies, and inside jokes than I have ever had in a week’s time and, as we love to say at Under Armour, we are just getting started!
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Round 2 Applicants: Meet Darden Admissions at Multi-School Events in NYC, DC

Calling all Round 2 applicants-to-be!

Darden and other top business schools will be at multi-school events in New York City and Washington, DC, in early November and we hope to see you there.

At these events, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from Admissions Committee members who will offer tips on crafting a competitive application. You will also meet alumni from the participating business schools and have the chance to ask them questions about their MBA experiences, as well as mingle with other prospective students.

To register, please click the links below.

New York City:
Tuesday, 1 November
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Register Here

Washington, DC:
Wednesday, 2 November
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Register Here

We look forward to seeing you at one of these events!

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Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA: Joe Spencer, EMBA ’18

Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.

Name: Joe Spencer


EMBA student Joe Spencer

City: Kansas City, MO

Employer: Osmose Utility Services

Years of Experience: Business experience, 17 years; Sales experience 10 years; Years with Osmose, 1

Format/Section: EMBA ROS

1. What is your current job? 

I am a Senior Director of Business Development for Osmose Utility Services.  That’s our super-secret code name for Sales Executive.

2. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

I explored buying a company a year ago, and, given my background, I was able to quickly identify the sales opportunities.  However, when I tried to evaluate and value the company operations, finances, and measure the future opportunity, I quickly realized I was not equipped with the tools to make that assessment.  Thus, I am here.

I do not know what the future holds.  I will either be an entrepreneur or on a senior executive track.  The goal is to broaden from and build on my sales experience.  Ultimately, I want to teach, but that is two steps down the road!


Joe Spencer and his family

3. Why did you choose Darden?

I chose Darden for two reasons.  I wanted to attend a top tier school whose degree would not only mean something to me, it would mean something to others.  Secondly, my wife and I are looking to get back to the east coast in a few years, and becoming part of Darden’s network most certainly helps.

During the application process, I reached out to a fellow Naval Academy alum, who I have never met, who happens to also be a C level executive for a large, global sportswear manufacturer.  He sent me a note back within ten minutes, endorsing Darden and also mentioning one of his staff would be attending, and she is one of my classmates.

4. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

I have eleven children.  I must work towards my degree while still working a “normal” job.  The kids’ tuition still needs to be paid!

5. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?

My peers in this program are the most talented group of professionals with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. The intellectual talent in the room is humbling. I often look in the mirror and strive to live up to that very high bar that is set every day, in every conversation.

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A Statement From the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

We invite prospective students to join Chief Global Diversity Officer Melissa Thomas-Hunt for a discussion on diversity within the Darden community on Tuesday, 11 October at 9 am. As we wrap up Darden’s second annual Diversity Week, Melissa encourages you to bring your questions to a thoughtful discussion about how we can embody an inclusive community where everyone feels at home. We look forward to the conversation. Please register for the webinar here.

The personal comments made by University of Virginia adjunct lecturer Doug Muir on his personal social media accounts do not in any way represent the viewpoint or values of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

A core value of the Darden School of Business is a supportive and diverse community that encourages its members to collaborate and excel.

At the Darden School, we value and respect all identities, commit to engaging members of the Darden community as unique individuals, and promote a multicultural, global and inclusive environment in which each person feels valued.

This week, we have celebrated Diversity Week at Darden, which has provided an opportunity to appreciate what each person brings to the community — and to dialogue about how diversity impacts our learning community and our lives. Organized by Darden students, with the participation of the entire community, the week has included lectures, open dialogues and creativity expressed through media such as this video.

As a school within a public university, we respect and recognize people’s rights, including their First Amendment right to free speech. As an institution of learning, we also recognize that diversity of opinion is foundational. However, the personal statements made by Doug Muir regarding Black Lives Matter do not represent the views of this School.

At Darden, we embrace the challenging discussions surrounding diversity, equality and justice that face our society because it is our mission to develop leaders who are prepared to lead responsibly through the most difficult issues facing business and the world.

Statement from the Darden Student Association

Darden Community,

It is of serious concern to us that one faculty member — Douglas Muir — has taken it upon himself to publicly express views which are factually and historically inaccurate and which are undeniably intolerant — link to UVA Cavalier Daily.

The DSA has worked hard in collaboration with student clubs, community stakeholders, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader Darden community to foster and promote a culture which elevates and celebrates diversity and inclusion. Diversity Week has been a tremendous celebration of this spirit and a marquee week in the DSA calendar. We are proud of our community, and the grace with which it has worked to foster and maintain Darden’s core values.

The values of our community exist in striking opposition to Doug Muir’s stance. We vehemently disagree with his statement and we call upon the University of Virginia and the Darden School of Business to respond swiftly to uphold our values of inclusion, equality, and a dedication to truth and accuracy.

It is the mandate of the DSA to represent the best interests of the Darden student experience. We take this mission extremely seriously and will not stand for intolerance which directly affects our classmates and those around us.

Statement from the Black Business Student Forum

On October 4th, 2016, Douglas Muir, adjunct Professor at the Darden School of Business and the University of Virginia, posted the following message to Facebook: “Black lives matter is the biggest rasist organisation since the clan. Are you kidding me, Disgusting!!!”. This comment does not in any way reflect the Darden community. However, mindsets like these have the potential to significantly impact the positive community we seek to foster and protect. Presumably, the statement was in response to the recent presence of Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, as a speaker on grounds at the University of Virginia.

Mr. Muir’s statement likens Black Lives Matters’ decision to exercise their First Amendment right to gather to the actions of the Ku Klux Klan – an organization which has bombed churches, murdered men, women, and children, and violently protested such proposals as the integration of schools and the extension of the right to vote to African Americans.

Mr. Muir’s comparison of Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan is outrageous. Black Lives Matter was founded as an expression of Ms. Garza and others’ justified discontent with the experience of many African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan is an organization with a 100+ year history of murder, racism, and intimidation of innocent people. No protest can compare to the terror which the Ku Klux Klan has inflicted upon citizens of our community.

This week was a monumental week for diversity at Darden. Not only did we have great attendance at our event on racial injustice, but we also stood together as One Darden and wore black to represent solidarity. This progress will not be overshadowed and discredited by the comments of one faculty member. The kind of inaccurate and offensive comments made by Mr. Muir threaten to damage the inclusive community that the student body, alumni, Dean Beardsley, and the faculty and staff of Darden have worked hard to foster.

The ignorance of Mr. Muir’s statement speaks for itself. Our goal is to urge the University of Virginia to respond to its own faculty member’s expression of blatantly incorrect views and demonstrate its commitment to enlightenment and intellectual honesty by correcting this false message. This is an opportunity for Darden to stand behind its commitment to an inclusive community.

How Darden reacts from an administrative level will have a huge impact on how students view their experience at Darden. We believe in what Darden represents and we would hate for Mr. Muir’s actions to damage our unique and welcoming community. Mr. Muir is entitled to his opinion, no matter how ignorant it is. He is not entitled to his own facts. We are hopeful that the actions that the University of Virginia takes in response to Mr. Muir’s comments will reflect its commitment to truth and an inclusive environment.

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Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA: Ryan Slevin, GEMBA ’18

Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.

Ryan Slevin

GEMBA Student Ryan Slevin

Name: Ryan Slevin

City: Richmond, Virginia

Employer: Capital One Financial

Years of Experience: 16

Format/Section: GEMBA CHO

  1. What is your current job? 

I am in Card Operations at Capital One. I partner with analysts and executives to craft our organizational strategy. I also lead a team of program managers who then deliver pieces of that strategy across the organization.

  1. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

The executive format allows me to maintain momentum in my career today while I explore where I want to go professionally in the future.  The executive format also creates a learning community of seasoned professionals, which deepens the insights during classes and residencies.

My colleagues are able to pepper the classroom dialogue with practical examples from their diverse career experiences.  For example, when discussing a case of an executive introducing a business in India, many of us were very quick to judge the executive’s results as unimpressive and too slow.

The international students shared fantastic perspective and encouraged us to consider cultural factors, language barriers, and the time required to adjust to doing business in a new country and governance structure.  The perspective of these colleagues changed the timbre of the conversation and we wound up giving the executive a far more empathetic evaluation.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far? 

My classmates are intimidatingly accomplished.  On my first day at Darden I met government officials, military leaders, banking executives, corporate and non-profit leaders.  Despite the widely diverse group, it took less than a day to establish relationships.  By the end of our first residency, I knew I had not only made rich networking contacts but had also planted the seedlings of several long term friendships.  No one is an expert in every subject, yet each person has enormous value to add.  The learning teams are able to capitalize on each individual’s experience and you quickly learn to depend heavily on the expertise that each of your team members bring to the table.  This trust creates strong bonds and connections that form very quickly.

  1. What are you most excited about accomplishing/doing during the program?  

I am most excited about rewriting my professional story.  For so long, I convinced myself that I was one kind of leader: a strong strategist with great people and leadership skills.  My time at Darden is convincing me that I am a whole lot more than just those things. I am learning to speak accounting and becoming comfortable with finance.  This discovery comes through a willingness be put on the spot; I’ve been called on in Accounting when I had no idea how to attack a problem.  The professors, however, encourage us to reason problems out and rely on our experiences and intuition.  By being put in the spotlight and then led down a logical path, I’m learning that I have a gut instinct for quantitative problems that I never knew existed!

Demonstrating proficiency in these areas is changing the way I view myself as a leader and opening up a new realm of opportunities to consider.

  1. What advice do you have for prospective students?

This program requires real commitment; to get the full experience you need to create the time and space for learning team meetings, classes, readings, and assignments.  Be sure you have full, genuine support at work and at home before you enroll.

For me that support needed to come from three places: my work, my family, and my friends.  At work, I set expectations clearly about time away and travel in order to protect my experience during on grounds and residencies.  My husband and daughters had to understand that I was adding 20 hours of work to my weekly schedule, which necessitated a shift in household responsibilities. My husband and I check in every week on how things are going at home; if I’m feeling disconnected or he’s overwhelmed (or both), we make small adjustments for the coming week to rebalance the scales. And finally, my closest friends know that I need cheerleaders.  They understand when I’m not available for a social event and I also receive regular texts and messages of encouragement from them to keep me going.

Darden’s Executive MBA is a huge investment in yourself and your future – and you deserve the time and space to make the most of the experience.

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Darden’s Round 1 Application Deadline is Tomorrow, 4 October!

As a reminder, the Round 1 application deadline for the residential MBA format is tomorrow, 4 October 2016 at 12:00 noon EST.

Good luck to our Round 1 Applicants! We look forward to reading your application.

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Submit Your Questions for the Exec Video Blog

Calling all Exec Video Blog viewers! For months, we’ve chosen our topics based on what we think you might want to hear about. But going forward, we want to incorporate what we know you want to hear about.

Have questions about the executive formats of the Darden MBA? Want to know how our application process works? Curious about the differences and similarities between EMBA and GEMBA? Looking for more details on our career services? Wondering what information to consider as you compare Charlottesville and Rosslyn? Or maybe you are simply just wondering if that tie goes with that shirt. Well, we have answers!

If you have a question you would like answered on the Exec Video Blog, email your question with the subject heading “Video Blog Question” and your First and Last Name – to Every few weeks, we will select some questions for our  “Ask Me Anything” blog segment. We are pleased to announce that we will be offering application fee waivers to anyone whose question is selected. Of course, even if your question is not selected, do not worry – we will gladly answer it via email.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Summer Internship Stories – Ester Barbuto (MBA ’17)

Our Technology & Data Analytics Open House is quickly approaching on Monday, 3 October (you can register here if you haven’t already). With that in mind, we wanted to share with you another summer internship story from Tech Club President Ester Barbuto (MBA ’17). Read on to learn more about her experience working at Microsoft in Seattle, then come visit us on Monday to learn more about Darden’s commitment to technology and innovation.

This summer I interned in Product Marketing Management on the Cloud and Enterprise Team at Microsoft. What an experience! Seattle is absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t have asked for more working at Microsoft.

I started the summer in a blur. I just returned from the Global Business Experience (GBE) in China and started the internship right away. Instead of unpacking the day before starting work, I decided to be adventurous and go on the Mount Si hike with friends and fellow interns. That was the best choice because it helped me establish friends quickly and also to have something to talk around with people on the first day. Making connections is very powerful! It was also nice to be out in nature to reflect on my accomplishments during the first year of Darden and my goals for the internship.

I initially wasn’t too thrilled with my project, however, I took the negative and made a positive picture by using it as a learning experience. What could I learn from my project about Microsoft and Product Marketing overall? Is this a place where I wanted to spend my career post-graduation? What insights could I glean from the actions I needed to take for my project? What could I observe about the Microsoft culture and does this align with my personal mission? These are all questions I asked constantly during the internship and I spoke to my manager openly about. The summer is a time where you have the luxury to learn more about a company, but more importantly more about yourself.

Darden prepared me for this and this type of thinking. As a marketing intern, you would think I would most use the content that I was taught by the wonderful Tom Steenberg in the core Marketing course. To my surprise, it wasn’t! I found myself reflecting on the three questions that strategy professor, Ming-Jer Chen, posed at the beginning of each class. “1) Why are we here? 2) Why should we care? 3) How much do we know?” Thinking about my past, current self, and desired future self, I strategically attended the various intern events and met with individuals for advice to understand what excited me most about technology and if I could pursue that passion at Microsoft. With each week, I would reflect on the progress of my internship project but also reflect on what I was doing to accomplish my goals of obtaining a better understanding of myself. If you listen carefully, you’ll learn about Strategic Self Awareness during your first year at Darden.

At the end of the internship, I was able to successfully complete my project and build relationships within and beyond my team in C+E Product Marketing. The biggest success in my eyes was getting a better understanding of who I am and the type of business leader I want to be in the future.


Key Takeaways:

  • You only have 10-12 weeks, consider it a “consulting project” and have the most impact possible
  • As an intern, people love to share their story with you and to give you advice. Pick their brains!
  • Internships are an opportunity to learn about a company and more broadly about yourself. Is this a place where you can bring your “whole self” to work and thrive?
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Sit in on an Executive MBA Class!

Interested in the executive formats of the Darden MBA? Do you want to experience the case method firsthand? Curious about our classroom space in Rosslyn or want to get a feel for the Darden grounds in Charlottesville? You are in luck! We just posted our class visits for late September/early October on our Visit page.

Visit options are available in both Charlottesville and the DC area later this month, and during a visit, and participating students will have an opportunity to attend class, connect with current students, and join our students for lunch. For available days and times, please see the link below:

Of course, if these visit options do not work with your schedule, do not worry. There will be additional visit options in the coming months. Stay tuned!

As always, if you have any questions about visiting or our executive formats generally, please send us an email at We also encourage you to schedule a conversation and attend an event.

We hope you are able to join us!

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