Category Archives: Uncategorized

Darden Commencement Speech: “The hat you wear”

[Context: This is a farewell of sorts, since I’m stepping down as Dean of Darden this summer, and returning to the faculty. I started this speech wearing the traditional mortarboard hat. When I got to the part of talking about … Continue reading

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Commencement speech, UVA 2015 “Go where you believe you can do your best work”

[Some context: I gave the commencement address at University of Virginia on May 17, 2015. UVA’s commencement stretches over three days, with a Valedictory address (given by comedian Ed Helms), a commencement address for graduates of the College of Arts … Continue reading

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Choosing an MBA School: the Principle of “Five Friends”

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
Taken at face value, Rohn’s statement is preposterous. Who you are is a consequence not only of your current personal relationships, but also of … Continue reading

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Dreamers and Leaders: An Appreciation for the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!…I … Continue reading

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Leading in a Moderate Key

“Meg Greenfield, the late Post editorial page editor, counseled against writing in “High C” all the time. By this she meant that an editorialist or columnist who expressed equally noisy levels of indignation about everything would lack credibility when something … Continue reading

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The Reading Leader: Recommended Books, 2014

There once was an enterprise leader who boasted that he read nothing: no books, periodicals, blogs, nothing. He claimed that this kept his mind pure of the conventional thinking that would be inimical to his foresight and originality. He was … Continue reading


To Strengthen a Learning Community of Safety and Trust

“She was shaking inside. She didn’t hurt anymore, but what had happened inside her?…So horrible, so horrible…Charlotte felt dirty and sore.” —Tom Wolfe, I Am Charlotte Simmons (pgs. 522-523)
Tom Wolfe’s blistering satire of higher education includes a long episode of … Continue reading


Optimistic Investors

We just concluded the 7th annual University of Virginia Investing Conference (UVIC). For the first time in seven years, I (and many veteran participants) emerged from the conference rather buoyant. Professional investors tend not to be wild-and-crazy personalities: phrases like … Continue reading

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The Happy Warrior

”WHO is the happy Warrior? Who is he
What every man in arms should wish to be?“
—Character of the Happy Warrior” by William Wordsworth, 1806
Two days ago, I hosted the Darden Military Association of students at our home for dinner. It’s … Continue reading

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“The Trouble Is…”: Crisis and Critics in American Higher Education

We’re no good, we’re no good! We’re no earthly good, Like the best of us is no damn good! The trouble is he’s crazy. The trouble is he drinks. The trouble is he’s lazy. The trouble is he stinks. The … Continue reading