Traveling with the first GEMBA cohort to China for their third residency continues to be exciting: the GEMBA students are gaining a unique and direct experience of Darden’s value proposition. In a location far from UVA’s Grounds and home, the GEMBA students are immersed in Darden’s case method, exceptional teaching, and a community that is both close-knit and global.
One of the added benefits of the China residency was the chance to participate in Darden’s Global Leadership Forum, planned by Darden’s Global Advisory Council, in Shanghai. The event brought together alumni from around the world, as well as Dean Robert F. Bruner, Senior Associate Dean for Darden’s Degree Programs Peter Rodriguez and many others. The event included a keynote address by Scott Price (Darden Class of 1990), President and CEO of Walmart Asia, as well as ample time for GEMBA students to network with Darden alumni.
Here are a few comments/observations from the students:
- Opening our classroom to alumni boosted the quality of the discussion. We heard from people with lots of direct experience related to the case study, and we could benefit by their detailed local knowledge. Their participation put the facts into perspective.
- Enthusiasm for networking between students and alumni was mutual. The alumni based in Asia were thrilled to see this group of Darden students committed to international business (just like them). Dinner with our Global Advisory Council created connections between our students and a small group of powerful international executives.
- Added to this was the reception with our alumni chapter that planted seeds for further connection. In fact, one student shared that he left with a half dozen people to follow up with — an example of strength of the Darden Community.
The Global Leadership Forum will be coming back to China next year, so students in the GEMBA Class of 2014 will be able to take part in this experience then!
Maureen E. Wellen
Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives