Meet Matt Miller: Darden’s First Olympic Rower

Enjoy this news story and the video below, featuring Matt Miller (Darden Class of 2018) who came to Charlottesville straight from the summer Olympics in Rio!


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New Networks: PAD Peru International Partner Program 2016

By Lauren Wallace

“I realized the importance of social network, social power, and how to associate work with a story. All the professors were excellent, I [learned] so much [from] all of them.”  (Luis Felipe, Executive MBA student from PAD)

This past week a new story unfolded in Charlottesville: the first ever International Partner Program with the University of Peru took place on Darden grounds! The partnership between Escuela de Direccion (PAD) and UVA’s Darden Center for Global Initiatives (DCGI) successfully commenced last week with a week-long program on “Networks, Narratives, and Innovation in the United States”. Forty-four executive MBA students and two faculty members from PAD arrived at Darden on Monday 3 October  for five days full of seminars led by Darden faculty and guest speakers on topics such as innovation, design technology, social networking, and entrepreneurship.

“Innovation can and should happen everywhere.” (anonymous  Executive MBA student from PAD)

Between class sessions and guest speakers, the students’ schedule included trips to local businesses and cultural spots, like WillowTree, Bold Rock Cider, and—of course—Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. One trip outside of the classroom was to another classroom across UVa grounds: a panel discussion session in Jordan Hall, where UVa’s School of Medicine is housed. The panelists formed an eclectic group—a physician-scientist, a research intern, an entrepreneur, and a professor—yet shared a common interest: the integration of business and medicine through innovation, human-centered technology, and entrepreneurship. Their diverse work and life experiences made for great discussion and greater awareness of the intersection of business and medical innovation  among the visiting Executive students.

“Because of the discussion of the cases, especially networking and negotiation, [I have] been very inspired.” (Catherine Pacheco, Executive MBA student from PAD)

One participant left the week with a new goal in mind: to start his own business. Sharing aloud in the group’s debriefing session, he told of how he had decided to pursue his MBA because it was the next step in his career—to get a promotion, to be paid a higher salary. After a week of class sessions, company visits, and guest speakers all centered on innovation, entrepreneurship, and networking, he now has a new motivation for his degree—to perhaps start his own business someday.

Though the week-long seminar ended last Friday, it was only the beginning of the PAD-DCGI story to come.

Visiting students from PAD's Executive MBA program stand on Darden's Saunders Steps at the end of their second day of the program at Darden.

Visiting students from PAD’s Executive MBA program stand on Darden’s Saunders Steps at the end of their second day of the program at Darden.

Darden's Assistant Professor Lalin Anik led a hot topics session on "Transcending the Boundaries of Connection", bringing current Darden students and PAD students together for interactive exercises and discussion.

Darden’s Assistant Professor Lalin Anik led a hot topics session on “Transcending the Boundaries of Connection”, bringing current Darden students and PAD students together for interactive exercises and discussion.

PAD students prepare to hear from physicians, entrepreneurs and researchers doing cutting edge, innovative work in the medical industry.

PAD students prepare to hear from physicians, entrepreneurs and researchers doing cutting edge, innovative work in the medical industry at UVA’s medical school.

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Global Food Festival 2016

Organized by the Global Business and Culture Club (GBCC), with support from the Center for Global Initiatives, the Global Food Festival (GFF) has evolved to be one of the most anticipated events at Darden each year. Roshini Rajan (Class of 2017), the President of the Global Business and Culture Club shared, “GFF is an amazing platform for Darden students to come together and celebrate the different cultures of our global community. It’s always wonderful to see the ethnic diversity at Darden showcased through food, performances and traditional costumes.”

This year, the 28th Global Food Festival took place on Sunday 18 September, and over 500 people attended. These people included Darden students, faculty, and staff, as well as their family and friends. The festival featured food tasting, multi-cultural activities, and cultural performances, which showcased international cultures and cuisines.

Students presented their cultures through tables of food from around the world, and also performed on stage with songs, dance, as well as traditional dress. Food from 22 different countries were found at the festival. The cultural performances featured African, Thai, Bhangra, Bollywood dance, musical performances from Kazakhstan, China, India, and a special performance from Darden’s very own musical band: SoundDarden.

Trisha Hongcharti, the Darden Center for Global Initiatives Global Programs Associate commented, “Ever since I started working at Darden, I’d heard that I had to go to the Global Food Festival. This was my first year at the Global Food Festival and I already can’t wait for next year. Too much food, not enough stomach.”

While all cuisines were delicious and carefully prepared, this year, the judges (a select group of faculty and staff) declared Desi Noise (Team India) the winner and Brazilian Storm (Team Brazil) won the popular vote.

Photos all courtesy of Manish Singh Rathaur (Class of 2017).

Global Food Festival 2016

Global Food Festival 2016

Desi Noise

Desi Noise

Brazilian Storm

Brazilian Storm

Darden Africa Business Organization at the Global Food Festival

Darden Africa Business Organization at the Global Food Festival




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Atthur Fattah on Leading Darden’s Middle East and Islamic Student Association

Atthur Fattah (Class of 2017) hails from Jakarta, Indonesia where he completed his undergraduate work in Industrial Engineering at Gadjah Mada University. Atthur first heard about Darden through his colleague while he was working in Bank Mandiri, a commercial bank in Indonesia, and decided to come because of the case study method, the welcoming and open community, and strong alumni network.   As the President of Darden’s Middle East and Islamic Student Association (MEISA), Atthur works with all Darden student organizations to enrich Darden community’s experience in cultural diversity and global business.


  • What is MEISA’s main objective at Darden?

MEISA’s main objective is to promote awareness and understanding about Middle Eastern and Islamic culture, particularly related to doing business with people from or in those communities.


  • Can you share a little bit about this young club’s history?

In 2014, then second-year student Catherine Manfre, co-Chair of the Diversity Student Advisory Group felt there was a need for an affinity club at Darden for people from Middle Eastern and Islamic backgrounds. She got together with  then first year students Zeeshan Hafeez, Saad Qureshi and Ofer Baratz to organize MEISA with a goal of promoting the culture and providing support for students. In 2014, they organized an Eid Cold Call as the first event. After much debate, the SY Presidents group approved MEISA’s provisional status to be a new club for the 2014-2015 year. In their first official year as a club, MEISA helped sponsor a number of events and activities on campus on top of the Cold Call including a panel on Race Relations after Ferguson, a series of Dialogues on Diversity, A First Coffee, a winning table at the International Food Festival, and received sponsorship from Microsoft for a Sales Workshop in D.C. All events were open to all Darden students. As they closed their first successful year, the original officers turned the club over to new leadership along with Karim Ginena, a PhD student, who has advised the club every year since its founding. Together, the new leadership team started the initiative to designate a multi-faith prayer space, which is now on the second floor of the library.


  • Tell us about some of MEISA’s upcoming events.

Charlottesville Mosque Open House

MEISA has coordinated with the local mosque in Charlottesville to host a free open house event on September 24, 2016. The Open House is an opportunity to welcome members of the Darden and Charlottesville community, show our three-level mosque, share knowledge about Islam and Muslims, and answer questions.

Diversity Week

MEISA, together with Darden Christian Fellowship (DCF), Darden Jewish Student Association (DJSA), and Darden Latter-Day Saint Student Association (LDSSA) are planning to participate in Diversity Week, which will occur in early October. Our participation will be in the form of a discussion panel or roundtables which are open to anyone interested in further discussion in religious inclusion in diversity.

Guest Speaker

Collaborating with Darden Executive Education and Global Business and Culture Club (formerly International Business Society), MEISA is planning to invite a CEO of a large corporation who is also an expatriate to share his professional journey and experiences. This event is expected to be towards the end of October 2016.


  • What is your vision for MEISA’s growth and impact in the years to come?

I would like to see MEISA not only function as a community, but also to help students who are interested in recruiting in the Middle East.  This might be in collaboration with the  Career Development Center to invite more companies to recruit Darden students to their Middle East office or a job trek to Middle East.

I have also a vision that MEISA is not only for students, but also for faculty and staff who are interested in knowing more about the region and its culture and Islam. Academically, I think it would be great for MEISA to help write a case related to doing business in Middle East. Finally, we would like to continue working together with other Darden student organizations to enrich Darden community’s global experience.


Atthur, and other MEISA members, at the Fall 2016 Darden Club Fair.

Atthur, and other MEISA members, at the Fall 2016 Darden Club Fair.

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Global Week School Photo

This morning, the Darden community gathered at First Coffee to celebrate the conclusion of a successful and fun Global Week. The nice thing is that global never ends at Darden!



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Global Week at Darden Kicks Off Today!

image1Global Week at Darden kicked off today with a special First Coffee, featuring remarks from Melissa Thomas-Hunt, Senior Associate Dean and Global Chief Diversity Officer, cupcakes, t-shirts, promotion of Darden Worldwide Courses, and a blackboard showcasing the diversity of Darden’s community.

Global Week runs through Wednesday 21 September and includes a variety of fun, culturally enriching activities, all student-led and organized. Highlights include the Latin American Student Association and Wine and Cuisine Club Cold Call tonight, the International Food Festival Sunday evening, the Asia Business Club of Darden Tea Tasting Event, a Bollywood Dance Class, and a European Beer and Wine Tasting next week.





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Preparing for an International Career in Consulting with the Darden MBA

Watch Yolanda Fan (MBA ’16) and Nada Chaker (MBA ’17) describe the ways in which their experiences at Darden have prepared them to do consulting work around the world.

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Leadership in the 21st Century and Global Forces: Dominic Barton, McKinsey

This week, the Darden Leadership Speaker Series kicked off with a talk by Dominic Barton, Global Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company.  For a full bio, please see McKinsey’s website.

Dean Scott Beardsley introduced Dominic to a crowd of students, faculty and staff in the packed Abbott Auditorium.

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Ngozi Ofoche Shares Global Consulting Project Experience

Watch Ngozi (Class of 2016) talk about her experience working with a client in Nairobi, Kenya, and how it prepared her for her career.

Learn more about Ngozi’s global experiences at Darden by reading this blog post, which also touches on her time in Brazil and Israel with Darden faculty.

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Scholar Showcase: Alexander Kaps

By Courtney ZerrennerAlexander Kaps Passfoto

Alexander Kaps (Class of 2017) studied business at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany and completed a semester exchange program at Washington University of St. Louis before coming to Darden. He  spent this summer interning in Operations with Amazon in Texas.

Alexander knew from his semester in the United States several years ago that “American universities treat their students more like customers, not like livestock.” When Alexander graduated with his bachelors in Germany, he wanted to immediately pursue an MBA in the United States. He just did not know where he should go. Alexander explained that after his results from the GMAT were published, Darden contacted him directly and then put him in touch with a current student, who made all the difference.

“That student happened to be in my town in Germany for a small classical music festival. It was a magical moment for me that out of all the places in the world a Darden student was able to meet with me in my little city when I was trying to decide whether I should come. His name was Alvaro and within 30 minutes, he sold me completely on the Darden School.” Alexander moved to Charlottesville only a few months later.

During his first year at Darden, Alexander learned from his learning team. “My learning team mates were very diverse in character, in career goals, in learning styles, and in prior experience. Having us all on one team taught us so much, and we became invested in each other’s successes. We really helped each other with assignments, especially during recruiting season, and we built a group of friends – a community.”

While Alexander is “allergic to clichés and virtue signaling,” he asserted that “people really are the reason that I’m at Darden. Universities no longer have the corner on the market on knowledge or education. But with Darden, you get access to the greater Darden community. These people have incredible business connections, but they are interested in you, the human, not the student and not the future employee. I think that is very unique. Darden is unlike any other university I’ve been at before, and I’ve been at four . . . I cannot imagine a better support network both personally and professionally at any other business school.”

The experience Alexander had at Washington University was very different from his Darden experience. Alexander felt that “there was a clear line between international students and the American students when I did undergraduate exchange. Alexander was happy that “luckily, that is not the case at all at Darden. I feel very integrated; I don’t feel any different than any of the other students. I was promised that would be the case, and it was 100% correct.”

After Alexander graduates from Darden in May 2017, he wants to work for a large US cooperation for several years, gaining experience and expertise in business management. Following that time, Alexander hopes to start his own business. “I do not aspire to be the next Jeff Bezos, rather would I simply do something I am passionate about, but then again that’s how many big companies began. One way or the other, I would like to end up in the firearms or shooting sports industry, because that is what I truly am passionate about. I did not come here from Germany to become rich and famous, even though Darden certainly offers you that path if you’re interested. I came because I wanted the option to live and work in the United States, and there is no better way in my opinion than studying at a world class university like UVA and a top notch business school like Darden.”

Alexander has also considered returning to Europe and living in Czech Republic, where some of his family is from. Although he does not speak Czech at this point, he is sure he could pick it up in a year or so. “The Czech Republic is a beautiful country and like many European countries the society is very close knit, after being forged together through many decades of foreign imposed communism. People often spend their entire lives in their place of birth, which provides you with a close-knit community of people like Darden has provided me with. Czechs are also very freedom loving people. The 15% flat rate tax is another reason I want to move there (laughs).” Regardless of whether he will decide to stay in the United States, or return to Europe Alexander believes that “the support network of Darden, as well as the Darden brand will help me achieve those goals.”

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