Summer Stories from the Tech Club

The Darden Technology Club (DTC) is one of over 50 student-run clubs and organizations here at Darden. With over 200 members, DTC is dedicated to connecting its members with opportunities at tech companies, providing industry knowledge from thought leaders, offering hands-on skills training, and providing mentorship and recruiting support.

This summer, members of the DTC are hard at work at internships around the globe, and are sharing their intern experiences with us. Last week we heard from Kelly Sullivan (’18) who interned at Beverage Analytics™ by WeissBeerger. This week Breana Fife shares about her internship experience at Airbnb!

Breana Fife, ’18: Airbnb

Breana Fife ’18












“What’s the best aspect of interning at Airbnb?” I cannot count the number of times I’ve been asked this question over the past few months. I think people expect me to talk about the unique office, in-house chefs, or Airbnb credits; but I see all of those things as icing on the cake. For me, it’s the people.

I had three main criteria going into recruitment: I wanted to be in the tech space, to work for a company that truly values its employees, and perhaps most of all, I wanted to contribute in a meaningful way to said company. I knew Airbnb was a good fit from my first interview with the recruiter. During this interaction, she walked through the entire process from first interview to first workday. These included a typical phone screening, a couple of function-specific interviews with managers, and one additional interview I didn’t expect. It was a core values interview. She said cultural fit was equally important as the ability to perform on the job.

On my first day, I saw exactly what she meant. I met so many brilliant people from extremely diverse backgrounds who were also very humble and excited to be working towards Airbnb’s mission of everyone belonging anywhere. It actually felt like I was back in the Darden classroom. At Airbnb, like at Darden, everyone brings something new and unique to the table. I saw first-hand how synergizing diverse strengths helps Airbnb push closer to its goal.

I feel very fortunate that Darden and my prior working experience prepared me for my internship within Product Management of the Growth Team at Airbnb. My main project for the summer was to take an ambiguous concept, make it more concrete, and conduct a competitor analysis surrounding this concept. I constantly found myself thinking back to similar cases or discussions we had in class, and I realized how invaluable some of those takeaways are. More than that, how valuable it is to embrace ambiguity and figure out how to manage it.

I have two pieces of advice for incoming First Years:

1. Absorb as much knowledge as you can during your time at Darden

2. Prioritize what you’re looking for in an internship and stick to it throughout the recruitment process. It may end up that you’ll find your dream job or that you’ll realize the things you thought were important to you really aren’t. Both are equally as valuable.

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What’s it Like to Attend Darden? Find out on September 25

Come experience what it’s like to be a Darden student on Monday, 25 September! Darden Admissions is excited to host an open house for all prospective applicants interested in learning more about our full-time MBA program. Each open house consists of a class visit, tour, lunch with students, and admissions and financial panel. In the afternoon, we will dive more in to the particular area of focus with a panel discussion and faculty talk. The afternoon portion on Monday will focus on asset management. Even if this isn’t your particular area of focus, you will learn more about life at Darden and how students are using what they learn to propel their future.

Associate Professor of Business Administration Rich Evans will share more about teaching at Darden, his research, and the Darden Capital Management Club. This student-run club impressively manages the Darden Fund, Jefferson Fund, Cavalier Fund, Rotunda Fund and Monticello Fund, totaling approximately $10 million in assets.

Learn more about the Darden Capital Management Club in this video.

Check out details about Monday’s open house and register by 8 pm on Thursday, 21 September.

If you can’t make it to Darden on the 25 September, we’d love for you to attend one of our other open house events this fall!

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An Interview with Darden’s Black Executive MBA Student Association


BEMBA Student Association President, Arica Booker, and Vice President, Corbin Norman

What is the name of your student organization? What is the purpose of your student organization?


The Black Executive MBAs (BEMBA) mission is to enrich Darden and the broader UVa community by piecing together the minds, experiences, and resources of past, present, and prospective Darden executive format students to discuss issues of African-American business, economics, culture, and history.

Open to all, BEMBA is one of the first student associations chartered in Darden’s Executive MBA Program, and we plan to serve executive format students with a variety of programming – including leadership development, fellowship activities, community service, and conversations on topics of diversity and inclusion.

Why did you start your organization?

We wanted to play a key role in Darden’s increased focus on diversity and inclusion in the classroom and the Darden community. We believe a student-led organization that engages senior leaders and executives in conversations around topics difficult to discuss yet necessary to uncover is the best avenue for us to make meaningful contributions to our school, business, and society.

Are you planning any programming or activities in the upcoming year?

This year, our programming will focus on three primary areas:

1) Professional development through both networking and career planning;  

2) Supporting Darden’s admissions team in their efforts to continue to grow the number of African Americans interested in the Executive MBA Program. In fact, on 15 September, we’re co-hosting a networking breakfast for African-Americans interested in the executive formats of the Darden MBA. Read additional details, including registration information.

3) Influencing the Darden curriculum to include more cases on diversity and inclusion issues in business.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about Darden’s Executive MBA Program?

It is extremely difficult to identify just one thing positive about the Darden’s Executive MBA Program so we will mention two.

The diversity of our classmates is extraordinary. The differences not just in race, gender, color, nationality, etc. but the uniqueness of each of our classmates’ experiences, perspectives, interests, and attitudes is amazing.

Secondly, the personal and professional network among classmates, alumni, faculty, and staff here is unmatched. In many ways, this network of global leaders and influencers will be one of the most significant takeaways from our time on grounds.

What advice would you offer a prospective student considering the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

Your career and ultimately your life is a marathon, not a sprint. Reflect on your needs professionally and personally. Where are you pre-Darden? Where do you want to be post-Darden? Once you’ve identified those gaps, it is time to put together a roadmap for success. Does an MBA fill in those gaps? Why Darden? This period of reflection and planning will really help you to extract the most value from the Darden experience.

How can an interested prospective student connect with your organization?

Reach out to the President or Executive Vice President of the Black Executive MBA group (see emails below) and join us for breakfast on September 15!

Arica Booker, President

Corbin Norman, Executive Vice President

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Darden Hosts Networking Breakfasts in the DC Area

In addition to scheduling a class visit in September or October, there are several upcoming opportunities in the DC area to learn more about Darden.

We will host a series of networking breakfasts – one for women and another hosted by our Black Executive MBA organization. These informal gatherings are a great way to connect with current Darden students and staff, meet other prospective students and ask any questions you have about the executive formats of the Darden MBA. We hope you will be able to join us!

Darden Networking Breakfast hosted by our Black Executive MBA Organization
15 September – Arlington, Virginia (Rosslyn)
7:30 – 9:00 am
Click Here to Register

Darden Women’s Networking Breakfast
29 September – Arlington, VA (Rosslyn)
7:30 – 9:00 am
Click Here to Register

Can’t make one of these breakfasts? Be sure to keep an eye on our Events page for updates in the coming weeks!

Ready to take the next step? We encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee. We offer both phone as well as in-person (Office Hours) conversations.

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We’ve Got a Podcast!

Do you like podcasts? Are you interested in the executive formats of the Darden MBA? Well, you are in luck!

We recently launched our Darden Executive MBA Podcast. On this podcast, we explore our Executive MBA (EMBA) and Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) formats, tackling a host of topics ranging from Admissions questions to the student experience and everything in between. Episodes are hosted by Brett Twitty, Director of Admissions for the executive formats of the Darden MBA and feature interviews with current students, program staff, faculty and more!

Check out out our first episode! In this episode, we introduce the podcast, as well as our Class of 2019, and highlight a few upcoming application deadlines. Exciting!

Have an idea for a podcast segment? Please email your comments, suggestions and ideas to

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Attend Darden’s Open House on September 11

Darden Admissions invites you to join us for an Open House on Monday, 11 September! Our Open Houses are designed for all prospective applicants who are interested in learning more about the full-time MBA. You’ll enjoy a class visit, tour, lunch with students, and admissions and financial panel. These activities provide lots of opportunities to talk to faculty and students, and to have your questions answered.

On Monday afternoon, we will dive into “Business in Society” through a panel discussion and faculty talk. Joey Burton, Executive Director of the Institute for Business in Society, will discuss the intersection of business, society and government, and the role of the Institute for Business in Society, whose mission is to help Darden’s faculty change the prevailing narrative about business and capitalism.

Check out the below video to learn about Darden’s Institute for Business in Society, and read Professor Gentile’s reflection on one of the 5 finalists for this year’s P3 Impact award, presented in part by the Institute.

Please register for Monday’s open house by 8 pm on Thursday, 7 September.

If you can’t make it to Darden on 11 September, we’d love for you to attend one of our other open house events this fall!

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Full-Time Residential MBA Class of 2019 Kicks Off Their Year


The 2019 class of Full-Time Residential MBA students kicked off their year with enthusiasm and lots of energy. This class, which ties the record for the highest percentage of women in the full-time program and hits a new peak for GMAT scores, was encouraged from the start to “discover their why,” or their noble purpose, and to “put their why to work as a path to happiness and ultimate success.” Students were encouraged to get to know one another on a deeper level and to focus on Darden’s core values of diversity, inclusion and respect.

Full-Time Residential MBA Class of 2019 Key Facts:

  • Class Size: 326
  • Women: 39%
  • Average Age: 27
  • Born Outside the U.S.: 36%
  • Domestic Minorities: 20%
  • 36 countries represented
  • 29 states & territories

The Class of 2019 is the first class to take part in a new dual-degree program with UVA’s Data Science Institute. Seven students in the class will participate in the MBA/Master of Science in Data Science program, which aims to provide robust training and cutting edge tools for students.

If you are considering applying for the Class of 2020, register for our Office Hours, Coffee Chats, and other Admissions Events. We look forward to meeting with you soon!

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Summer Stories from the Consulting Club: ZS Associates

The Consulting Club is one of over 50 student-run clubs and organizations here at Darden. The club has the largest membership base on Grounds and is dedicated to educating the Darden Community about the consulting industry and preparing students for successful careers within it.

This summer, we asked a few members of the Consulting Club to share their internship experiences with us. Our next story comes from Daniele Giraldo, who interned at ZS Associates doing sales and marketing consulting for healthcare clients.

Daniele Giraldo ’18: ZS Associates

Daniele Giraldo ’18

I spent the summer at ZS Associates, a sales and marketing strategy consulting firm that primarily serves pharmaceutical clients. I had worked at ZS before coming to Darden in the Sao Paulo, Brazil office, and I was excited to rejoin the ZS team in the Princeton office. My summer could not have been any better! During my 11 weeks, I had a great balance between working on challenging projects and going to fun activities where I got to know the other interns and other ZSers.

ZS made an effort from day one to welcome us to the company and to help us network with our peers. In our first week, the associate and consultant interns from the East Region had trainings to get up to speed on Excel, PowerPoint, presentation skills, and the pharmaceutical industry. Over that first week, the interns bonded over meals and happy hours, including a BBQ hosted at the Princeton office. In the middle of the summer, the consultant interns headed to Chicago for ZStart, ZS’ learning and expertise development program for new ZSers. We joined new team members from around the world for more trainings and events. It was a fantastic opportunity to interact with people from different offices.

As for project work, ZS did not hold back; we were immediately treated like full-time employees. I started working on a project on my very first day after the training. Over the summer, I worked on two projects and a proposal for the same client, a multinational pharmaceutical company. On the first project, I learned more about physician segmentation and how to extract insights from the vast amount of data available in the healthcare industry. On the second project, I engaged in a Brand Dashboard project to define relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) for a launch of a new indication of a mature product, including creating mock-ups of dashboard screens.

One highlight of working for this client included learning to think holistically when creating solutions for a client. I had to think as the brand manager, sales manager, and access manager to assess what KPIs the client should track. It was also exciting to interact with the User Experience team from ZS, who supported the design phase, to analyze KPIs from a different perspective. Finally, I worked on a proposal to address a complex business problem: our client was about to lose exclusivity of one of their most important products. We developed a proposed strategy for our client to pursue in seven different countries to respond to this loss of patent. I interacted with ZSers from multiple countries and learned the nuances of structuring a proposal response as opposed to a project deliverable.

Overall my experience at ZS was amazing. I learned about the culture in the firm in the Princeton office, which was tremendously similar to what I experienced in ZS Sao Paulo. ZSers are always extremely collaborative and willing to help each other. On both of my projects, I really felt like part of the team and enjoyed having ownership of my work streams. Additionally, HR organized events with senior leadership, and I was able to meet with ZS’s CEO, Chairman, and Managing Principal for the Princeton office. Insight from these senior leaders provided the strategic perspective on where ZS and the healthcare industry are heading in the coming years. Finally, I became even closer friends with my colleagues from Darden that interned at the firm, and made new friends with interns joining from other schools.

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Exec MBA Class Visits Now Available

Interested in the executive formats of the Darden MBA? Want to experience the case method firsthand? Join us for a class visit in September or October!

Click here to register for a class visit

We offer options to participate in a class in both of our two world-class locations: Charlottesville and the Washington, DC area (Rosslyn). These visits provide excellent opportunities to connect with faculty, staff and current students, and to learn more about our Executive MBA (EMBA) and Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) formats. If your schedule permits, you can join our students for lunch!

Can’t make it for a class visit but want to learn more about Darden?

Schedule a conversation. We offer both phone and in-person conversations (Office Hours) for prospective students interested in the executive formats of the Darden MBA.

Attend an Event. We host events and receptions throughout the United States and around the world.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Spend Labor Day Getting to Know Darden!

On Monday, 4 September we will host the second in a series of open houses designed to help you learn more about Darden. These open houses are designed for all prospective applicants who are interested in learning more about the full-time MBA. The day consists of a class visit, tour, lunch with students, and admissions and financial panel. In the afternoon, we will dive more in to the particular area of focus with a panel discussion and faculty talk. Monday’s Open House will focus on technology and data analytics. Raj Venkatesan will share more about teaching at Darden, his research, and our newest dual degree with the Data Science Institute.

Spend your day off experiencing what it’s like to be a Darden student! You can learn more and register here. So that we can prepare for your visit, please register by 8 pm on Thursday, 31 August.

Can’t make it Monday? Check out our other open house events this fall!

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