It’s Opening Week here at Darden, and we are thrilled to welcome the full-time MBA Class of 2021 to Grounds. Though no First Year classes are held during the 2019 Opening Week, students have plenty of work to do, including getting to know their classmates through team-building activities, diving into their community by learning about Darden’s many clubs, taking part in career-focused workshops and participating in a celebration — of course!

During an opening welcome event in Abbott Auditorium, Senior Associate Dean of the Full-Time MBA Program Tom Steenburgh said the students’ first week was built around an imperative to feel welcomed, feel connected, feel inspired and feel ready.

Darden Student Association President Max Linden and Vice President Rachel Southall, both Class of 2020, looked ahead to a year that would be both challenging and transformative, and encouraged new students to practice “kindness and empathy” as they worked together with their new classmates.

Linden and Southall urged the new First Years not to worry too much about recruiting for their summer internship, but rather focus on how their internship is part of a process building toward the career they aspire to achieve. The Darden Class of 2020 is fresh off a summer in which 100 percent of students received internship offers and worked for more than 145 companies.

Executive Director of Admissions Dawna Clarke welcomed the First Years via video from India, where she is currently hosting recruiting events for the Class of 2022. She shared her excitement for the newest members of the Darden full-time MBA, revealing a few superlatives and statistics for this “truly  distinguished” class of students.

  • A record-setting 40 percent women make up this robust class of 337 total students.
  • The class has an average of five years of work experience with more than 200 employers across 30 industries, and 15 students are founders or co-founders of businesses.
  • The class reported an average GMAT of 713, an average GPA of 3.5 and nearly 12 percent of the Class plans to pursue a dual degree while earning their MBA.

The diverse and academically qualified group includes:

  • 33 percent international citizens, representing 38 countries
  • 21 percent of students identifying as racial or ethnic minorities
  • 33 Consortium Fellows and 67 Forte Fellows

Darden’s 12-month MSBA and Darden DC Metro-based Executive MBA also boasted record stats. The Executive MBA program welcomed its largest class to date — 139 students who represent over 20 industries. Darden’s second MSBA cohort of 62 students shows off a whopping 564 total years of work experience. The MSBA class size grew more than 50 percent over last year’s inaugural class.

Read the full story here.