On Wednesday, 20 November, in Washington, D.C., Darden Admissions will co-host a networking happy hour with our Black Executive MBA (BEMBA) student organization. This event is a great opportunity to connect with current executive format students and learn more about Darden’s Executive MBA program. You can register now.

This is the first of two networking events co-sponsored by Admissions and BEMBA, and we will also host a networking dinner at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., on 5 December.

We recently caught up with BEMBA President Candie Jones (EMBA 2020) about what the organization has planned for the coming months. Check out Candie’s responses below, as well as her recent interview on the ExecMBA Podcast

Interested in learning even more about BEMBA? Our latest podcast episode features a conversation with Ron Cook (GEMBA 2020). Ron is a two-time guest on the podcast who serves on the BEMBA leadership board and is president of our Executive MBA Entrepreneurship Club. You can also listen to our interviews with previous BEMBA leaders Camille Smith (GEMBA ’19), Nii-Lante Lamptey (EMBA ’19) and Corbin Norman (GEMBA ’18).

Q: What attracted you to serve as BEMBA president?

A: When considering my own MBA options, I vividly recall coming across a podcast conversation featuring BEMBA Co-founder and then-President Arica Booker. Something clicked inside me when hearing her share that “without understanding and recognizing diversity, you cannot be a differentiated leader.” Moreover, her sense that this conviction “directly aligns with Darden’s values,” signaled the green light I needed to move forward with the process of officially submitting my application to Darden’s Executive MBA program.

Perhaps most compelling about my opportunity to lead BEMBA is the chance to be the voice that amplifies this message, which as far as I’m concerned, is also a call to action. It was the call to differentiated leadership that brought me to Darden, and that likewise continues to anchor my commitment to enhancing and advancing the impact of our program. A big part of that is effectively reaching MBA-minded professionals eager to answer this very call, and who therefore owe it to themselves to strongly consider – why Darden?

Q: What are your goals for BEMBA in the coming months? What do you have planned? What do you hope to accomplish?

A: Over the next couple of months, we especially aim to deepen relationships and rapport with our newest members in the Class of 2021. Understanding that they have been busy calibrating their respective balances of work, life and school, we are eager to reconnect first and foremost as peers who have been there and done that — with the BEMBA community by our side every step of the way. I am looking forward to having a proper catch up to learn more about what’s working well for them, what might benefit from a different approach and where support individually and collectively could be useful.

As for events, BEMBA has a few gatherings planned, including a networking happy hour (20 November) as well as a networking dinner (5 December), both of which can be registered for online and are open to anyone who might be interested in learning more about Darden’s Executive MBA program.

In addition to exploring the possibility of a holiday service project to pursue as a group before the year’s end, we also aim to socialize and solidify BEMBA’s strategic priorities heading into the new year. As we plan for the months ahead, our particular focus will be on closing the gaps as they pertain to the economic empowerment and advancement of black business and leadership, including as reflected in the workings and teachings of Darden’s Executive MBA program.


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