Today’s student feature highlights Rachel Gibson (Class of 2021), a recent MBA of the Week! Gibson is the first female CEO of Darden Capital Management (DCM), which manages over $20 million of Darden’s endowment and is entirely student-run. Gibson is also VP of Finance for the Darden Outdoors Club Board and on the Darden Private Equity Club Board as VP of Diversity and Club Partnerships. She serves as a Second Year Coach in Darden’s Career Center, and is on the Student Admissions Committee. You might call her a #girlboss. Read Gibson’s ‘women on the rise’ feature in Poets & Quants.
On leading DCM, Gibson shared, “This hands-on learning experience is invaluable, as the 24 second-year students chosen to manage this money also are responsible for leading all investment management club-related efforts, such as first-year training sessions, interview prep, speaker series, and hosting the Darden @ Virginia Investing Challenge.”
Q: What was your background before coming to Darden?
A: Before Darden, I worked at Cambridge Associates as an investment associate on a discretionary investment team within the Pension Practice in Boston, MA. In addition to my client work, I was a management team leader with 19 analyst reports and helped with staffing decisions and performance reviews. I also led the Boston office Investment Analyst Recruiting Team.
Q: Why did you choose Darden?
A: It was difficult to leave New England, but Darden was the perfect school for me. I knew the case method would mold me into the confident communicator I’ve always wanted to be and I was drawn to the strong sense of community that was evident when I spoke with current students. Darden’s focus on investment management with The Mayo Center for Asset Management and Darden Capital Management were also main reasons for why I chose Darden over other schools.
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I love following the markets, reading about investment strategies, and connecting with other women in financial services. Female mentors have already been incredibly valuable in my relatively short career, so I enjoy building those relationships and paying it forward by connecting with undergraduate women at my alma mater, Bucknell University, who are considering careers in finance. I also feel passionate about helping my peers at Darden learn about roles/careers in financial services that aren’t as well known, such as investment consulting.
Q: What section are you in?
A: I was in Section A during my FY at Darden and feel incredibly grateful to call those 65 people, plus our wonderful professors, family! They helped me grow by challenging me, but supporting me along the way.
Q: What’s your favorite class/why?
A: “Paths to Power” with Peter Belmi transformed the way I thought about myself, both personally and professionally. Our class discussions and simulations forced me to question how I want to be perceived by others, and think more critically about being “liked” versus “respected”, especially as a woman in finance. I feel much more prepared to confidently make decisions and manage people in my job after Darden because of the conclusions I came to in Professor Belmi’s class!
Q: What does it mean to you to be the CEO of Darden Capital Management?
A: I am very proud to be the first female CEO of Darden Capital Management. To be leading the program after partly having chosen to attend Darden because of DCM is incredibly rewarding. We currently manage ~$22 million of UVA’s endowment, making us the one of the largest student managed investment funds in the country. It is truly a student-run program—the leadership team and I are working hard to keep traditions alive while also trying to add value to future DCM classes (i.e. institutionalizing tools for fund performance analytics, creating an accessible alumni database, etc.). Managing through the market volatility due to COVID in March/April of this year when we first inherited the portfolios was definitely a challenging but educational experience!
This hands-on learning experience is invaluable, as the 24 second-year students chosen to manage this money also are responsible for leading all investment management club-related efforts, such as first-year training sessions, interview prep, speaker series, and hosting the Darden @ Virginia Investing Challenge.
My goal as CEO is to leave the program in a better state than I found it, which is difficult to do after so many great classes have led the program since it began in 1990! I also hope to encourage more women to consider careers in financial services after Darden.
Q: What are you planning to do after Graduation?
A: I recently accepted a full-time offer to join J.P. Morgan Private Bank as an investor associate in NY for their the Financial Institutions Group team. I had an incredible summer learning about new investment strategies and ways to help clients, especially during this low interest rate environment. I was supported by numerous Darden alums that went out of their way to make sure I was having a good experience and I hope to do the same for the next class of MBA Associates that join the team!
Be sure to consult the Latest News regularly for the most updated news releases and media hits. Check out faculty thought leadership published on Ideas to Action. And stay connected with us via social media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, WeChat.