Our Executive MBA profile series continues with a Q&A with First Year Executive MBA student Aisha Pridgen (Class of 2022). Join Aisha and other members of Darden’s Black Executive MBA student organization tomorrow night (Wednesday, 17 February) at 6:00 p.m. EST for a virtual networking event. There is still time to register!   

Catch up on our earlier profiles with Jean Borno (EMBA ’17), Christy Sisko (Class of 2022) and Stephen Beaudoin (Class of 2022), and be sure to subscribe to The ExecMBA Podcast for weekly conversations with members of our Executive MBA community. 

Q: What is your current role? What is your professional/academic background?

Aisha Pridgen (Class of 2022)

A: Currently, I am a licensed attorney in North Carolina, and I oversee the conduct process at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Every day I get the opportunity to apply my academic knowledge gained from UNC School of Law and my practical legal skills gained from practicing primarily family law for more than 10 years to challenge and shape future leaders.

Presenting others with complex situations, challenging them to think critically and problem-solve is what I do every day, and it is what I have enjoyed the most throughout my professional career. At the end of each day, I hope to lead others to appreciate how decisions have both broad and individual implications that impact others in real and consequential ways.

Q: How did you decide to pursue an MBA?

A: I am continuously looking for opportunities that will push me toward ‘greatness.’ To me, ‘Greatness’ means that I continue to evolve and learn new skills.

I decided to pursue an MBA after meeting and speaking with others who had their MBA (or were in the process of completing an MBA program) and, like me, I found they were all working toward something ‘better’ and seeking out ways to create change or make an impact. In my experience, I have found those individuals attracted to pursuing an MBA are dynamic and on a journey to be great – in so many ways – and their stories really resonated with me.

Q: What led you what to Darden?

A: While I chose Darden for its solid reputation for teaching excellence and the academic rigor, it was equally important to me to be a part of an energetic learning community where I would learn from my peers’ experiences and, likewise, they would learn from my experiences.

After visiting a class in the Spring of 2019, I observed the quality of the teaching and the collegial academic environment, and I also knew the program was based in an area where I could see myself living and working before/after graduation. My visit experience really sealed the deal for me.

Q: What has been the impact of your Darden experience so far?

A: I took the GMAT because I discovered that I needed to begin to flex my ‘mental muscles’ before diving into the Darden curriculum and the program’s quantitative coursework. Both the prep work and the exam were uncomfortable ‘aha’ moments for me. However, because of this experience, I came prepared to start the program with an understanding of the key areas where Darden would create my most meaningful learning experiences.

On a personal note, my peers have been extremely positive and encouraging along the way, and they have supported my learning in the areas where I need and want to gain the most out of the program.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for prospective students?

A: Our decisions and experiences are all interconnected. Think about how the program will connect to your community, firm and family, as well as to who you are and who you envision yourself to be in the future. If you can make these connections, you will see the value that you will bring to the program, but also what you will gain from a Darden MBA.

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