The Case Method academic experience and tight-knit community pushes students to speak up and speak out, and that student-centric approach carries over outside the classroom as well. In addition to the the 50+ student clubs and organizations that offer leadership roles and creative outlets, the Darden Student Association (DSA) serves as a formal student leadership body who are elected by their classmates, and work directly with Darden’s senior leadership to advocate for students and develop and implement student-focused initiatives.
We are thrilled to feature DSA president DeMario Moore and executive vice president Jen Bundy, who shared more about how the DSA impacts the student experience, and what they’re looking forward to most for the 2021-2022 academic year. Moore and Bundy were also recently featured on the Experience Darden podcast, where they discussed their best advice for prospective students, their vision for the year ahead and why everyone should have a folder in their inbox called “Greatness”.
Want to learn more? Check out the June 2021 recording here. Senior Director of Admissions Christian West hosts Darden Student Association President DeMario Moore and Executive Vice President Jen Bundy for a conversation about student life, traditions, and the role the DSA plays in the Darden student experience.
DeMario Moore, Darden Student Association President
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
DeMario Moore (Class of 2022) President, Darden Student Association
Undergrad: Central Michigan University
Pre-MBA Industry/Functional Area: Consulting + Product Management
Areas of Career Interest: General Management, Technology, Corporate Strategy
Jen Bundy, Darden Student Association Executive Vice President
Hometown: Cumberland, RI (my favorite place!)
Undergrad: Syracuse University
Pre-MBA Industry/Functional Area: I worked in sales for a higher education consulting firm in Washington, D.C. for 5 years before coming to Darden.
Areas of Career Interest: Prior to Darden I was involved in my local neighborhood commission and believe strongly in reinvesting in communities that have been left behind. My goal is bring opportunity to these “underdog” neighborhoods and I want to focus my career on reviving and growing those communities.
Q&A with DeMario and Jen
How did you decide that Darden was your best fit?
Moore: The tight-knit community at Darden is unmatched. When I attended Darden’s Diversity Conference in 2019, I was reassured that there was space in this community for me. I received a warm welcome from everyone I met, and the support continued throughout my application process.
Bundy: I only visited Darden once during my interview before I accepted. I remember being blown away by how kind and welcoming everyone was. I visited during the last day of core classes and the campus was just electric – you could feel the energy and excitement. I sat in on a class and got to witness the case method in action and saw how much the section had bonded over the previous three quarters. People were learning, having a dialogue but also having so much fun.
Could you share a little more about the DSA and why it is so important?
Moore: The Darden Student Association (DSA) is a collective of students who are elected by the student body to craft the student experience before, during, and post-Darden. DSA members collaborate closely with all members of the Darden community, which include, but are not limited to students, faculty/staff, and administration. DSA is the nucleus of Darden’s student-run ecosystem and is essential in creating a community where every student feels a sense of belonging.
Bundy: DSA is the advocate for the student. It is important for students to have a say in their experience and DSA provides a direct line to give feedback, shape events and make change here on campus. DSA plays a huge role in what life at Darden is like. It is crucial that every student has a voice and seat at the table to help make our 2 years in Charlottesville the best they can be!
How did the DSA impact your First Year experience and why did you decide to run for this leadership role?
Moore: DSA played a huge role in my acclimation to Darden during Orientation Week. Their presence set the tone for my MBA experience. DSA was also responsible for creating innovative ways for students to engage during the pandemic. Their agility with responding to a global crisis was inspirational and motivated me to get more involved. I decided to run for the President role after speaking with my marketing professor, Lalin Anik. We were discussing a myriad of ideas to make Darden more diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all community members. By the end of our conversation, I was convinced that being President of DSA was the best path forward to accomplish my vision.
Bundy: DSA was in charge of organizing some of my favorite events this year! The outgoing DSA overcame obstacle after obstacle to hold events and make my first year experience as close to normal as possible. I’m really in awe of their resilience and consistent positivity. I decided to get involved in DSA because I really want to help make next year the best yet. The DSA Board wants to bring a fun energy to campus and allow us to reinvigorate some of the Darden traditions we missed this year because of the pandemic. Finally, we want to make sure everyone feels at home at Darden. Going to business school, making new friends, moving to a new part of the country, trying to get a job…it can be overwhelming. Our goal is to make sure everyone feels included and supported.
What is the role of the DSA President and what are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?
Moore: I view DSA President as the face of the Darden student body. A huge component of the role is liaising between the DSA Board and Darden. Developing the annual strategy for DSA, partnering with club members to meet their objectives, and providing input for key administration decisions are a few of the key responsibilities. All of this is achieved while partnering very closely with the EVP, who I view as a co-lead. Next year, I am looking forward to enhancing the Darden experience with my EVP, Jen. We have many fun ideas that will build comradery across all cultures at Darden.
Bundy: The DSA President/EVP work hand and hand to help execute and support the vision of the board. Our job is to listen to students and advocate on their behalf to the administration. We are responsible for making the student experience strong both inside and outside the classroom.
Favorite memory from your first year?
Moore: My favorite memory was a huge surprise planned by DSA after my first-year class reached a huge milestone. Unfortunately, I am unable to share the intricate details, but that moment recharged my spirit!
Bundy: Section A celebrated the end of core by holding a Section A Soirée to hand out superlatives and come together outside of the classroom. It was a blast and it was fun to recollect on how far we’d all come since August. Section A really is close knit and seeing us all together outside of class was really special.
Favorite Charlottesville spot?
Moore: Public Fish & Oyster. The oysters, lobster rolls, and bubbles during happy hour are mouthwatering!
Bundy: I love the Pie Chest! So delicious – cannot recommend enough.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Moore: Invest your time in getting to know the DSA board. If you have any questions, or concerns about the Darden experience, we are the servant leaders who are here to guide you.
Bundy: Remember why you chose to come back to business school. It is really hard to balance all of the competing priorities (schoolwork, recruiting, social life) and it is important to focus on what you want out of this experience. It looks different for everyone! It can be easy to feel pressure to enter a certain career path and compare yourself to everyone else, but be confident in making your own unique journey.