Jade McLaughlin (Class of 2023) is a Second Year in Darden’s Full-Time MBA program and a dual degree student with the School of Education and Human Development.

She’s widely involved across different clubs, serving as President of the Run Club, VP of Hiking with the Outdoors Club, VP of Academics with Graduate Women in Business, and a Second Year Coach. A Consortium Fellow, Jade has also participated in Community Consultants of Darden, Board Fellows, and section leadership as the Section B Diversity Representative.

Jade McLaughlin, Class of 2023

Jade’s roots trace back to New Hampshire, where she grew up in a small town and previously worked in higher education.

She recently shared her reflections on her summer internship experience with Bain & Company in Boston, MA.

When I started at Darden last fall, I wasn’t sure what career path I wanted to pursue.

Having worked in higher education for four years, I wanted to intern in an industry related to my dual MBA/MEd coursework, while building my strategic thinking. Within the first few weeks of Darden, through various conferences, company briefings, and coffee chats with firm representatives, I realized that an internship in consulting, with a firm that had social impact expertise, would fulfill both aims.

Throughout the fall, I attended events through the Darden Consulting Club, met with current consultants to learn about their work, and prepared for interviews with guidance from my Second Year Coach. After interviews, I was thrilled to accept an internship offer with Bain & Company in the Boston office. To me, Bain offered the best opportunity for me to work on collaborative teams, connect with like-minded and interesting people, and work on pro-bono education projects.

During my internship this summer, I was staffed on an education project working on postsecondary readiness in a large urban area. Beyond the project work, I built connections with the 25 other Boston interns, attending the annual intern rafting trip in Maine and hiking in New Hampshire with co-interns on the weekends.

The Bain Boston 2022 Summer Associates, photo courtesy of Jade McLaughlin

When I think back on my journey over the past year, I’ve been struck with three major ways in which Darden has helped me take the next step in my career:

1. My dual degree coursework has laid the foundation for success in both business and education

Balancing coursework across two different schools at the University of Virginia is, of course, more challenging than studying for one degree. Despite the increased workload compared to my peers, the dual MBA/MEd illuminated how the business and education spheres can interact and how adopting an innovator’s mindset can help one enact positive change in schools. Beyond the dual degree, Darden’s core curriculum in operations, finance, accounting, and marketing prepared me thoroughly for working in a business environment, after working in education for many years.

2. I found my voice in the case classroom

I chose Darden to push myself outside my comfort zone. Growing up and throughout my schooling, I was never the loudest person in a room, but I wanted to push myself to participate in class and add to the academic environment. Though I had a steep learning curve at Darden, I learned to find my voice by the end of the year. And when I came into my internship this summer, I felt like I could add my voice to a case team meeting by contributing my thoughts or questions with ease.

3. Cases helped me learn how to think through a problem

Preparing for a class in a case classroom is not very different from getting up to speed on a consulting case, as I learned this summer. When starting two different cases this summer, I was able to take in a lot of information from different sources, prioritize which pieces were important, and synthesize my learnings together. I’m looking forward to diving back into the case classroom this year and honing this muscle more before returning to Bain next year.