Written by Tommy Haverty, Class of 2023, Darden Military Association VP of Careers
It is no mystery why Darden is a top choice for MBA applicants with military backgrounds. Darden consistently ranks first amongst MBA experiences while offering a supportive military community and a leadership-driven environment, making the school an attractive fit for any active duty or veteran applicant. But what prospective students may not realize are the benefits of joining the Darden Military Association (DMA) once admitted to the MBA program. The DMA has a widely known reputation for fostering a tight-knit network, preparing its military members for successful careers and thriving within the broader Darden community.
Part of Darden’s diverse student body, DMA members comprise almost 10 percent of each Full-Time MBA class and represent the full spectrum of military branches, occupational specialties and nationalities. This military representation extends to nine percent of Darden’s Part-Time MBA, 25 percent of the Master of Science in Business Analytics and 30 percent of the Executive MBA student body. Military members are no strangers to making decisions under duress with limited information and thrive in Darden’s case method environment.
The DMA is an organization composed of people who look out for one another. For instance, on top of recruiting support from resources like the Career Center and student-led industry clubs, all First Year students are paired with Second Year mentors who help with everything from resumé reviews to serving as a sounding board for general career advice. This support carries over into access to nearly 400 Darden military alumni who continually return to Grounds to participate in recruiting events.
In the DMA’s mission statement, DMA Co-presidents Myles Stroud (Class of 2023) and Malcolm Dunlop (Class of 2023) emphasize that their primary goal for members is career success. This includes general transition advice, mentoring on aspects common to all industries, and member-specific coaching based on career goals. This year’s events included connections with over 40 companies across a wide span of industries, all of which either employ Darden veteran alumni or actively seek veterans to join their company.
The hard work and exceptional level of commitment that veterans put into their recruiting preparation do not go unnoticed:
The DMA is a uniquely dynamic organization committed to furthering its members’ career goals and dedicated to helping them continue to grow and thrive as leaders in our global community. Each year, I’m impressed anew by the many and varied ways in which the DMA creates a multi-faceted support structure for students while connecting them with Darden’s military alumni and top employers who are actively seeking to hire veterans. The Career Center couldn’t ask for a better mission partner than the DMA.
This effort also pays off, with stats below from the DMA class of 2023:
- Average Annual Salary: $178,000
- Average Signing Bonus: $39,000
- Top DMA employers: McKinsey & Co. and Boston Consulting Group
- Top DMA industries: Consulting and Finance
Note: The career performance results were self-reported by DMA members
I’m incredibly grateful for and proud of the Darden Military Association for so many reasons. They are the personification of the term ‘inclusive leadership’, especially regarding the proactive and genuine manner in which they reach out to prospective students, make them feel welcome, and educate them on the many benefits of Darden and the DMA. The culture that exists within the DMA is one that I wish all students could experience. I simply love our DMA.
Darden’s Financial Advantage
Darden is a public school located in the beautiful and relatively affordable city of Charlottesville, Virginia, meaning that military members with GI Bill benefits can attend a premier program in one of America’s best-rated places to live at a reasonable cost. Furthermore, Darden’s availability of military scholarships often plays a major role in attracting the best students from all branches of the military.
- 11 DMA members received merit-based scholarships with their acceptance to Darden
- 2 DMA members earned academic scholarships while attending Darden
Beyond its career focus, the DMA also does an exceptional job involving the student body and the broader Darden alumni community. For instance, the club has a growing social media presence on Instagram: @darden_vets.
DMA engagement is not limited to alumni and prospective students, but also bolsters relationships with current students by demystifying military service and service members. The club holds annual fundraisers for meaningful causes, such as support for Afghan refugees and life-saving supplies for the ongoing war in Ukraine. Additionally, members lead classroom discussions to educate fellow students on the significance of veteran-centric holidays.
Who Can Join?
Prospective students may wonder if the DMA accepts members who did not serve in the military. The answer is yes. The DMA welcomes nonmilitary members, endearingly referred to as “Battle Buddies.” When accounting for DMA partners and Battles Buddies, veteran members actually make up a minority of the club. In addition to career-focused events, the DMA hosts fun and engaging social events, including sports tailgates, BBQs, clay shoots, and get-togethers like the Army-Navy football game watch party.
Want to learn more?
Between the school’s outsized commitment to veterans, its 50-year Executive Education relationship with military branches and decades-long record of impressive career outcomes, Darden’s MBA program is an obvious choice for military service members. For those interested in discovering more about the Darden Military Association, please feel free to contact PhilieM23@darden.virginia.edu or visit our website.