The Asia Business Club at Darden (ABCD) is one of the School’s largest student-run organizations, and aims to not only create a safe and collaborative space for its members, but also increase diversity and inclusion by promoting and celebrating Asian culture at Darden.

President of the club Xinyi Jiang (Class of 2023) shared insights about the club’s mission, a few highlights from the year (so far!) and how she hopes ABCD will continue to thrive in the years ahead.

Asia Business Club President Xinyi Jiang (Class of 2023)

Global Voices of Darden highlighted the club’s signature Asia Grand Gala, a celebration of the Lunar New Year, which featured:

  • Lion Dance (A traditional performance from China during the Lunar New Year to bring good luck)
  • A piano solo (featuring traditional Chinese music)
  • Tinikling (a traditional dance of the Philippines with bamboo poles)
  • Taekwondo (a Korean form of martial arts)
  • A vocal solo (originating from Vietnam)
  • Southeast dance (represented Bahasa Malaya, Bangla, Telugu and Hindi cultures)
  • Tik Tok-style dance (with traditional Asian pop music)
  • Cultural fusion performances (Chinese/Latin and hip-hop/K-pop)
Asia Business Club at Darden, 2022-23 Leadership Team

Read more about Jiang’s accomplishments and her future in investment banking on Global Voices of Darden.

Q: Could you share a little about ABCD and why it’s such an important part of the Darden community?

A: Asia Business Club at Darden (ABCD) is one of the biggest affinity clubs at Darden. Our purpose is to help ABCD members succeed at Darden by providing support in recruiting, social, and personal development. We thrive to advance diversity and inclusion by celebrating Asian culture within the Darden community. ABCD actively participates in admission events in Asia and plays a role in promoting Darden to prospective Asian students.

ABCD also creates opportunities for global perspectives, cultural awareness, networking, career development and building diversity and inclusion. The club provides an opportunity for our Darden classmates to learn about culture, history, and business practices of Asian countries. By bringing together students from various Asian countries, as well as those with an interest in the region, ABCD allows students to build relationships with each other and with alumni and business leaders with connections to Asia. ABCD is also a safe place for club members to make friends and share their experiences, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

Xinyi Jiang (Class of 2023) celebrates the Lunar New Year during the Asia Gala, January 2023.

Q: What made you decide to run for president of the club and how has the year been going so far for ABCD?

A: I am super excited about building the Asia community at Darden. On the one hand, I want to help foster a safe and collaborative community for club members, especially those who are far from their home countries. I want to create a sense of shared identity and make them feel proud of our Asian heritage. On the other hand, I enjoy promoting Asia culture to our Darden classmates. I love introducing Asian cultural traditions such as holidays, food, and games to the Darden community. Through these culture events, we bring different global experiences to our classmates and build a deeper connection with each other.

When I was elected as the president of ABCD, I updated our mission statements to be:

  1. Making ABCD more diverse
  2. Making ABCD your best Darden memory
  3. Increasing the awareness of ABCD

A highlight of the past year is that we have initiated many new collaborations with other clubs at Darden and Asian clubs at other schools.

For example, we cohosted a first-ever Darden worldwide DJ party along with the Latin American Student Association (LASA), Darden South Asia Society (DSAS) and the European Society. We also collaborated a mixer with UVA Law School’s Asia club, APALSA. We organized a Karaoke night with Darden’s Black Business Student Association (BBSA) to celebrate Lunar New Year and Black History Month. We also organized a KPoP dance workshop with Dance Club and a tennis hit-around with Racket club. Currently, we are working with DSAS, LASA and Darden Africa Business Organization (DABO) to host the first-ever Darden Emerging Market Conference.

Students participate in a fashion show during the Asia Gala, January 2023.

Q: What were a few highlights from Asia Business Week?

A: Our signature Asia Gala was a great success! More than 300 people from the Darden community attended the event. We served Asian cuisine, including General Tso’s Chicken, Sesame Fried Tofu, Vegetable Fried Rice and Egg Rolls. We had performances from across Asian countries and a stunning red-carpet runway where our classmates showcased Asian traditional outfits and a freestyle dance floor where classmates danced to their favorite Asian pop music.

Asia Gala Night is a great opportunity for us to showcase diverse Asian cultures and embrace our heritage. By introducing performances, food, and activities from different Asian countries to our classmates, we also contribute to the Darden community’s global experience.

Students demonstrate tinikling, a traditional Philippine folk dance, January 2023.

Q: On a personal note, what section were you in? What’s your favorite section tradition?

A: Section C! We have a Section C last day of class tradition where we take someone else’s nametag and act like them all day! It’s super fun. We just realized how much we knew about our classmates while pretending to be them!

Q: Favorite restaurant in Charlottesville? Favorite activity to do around town?

A: Doma Korean Kitchen is my favorite restaurant! I also enjoy playing golf in Charlottesville – it’s very easy to do and affordable.

Darden’s tight-knit community creates a unique opportunity to foster strong relationships with future leaders. I am also fascinated by Darden’s diverse and inclusive environment. As a minority and woman of color, I feel comfortable being my authentic self and not trying to fit into any circle. In my leadership role, I serve as a bridge to help Asian students become more familiar with American culture and introduce diverse Asian cultures to the wider Darden community.

- Xinyi Jiang (Class of 2023, President, Asia Business Club at Darden