Mariam Eatedali joined the Darden family as a member of the inaugural Part-Time MBA Class of 2025. From her time studying at UVA as an undergraduate student, she has excelled in Washington D.C. working on Capitol Hill and is now a Director for Edelman Global Advisory.  

Q: How did you become interested in pursuing an MBA? 

A: I reached a point in my career where I had some experience, but there was still a lot I didn’t know, so, I decided to explore what continuing my education would look like. An MBA kept sticking out as a program where you can bring your experience to the table and be surrounded by others from different backgrounds that will broaden your perspective. As far as Darden goes, I was a UVA undergrad and Darden is a name that pops up a lot. Of all the programs I looked at, it was so thoughtful how every moment was about making the experience great for you as an individual and your classmates. 

In our Part-Time MBA class, you have a room full of different personalities, interests and industries speaking all the time. Especially with the case method, we look at a case together and not only share our experiences but actually actively listen and actively participate. It’s so applicable to real life when you’re sitting in a room and there are so many different individuals you work with, and you need to learn about them in the process of making a decision. 

Q: Do you have a favorite memory from the program?

A: Just the relationships I’ve built over this past year plus. Even during our first residency in Charlottesville, I was struck by how quickly we began sharing deep elements of our personalities and things we’ve been through. I know more about my cohort than I could have ever thought, and it’s made us feel like we’re really in this together.  

Q: How do you think you’ve grown since starting the program? 

A: I was a Politics major, and I’ve spent my career in policy and communications, so I was nervous about pursuing an MBA. When you go into any sort of program that you were initially intimidated by, there is a feeling of imposter syndrome because you’re still learning and there’s a tendency to focus on all things you don’t know. However, I think that’s a great feeling, because it means you haven’t figured it all out yet.  

When I started at Darden, it took me a while to accept my place among my peers. This program is full of some of the smartest, most accomplished individuals I’ve met. The Darden team always says, “You are all meant to be here,” and in just a few quarters, I’ve never felt more confidence. I am truly proud of myself, and far more accepting of saying, “I don’t know this, but I’m learning.” 

Q: What’s your best advice for prospective students? 

A: Take the leap. Do it. If you don’t do it, you will never know if you were meant to be there or not. I second guess myself quite often. Then one day during COVID I’d done a lot of thinking, and decided why not apply? I didn’t know what would happen, but I’m so incredibly thankful I did. 

Q: Final thoughts? 

A: I talk about UVA all the time, and often get asked about the culture and traditions in Charlottesville. And since starting the Darden program, even though I’m not in Charlottesville, it still feels like I’m still at UVA. I’m still a part of the UVA family.