BEMBA Student Association President, Arica Booker, and Vice President, Corbin Norman
What is the name of your student organization? What is the purpose of your student organization?
The Black Executive MBAs (BEMBA) mission is to enrich Darden and the broader UVa community by piecing together the minds, experiences, and resources of past, present, and prospective Darden executive format students to discuss issues of African-American business, economics, culture, and history.
Open to all, BEMBA is one of the first student associations chartered in Darden’s Executive MBA Program, and we plan to serve executive format students with a variety of programming – including leadership development, fellowship activities, community service, and conversations on topics of diversity and inclusion.
Why did you start your organization?
We wanted to play a key role in Darden’s increased focus on diversity and inclusion in the classroom and the Darden community. We believe a student-led organization that engages senior leaders and executives in conversations around topics difficult to discuss yet necessary to uncover is the best avenue for us to make meaningful contributions to our school, business, and society.
Are you planning any programming or activities in the upcoming year?
This year, our programming will focus on three primary areas:
1) Professional development through both networking and career planning;
2) Supporting Darden’s admissions team in their efforts to continue to grow the number of African Americans interested in the Executive MBA Program. In fact, on 15 September, we’re co-hosting a networking breakfast for African-Americans interested in the executive formats of the Darden MBA. Read additional details, including registration information.
3) Influencing the Darden curriculum to include more cases on diversity and inclusion issues in business.
In your opinion, what is the best thing about Darden’s Executive MBA Program?
It is extremely difficult to identify just one thing positive about the Darden’s Executive MBA Program so we will mention two.
The diversity of our classmates is extraordinary. The differences not just in race, gender, color, nationality, etc. but the uniqueness of each of our classmates’ experiences, perspectives, interests, and attitudes is amazing.
Secondly, the personal and professional network among classmates, alumni, faculty, and staff here is unmatched. In many ways, this network of global leaders and influencers will be one of the most significant takeaways from our time on grounds.
What advice would you offer a prospective student considering the executive formats of the Darden MBA?
Your career and ultimately your life is a marathon, not a sprint. Reflect on your needs professionally and personally. Where are you pre-Darden? Where do you want to be post-Darden? Once you’ve identified those gaps, it is time to put together a roadmap for success. Does an MBA fill in those gaps? Why Darden? This period of reflection and planning will really help you to extract the most value from the Darden experience.
How can an interested prospective student connect with your organization?
Reach out to the President or Executive Vice President of the Black Executive MBA group (see emails below) and join us for breakfast on September 15!
Arica Booker, President BookerA18@darden.virginia.edu
Corbin Norman, Executive Vice President NormanC18@darden.virginia.edu