By Sydney Sfreddo

Denise Karaoli, senior associate director of international programs, opportunities and diversity, at Darden’s Career Development Center (CDC) recently visited China for two weeks to focus on growing career opportunities with twelve top Chinese and multinational companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Bain & Company, C-Trip, Baidu, and many more. She also attended the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (CSEA) Asia Conference along with attendees from other global MBA schools and two events with Darden alumni and admitted and prospective students. The visit proved to be fruitful for business development efforts and enhancing Darden’s existing relationships in China.

Every year the business development team at the CDC works closely with students and student clubs to identify the top companies that students are interested in working for. Using these survey results and working closely with the Asian Business Club at Darden (ABCD), the team was able to build a list of the top companies to target on the trip. “The companies visited reflected Chinese students strong interest in working in the consulting, technology and health care industries,” Denise explained. “Companies really appreciated having Darden reach out to connect them with our top talent, and to help them increase their number of returning Chinese students from U.S. MBA programs, and some companies welcomed students from all countries with business Mandarin proficiency.” The company visits were also a great way to capture executive education leads and to socialize Dean Beardsley’s upcoming trip to China that will take place in June.

The MBA CSEA Asia Conference theme this year was “From Silk Road to Innovation Highway” and discussed how China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is starting to filter into the business sector, which will be creating more jobs in business. “Although China’s economic growth has slowed down the past few years, MBA hiring in China remains strong across all sectors that we see students expressing interest in,” said Denise. “Chinese companies are also understanding the millennial market and making changes to adapt to millennials’ values including professional development programs, innovative workplaces and understanding the need for work-life balance.” The top interest area of many companies is Artificial Intelligence (AI), and they are seeking MBA students and educational training in this field.

To round up the trip, two Darden alumni events that took place at the UVA Office in Shanghai and in Beijing. Both events drew strong attendance from Darden alumni in these cities to discuss growing career opportunities for Darden students in China with top companies, and allowed for admitted and prospective students to attend later in the evening and network with the alumni.

The CDC team looks forward to continuing to build on the relationships formed on the trip that help to identify MBA career opportunities, alumni MBA career opportunities, executive education leads and potential speakers for the Leadership Speaker Series. Learn more about international recruiting at Darden here.

Denise Karaoli visiting companies in China on this trip.
Darden Shanghai Alumni Social on 16 March 2017 at the U.Va. China Office