Doris Cao, based in the University of Virginia China Office in Shanghai, recently began her new role as Director of China Initiatives for Darden. From supporting academic programming, admissions and alumni activities, executive education and corporate engagement, Doris will work collaboratively across Darden’s various departments, leading efforts to advance Darden’s impact in China and the surrounding region.

Prior to beginning her work at Darden, Doris served as Associate Director of the USC Marshall School of Business Shanghai Office, supporting their Global Executive MBA program delivered jointly with Shanghai Jiao Tong University from 2012-2018. In this role she led the team for operations and execution of marketing, admission, student/alumni relations, faculty service and administration, developing marketing and recruitment plans throughout Southeast Asia for the program, overseeing operations, and managing key accounts for business development in China and the region.  Previously, Doris served as Program Manager for the Rutgers Business School Shanghai Office and as Director of Public Relations for the Shanghai Angel Charity Foundation. She holds an Executive MBA from Rutgers Business School and a BA from Shanghai International Studies University.

In early February, Doris has the opportunity to visit Darden in person, getting to know the community, meeting those with whom she will work, and enjoying Charlottesville.  She shared the following reflections about her experience and new role:

  • Tell us a little bit about your first visit to Charlottesville and Darden?

In advance of my trip, I searched online for information about Charlottesville. There are quite a few videos and articles available to help viewers get to know the town. That said, it wasn’t until I put my feet on the ground that I understood the why it is considered to be the #3 happiest city in the United States. The more I saw of town, the more I loved it!

For people who are used to the hustle and bustle in metropolitan cities, Charlottesville contrasts strongly. This is a place where you can enjoy tranquility, you find yourself and your own way. You can focus on your studies at Darden, find your own purpose with the space for reflection and enjoy the beautiful central Virginia countryside throughout.

  • Any surprises?

Darden has great and long-term connections in China.   Faculty and staff at Darden show extensive knowledge and interest in global business, especially the China market. This passionate curiosity, coupled with deep existing knowledge, is key for China initiatives moving forward.  I look forward to building on Darden’s strong foundation in China, creating more meaningful networks and collaborations.

  • What excites you most about the Darden community?

I met about 70 Darden colleagues during my visit. They are high-performing, knowledgeable and passionate and I could feel their excitement around Darden’s work in China. Everyone is on the same page about goals and vision and people at Darden care genuinely and deeply about supporting students, from China and everywhere else.

I had the opportunity to sit in on a couple of MBA and Executive MBA classes, as well as spend time with current Chinese students studying at Darden. The students come from impressive backgrounds and bring their previous experiences and knowledge into classroom discussions. The class sessions are very interactive, with students fully engaged in the learning process.

Again, I am excited about the Darden team and community as a whole!