Meet Darden School of Business’ Class of 2014

14 August 2013

During their first days on grounds, First Year students from all three formats of Darden’s MBA program — MBA, MBA for Executives and Global MBA for Executives — gathered for the inaugural “one Darden” welcome. More than 400 excited students filled the Abbott Center Auditorium to hear from Robert F. Bruner, dean of the Darden School, and Peter Rodriguez, senior associate dean for degree programs and chief diversity officer. Trip Davis, president of the Darden School Foundation and senior associate dean for external relations, also greeted the students via a video recording from a business meeting in Iceland.

To get the event under way, Michael Woodfolk, executive director of Alumni Services at the Darden School, asked the audience members to raise their hands if they had ever been contacted by a Darden graduate.

Almost every individual in the auditorium raised a hand. “We feel very strongly about our alumni community. It’s powerful. It’s bold. It’s worldwide. In fact, I would venture to say it’s one of our greatest resources,” said Woodfolk, who then introduced Davis’ short welcome video.

“You’re joining an incredible community — the most tight-knit community in the world for high-engagement education,” said Davis. “I’m excited to get to know each and every one of you.”

Rodriguez followed Davis’ remarks by discussing the value of earning a Darden MBA. He began by quoting Mark Twain: “Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.” He also shared the story of Santiago, the protagonist in Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea.

According to Rodriguez, students undergo a transition between undergraduate and graduate studies. The more they know, the more they realize how much they have to learn.
“If you are never confused and you never face uncertainty, then you never learn,” added Rodriguez.

Dean Bruner brought the full week of learning and networking activities to a close as the event’s final speaker.

“A friend of mine interviewed some Navy SEALs. You may know that Navy SEALs train relentlessly. They go out and they do these operations under extraordinary and stressful conditions, and it’s never in the field like it is in training. There’s a big disconnect. You train for this and it turns out to be like that,” Bruner said. “So my friend asked why SEALs train for situations that are so different from what occurs in the field. The Navy SEAL responded that it was precisely because of their training in those kinds of conditions that they are prepared for a wide variety of possible outcomes.”

Dean Bruner cold-called Jason Lamb, a Navy SEAL and new student, to confirm the rigors of SEAL training.

“The key idea is that you are here to rehearse leadership,” Bruner told the students. “Trust the process, be present and seek support,” advised the dean.
Area leaders announced the makeup of the three formats of the MBA.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia