GEMBA Student Wins Emmy for Outstanding News Coverage

05 October 2015

By Dave Hendrick

Journalist Mayra Rocha (Class of 2016) always wanted to win an Emmy, believing that the accolade would help her get into a top business school.

Rocha recently won that hoped-for accolade, but as luck would have it she was already well into her studies at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

A student in the Global MBA for Executives (GEMBA) format, Rocha and her news team were honored with the television industry’s highest honor on 28 September, taking home an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story in Spanish for her work reporting on a massacre of students in Mexico for the Univision news program “Aqui y Ahora.”

Rocha, a producer for the story, said the Emmy honor was particularly validating given the gravity of the work.

“It puts into perspective all that journalism stands for, which is to give a voice to those who don’t have it.” Rocha said. “If I never win an Emmy again, this one will always be close to my heart, because it’s the reason I studied journalism.”

The story, which was produced by Rocha, focused on a mass killing in the Mexican city of Iguala, in which 43 students were kidnapped and murdered at the hands of a drug cartel. A subsequent investigation revealed corruption and complicity in the murders among local police and the mayor of Iguala.

The students, from a rural teacher’s college, were traveling in buses to raise funds for their student activities when they were intercepted by police.

Rocha and her team reported a series of stories regarding the case, which drew international attention. The specific story for which she won an Emmy focused on the actions of ordinary Mexicans who had no clear ties to those who were killed, but came together to voice their support for justice.

“The Mexican people were fed up with the injustice and it touched their hearts,” Rocha said.

A journalist by training, Rocha said she always had “a business seed” in her, and found the concept of an MBA program immensely appealing. As she considered various programs, her chief criteria were a curriculum with a global perspective and a well-rounded, comprehensive perspective on the business world.

Rocha said the GEMBA program at Darden has been the perfect fit.

“It has been everything I wanted and wished for,” Rocha said. “The specific reason I really wanted to do this was I felt like I needed my mind to expand. I sincerely needed to learn different things and be challenged.”

Rocha laughed, and added, “And it has been very, very challenging.”

Rocha said she is already applying skills she’s picked up in classes to her current work, and feels equipped for success wherever her professional path may lead.

“People ask if I could work in China now, and yes, I could work in China,” Rocha said, noting the deep dive into business and culture the GEMBA students make in each residency.

The 21-month GEMBA program takes students across the globe, with hands-on learning experiences during residencies in Brazil, China, India, Europe, Charlottesville and San Francisco. Between residencies, the students take advantage of distance learning programs to continue their course work.

Yiorgos Allayannis, the associate dean for GEMBA, said the varied interests and backgrounds of the GEMBA students were one of the program’s hallmarks.

“The diverse students that our GEMBA program has attracted enriches our case discussions in the classroom in significant ways,” Allayannis said. “Mayra’s Emmy award is a testament to the depth of our students’ talent.”

In whatever form Rocha opts to use her talents in the future, the Emmy winner believes she will have the tools for success.

“Darden to me has been one of the best choices of my life,” Rocha said.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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