Graduation 2016: New MBAs Encouraged to Seek Fulfilling, Balanced Careers

23 May 2016

By Dave Hendrick

A soggy Sunday couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the newest crop of graduates of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, as about 415 members of the Class of 2016 received diplomas on 22 May.

The Class of 2016 is the first to graduate during the tenure of Dean Scott Beardsley, who became Darden’s ninth dean in August 2015.

During his commencement address, Beardsley introduced graduates to the French idea of “l’equilibriste,” which translates to a person who walks a tightrope, or more literally to one in balance.

The demands and constraints of the world will surely test graduates’ ability to achieve a balance, Beardsley said, but added that being aware of the trade-offs one makes, managing one’s energy and staying true to one’s personal values would help them stay on a noble course.

Dean Scott Beardsley hands out diplomas during Darden’s 2016 graduation ceremony.

The dean urged graduates to ask what good they sought to do in the world, suggesting that the answer to that question could inform many of their future choices.

Said Beardsley: “Your tightrope stretches from the Lawn here at Darden to some unknown future. Life will challenge you, and beckons you to fulfill your full potential. May you walk your tightrope as a graceful equilibriste, true to your values, and successful in the ever-evolving life equation you choose to solve, or that life calls you to pursue.”

Student Speakers

Before the graduates parted ways to head out into the world to advance their careers, they heard reflections and words of encouragement from the elected representative of their class formats, with student speakers representing the MBAMBA for Executives (EMBA) and Global MBA for Executives (GEMBA).

Residential MBA class speaker Missy Jenkins (MBA ’16) spoke about the tight bond between her classmates and the “amazing way in which Darden takes care of its own.”

Said Jenkins, “When I step back and reflect on my Darden experience over the last two years … I am overwhelmed by just how extraordinary you all are, how hardworking, how accomplished and how kind.”

GEMBA class speaker Jeremiah McCloud (GEMBA ’16) reminisced about his cohort’s experience learning across the globe, and promised to impart what he described as a life-changing 16-word phrase that encapsulated much of the Darden experience.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” said McCloud.

EMBA class speaker Maurice Jones (EMBA ’16) cited advice the class recently received from Dean Beardsley to go forth and “radiate Darden.”

Said Jones, “Being associated with the Darden brand is a two-way street. We wear that brand now with a badge of honor, but also carry the obligation to protect it through our success and our integrity.”

Early Career Data

The residential MBA, Global Executive MBA and Executive MBA were represented by class speakers at Darden’s 2016 graduation ceremony.

Members of the Class of 2016 have ample options to pursue their next steps in the professional world, as early figures from Darden’s Career Development Center show continued positive career momentum.

“The early data confirms what we know: Our students continue to be in high demand, with top companies in a variety of fields vying to hire our graduates,” said Chequeta Allen, assistant dean of career development.

Jobs in consulting and financial services again lead the pack. About 39 percent of jobs accepted by 2016 graduates were in consulting and 30 percent were in finance. The School continues to burnish its reputation as a producer of top tech talent, too, with more than 15 percent of jobs accepted by graduates in the technology field, representing an increase over the Class of 2015.

As Darden expands its global presence, members of the Class of 2016 are also pursuing and receiving more international offers, with the percentage of offers based outside of the United States roughly doubling over last year to nearly 9 percent of total offers, a figure that may continue to rise as students receive additional offers.

Missy Jenkins (MBA ’16) speaks during the 2016 graduation ceremony.

Early reports show familiar names landing the most Darden students after graduation, with 16 members of the Class of 2016 heading to The Boston Consulting Group, followed by McKinsey & Co. with 13 graduates. Accenture, Microsoft Corp. and Bain & Co. are in the third spot, with nine newly minted Darden graduates pursuing work at each company.

Said Allen, “We’re particularly excited to see the momentum around technology jobs and international careers, both of which have been areas of focus by the Career Development Center and are a priority for our students and the School.”

As the graduates left the Darden Grounds and embarked on new career journeys, they also joined Darden’s dynamic global network of 15,000 alumni across 90 countries.

Here is a link to a graduation 2016 YouTube broadcast.

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