Business, Anyone?

03 March 2017

By Jay Hodgkins

In the spring 2017 issue of Virginia, the University of Virginia’s alumni magazine, Whitelaw Reid provided an inside look at the new seminar offered by Dean Scott Beardsley and UVA men’s tennis coach Brian Boland to Darden School of Business and UVA undergraduate students.

The feature explores how the seminar, set in Dean Beardsley’s Pavilion I home on the Lawn, mixes a casual atmosphere with deep explorations into leadership and personal motivation.

Nestled among the brick and history of one of the University’s original buildings, the students partake of pizza and Belgium microbrews. But don’t let the cozy setting fool you. They also chew on tough concepts of leadership and personal motivation, and with class participation counting for more than half the grade, they know better than to get too comfortable.

Then comes this question: What should the purpose of business be?

One student says it’s to make as much money as possible. Another says it’s to serve the customer. A third says it depends on how you define value. That’s when Darden School of Business Dean Scott Beardsley jumps in: “Which of the value levers do you think are the relevant ones?”

Welcome to “Maximizing Leadership Potential in Sports and Business,” a seminar for second-year M.B.A. students and select third- and fourth-year undergraduates that Beardsley and Virginia men’s tennis coach Brian Boland taught in the fall semester.

How did a business guru and a tennis coach wind up teaching together? Each was interested in the other’s field. An avid tennis player, Beardsley saw the game’s concepts transferable to business. Boland saw aspects of global strategy—Beardsley’s specialty during 26 years with McKinsey & Company in Belgium—applicable to the tennis court.

“Business and sports are very bottom-line driven,” Beardsley tells the 16 students who have convened at his Pavilion I residence.

Read the rest of the article in the online edition of Virginia magazine.

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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Molly Mitchell
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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia