Scholarship Offers Student Path to Darden Despite Venezuela’s Inflation Crisis
By Jay Hodgkins
Prior to joining the University of Virginia Darden School of Business student body, Stephanie Marie Machado Reggeti (Class of 2017) was successfully leading the expansion of a startup delivering education and career services amid extreme economic turmoil in Venezuela. However, as the startup grew, so did the challenge of managing the complexity of doing business in Venezuela.
Reggeti knew she had more to learn.
“In a hyperinflationary economy where you have a business that’s actually growing and succeeding, you realize you know a lot less about business than you thought you did. That was when I decided to go to business school. I wanted to acquire all of the tools that I could use to be a better business person.”
Reggeti had the credentials to earn admission to Darden — an engineering degree from a top Venezuelan university and unique work experience at the startup and in marketing at Diageo. However, the very inflation crisis that drove her toward business school also stood in the way of her dream to develop a more global business perspective at a school outside Venezuela.
Facing triple-digit — and rising — inflation rates for several years, it has become almost impossible for most Venezuelans to buy goods and services outside their country, much less afford an MBA in the United States.
Reggeti said she conducted a global search of MBA programs and fell in love with Darden’s use of the case method as well as the Darden community, which felt both comfortably close-knit and full of intellectual people who could challenge her. However, it was a scholarship funded through the Annual Fund that helped her ultimately say “yes” to the School.
“The scholarship is the reason I’m here today. I definitely could not have afforded Darden had it not been for the student loan and scholarship I was awarded,” Reggeti said.
Now in her final weeks at Darden, Reggeti looks back fondly on her favorite experiences, such as when Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey spoke to her “Creative Capitalism” course led by Professor Ed Freeman. “First, just having Ed Freeman as a professor is indescribable, then having John Mackey stand in front of our class for an hour and a half, I felt so honored.”
Although leaving Darden is bittersweet for Reggeti, she has accepted a position with Danaher that she says will perfectly mix her business and engineering experience. And, one day, she hopes to start a business that will bring Venezuelan food to the world and profits back to the people in her home country.
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.
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia