UVA Darden Murphy Fellowship Enables ‘Big Change’ Through Global Experience

By Dave Hendrick

Elaine Yi (MBA ’16) experienced firsthand how the simple act of alumni reaching back to support current University of Virginia Darden School of Business students can make a big difference when she received the Murphy Fellowship for International Exchange.

The award was established in 2002 by J. Byrne Murphy (MBA ’86) with his brother, P. Clarke Murphy, and sister-in law, Whitney Murphy — both of whom are also UVA graduates. It aims to provide financial assistance to students who wish to study abroad. Byrne Murphy has made a career of international business, exporting the American models of retail outlet centers, data centers and private residency clubs to countries across Europe.

“My family and I have had the incredible good fortune to live half or more of our lives outside our native country and culture,” said Murphy. “Doing so, especially at a young age, imbues one with a sense of perspective that greatly facilitates navigating this ever more globalized, fast-moving and multicultural world. It teaches one how to test your most basic assumptions and, especially, how to listen.”

The fellowship afforded Yi the opportunity to spend three months in Australia, studying at the Melbourne Business School.

“In First Year, I got a really good understanding of the U.S.-oriented cases and how America does business, but coming from China, I knew it wasn’t the whole picture,” Yi said. “Australia was a continent I had never been to, and I was curious to know how I could really broaden my learning in business and practice.”

Yi said she hopes the namesakes of her fellowship know the significant role they played in her academic career.

Said Yi: “Sometimes people don’t believe how big a change a small thing can make to others’ lives. It does make a big difference.”

Yi’s global education began even earlier, as soon as she came to study at Darden, the first long-term overseas experience of her life.

A Shanghai-based entrepreneur with a banking background, Yi first came into contact with the School when she was considering MBA programs and attended an informational event organized by members of the Darden alumni network in China.

“When I went to the Darden event, I could feel that it was so different,” Yi said. “All of the alumni there just wanted to spend all of their time and effort to help you understand what you are getting in to and how to be successful in the process. That was the moment I said, ‘Ok, Darden really cares about what it can give you during the two years — and also what happens after you graduate.’”

Now a consultant with Everest Group in Dallas, Yi says she is already finding direct correlation between Darden cases and her day-to-day work, and expects her international experience to soon pay dividends, as well.

Asia-Pacific, East Asia
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.


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