Poets & Quants Profiles UVA Darden’s Class of 2021

02 January 2020

By Dave Hendrick

Poets & Quants recently published its closeup look at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business full-time MBA Class of 2021. Unsurprisingly, the publication found a diverse group of hard-working individuals, with backgrounds spanning a variety of industries and countries of origin.

Darden’s Class of 2021 “maintained its high standards” during the most recently ended admissions cycle, the publication wrote, and further reached high points in a number of categories, with women now accounting for 40 percent of the Class.

In addition to noting the momentum at the School in areas ranging from student satisfaction to starting salaries for new graduates, the article profiled a number of members of the Class of 2021.

Former OpenTable Senior Management of Engagement Marketing Annie Espinosa described why she pursued a Darden education.

Aside from your classmates and cases, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Honestly, it was the quality of education. During the application process, I heard time and time again that Darden had the best professors and learning style and was consistently ranked #1 for MBA education. Since I never had a formal business background – everything I learned was on the job, through my own research, or from my various (and truly wonderful) mentors – I didn’t just want the degree. I wanted the solid foundation and expertise that comes with the Darden degree so that I can make a meaningful impact wherever I go.

Sarah Getachew, who came to Darden after a six-year career in the public health field, praised the people she had met so far in her Darden journey.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Welcoming! There is such a strong sense of community that exists at Darden. My classmates are easily some of the most welcoming, kind, and considerate group of people that I’ve met so far. They are also very respectful, culturally-competent and open to learning from the different perspectives that we all bring to the table.

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? As a manager who leads and manages teams, one must be inquisitive, open to analyzing situations in multiple ways and receptive to feedback from your team. The case method allows one to gain all of these skills on a daily basis! When I visited Darden, I had the chance to see the case method in-action and saw students work in teams, actively discuss problems, provide each other thoughtful input, and work together to resolve ambiguous cases that could easily be applied to every-day work situations.

Design engineer Henrique Lopes described the defining decision he made at 14 that set him on his current path.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? When I was 14 years old, I had to decide if I wanted to keep living with my father in Brazil or move to the United States to live with my mom. There were a lot of unknowns involved with moving to the United States that scared me. I didn’t know the language and I only knew two people (my mother and stepfather) there. Also, I was happy in Brazil where I had a lot of friends and family members. My decision to move to the United States put me on this journey that led me to Darden. What I learned from this experience is that you grow the most when you get yourself out of your comfort zone. Whether it is a new role at work or picking up a new hobby, I am always looking for new daunting challenges.

Andrew Pinckney, a former product manager and Teach for America alumnus, said the spirit of the community helped lead him to Darden.

Aside from your classmates and cases, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you?  Community. Everyone I’ve met who attends or graduated from Darden spoke so passionately about their time there. Not only had they learned a great deal and built a strong business foundation thanks to the academic rigor of the case method, but they’d made lifelong friends across industries, companies, functions, and geographies. I was looking for a place where I could grow my skills, but also build lifelong relationships and Darden seemed the perfect fit.

Read the additional profiles and full article on Poets & Quants.

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