Poets & Quants: Why Darden’s Professors Are the Best MBA Teachers on the Planet

17 February 2020

By Jay Hodgkins

Poets & Quants Editor-in-Chief John Byrne spent two days on the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Grounds earlier this winter on a mission to look behind the curtain at the craft of teaching at Darden, where intense preparation and student-centered learning differentiates the faculty that has been heralded as the best in graduate business education by The Princeton ReviewThe Economist and Bloomberg Businessweek

Byrne attended a faculty case study preparation session with several marketing faculty and then attended their classes to get a better understanding of how the prep work translated into the classroom. The visit resulted in an in-depth feature on Poets & Quants, “Why Darden’s Professors Are the Best MBA Teachers on the Planet.”

The article joins Tom Steenburgh, senior associate dean for faculty development and the full-time MBA, as he coaches four professors — Kim Whitler, Tami Kim, Luca Cian and Lalin Anik — who are preparing to teach a case on the marketing platform HubSpot the next day. He takes a seat in Cian and Anik’s classrooms with the students to see Darden’s spontaneous yet deliberate learning experience in action.

Byrne writes: “What makes them unique? They not only bring deep knowledge and passion for their subjects to a class; they bring their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. To sit in a class with either Anik or Cian is to witness a human splitting an atom. They unleash energy that is unbounded, roaming every corner of the classroom, up and down the steps of the tiered room, back and forth at the front of the massive blackboard. All the while, they are challenging students, drawing out every last perspective on a business case and reinforcing the learnings that come from the discussion.”

This inside look at the world’s best education experience examines the Darden faculty’s devotion to teaching and students, how Darden’s senior faculty passes the culture of master teaching from one generation to the next, and the balance junior faculty strike to excel at teaching, research, course development and service.

Darden students, who regularly evaluate their professors along 20 dimensions, also have their say — putting Darden atop global rankings measuring quality of faculty and teaching experience for multiple consecutive years.

Darden Ranked No. 1 Educational Experience in the World Eight Years in a Row

Economist education experience

Darden Faculty Consistently Outperform Peer Schools, According to The Economist

Read the full feature 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