Poets & Quants Names 2 UVA Darden Grads to 2020 MBAs to Watch List

03 June 2020

By Jay Hodgkins


The graduate business education-focused online publication Poets & Quants in June announced its 2020 list of MBAs to Watch, honoring two members of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Class of 2020 with the recognition: Chloe Stegeman (MBA ’20) and Bryce Istvan (MBA ’20).

View full profiles of Stegeman and Istvan on the Poets & Quants website and read the publication’s Q&A with the two MBAs to Watch below.

Poets & Quants Q&A With Chloe Stegeman

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?

This year, my Outreach Team planned and executed Darden’s first-ever Darden Day of Service. The event was created to help cultivate meaningful ties between the Darden and broader Charlottesville/UVA communities while providing an accessible means for Darden students to partake in community service initiatives. On August 30th over 120 students volunteered with eight community partners in the Charlottesville area; service activities included everything from cooking and serving lunch at the Charlottesville Ronald McDonald House to helping with various tasks at a local organic farm. All in all, the service day inspired students to pay it forward, build community with each other, and learn more about the special city we get to call “home” for two years. I am incredibly grateful for the immense amount of support our team received to get this initiative off the ground and to set a new precedent for how service can be integrated into the MBA experience while at Darden –cheers to the many Darden Day of Service events to come!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?

While it was an absolute honor to receive several official awards and recognitions during my professional career, the achievement I am most proud of is simply the work I was enabled and empowered to do each and every day – help others. When a health event strikes, it can be extremely stressful and burdensome for patients and their families. In my role as a HealthPro Consultant, I had the privilege of supporting my clients during these stressful times and served them as an advocate to connect them with resources, solutions, and information to make life a little easier. I can’t think of a more meaningful way to have spent my working days, I look forward to having the opportunity to continue to integrate people-centered service into my work post-MBA.

Who was your favorite MBA professor?

This is an impossible question to answer. Darden has the top Educational Experience ranking for a reason – our professors are world-class educators and (more importantly) world-class people. Someone whom I think embodies the essence of this day-in and day-out is First Year Core Marketing professor Kim Whitler. Kim brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the classroom that can only be described as “electric” when we deep-dive as a class into conversations about empathy, the consumer mindset, and the dynamism of marketing in business. What has had the most impact on me is Kim’s unwavering passion and dedication to her students both inside and outside the classroom – she has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, challenged the way I think about the world, and she supported me through the peaks and valleys of life and the MBA experience. I am eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from and have been led by you, Kim Whitler – thank you, thank you, thank you.

Why did you choose this business school?

I am lucky enough to be reminded of why I chose Darden each and every day: the people. Rankings, the case method, and the opportunity to build my general management toolkit aside, the people — students, staff, and professors — make the Darden experience truly one of a kind. From the first moment I stepped into Saunders Hall, I was met with a warmth that can only be described as reminiscent of home, and that feeling has truly never left me since. I knew I would leave the MBA experience with new skills and new knowledge, but I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would leave my program with 700+ people I now call “family” — what a gift this Darden journey has been.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?

Network, network, network! People are at the heart of what makes Darden special — the more you can talk with alumni, admissions officers, and current students, the better sense you’ll have of Darden’s unique offerings and experiences that you can’t find on paper or read on a website.

What is the biggest myth about your school?

As any past or current student would acknowledge, there is a peculiar lore around the First Year Core experience and the academic rigor of the program in general. In truth, Darden’s academic environment serves up its fair share of challenges and growth opportunities. However, it provides equal amounts of support systems and tools to help students adjust to carrying the “weight” of learning new content via a unique teaching style within the typical MBA time-crunched environment.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire?

Rachel Southall is, simply put, one-of-a-kind. The seeds of our friendship were first planted during Darden’s pre-MBA program, Darden Before Darden — we sat terrified in the front row of an arena-like classroom and bonded over the fact that we had exactly zero Excel skills to offer our respective learning teams. We’ve come a long way since August 2018, and I am incredibly proud and in awe of the dynamic leader, woman, friend, coach, and Beyoncé fan extraordinaire in Rachel Southall who has and will leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of every single student and professor at Darden. She is not only a leader by name, serving at the Executive Vice President of the Darden Student Association Board and coach of the UVA Dance team, but she embodies growth and resilience, confidence and humility, and a distinct “realness” that invites, cultivates, and inspires those around her. She is a force of nature, and I am so excited to see where this next chapter of life takes her. Continue to shine on and shine bright, my friend!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?

While my dad will always be my life-long inspiration for my educational and business endeavors, my decision to stick with it was reinforced by one of my undergraduate professors, Garnett Slatton. I took his Introduction to Managerial Studies course with limited business knowledge and no idea what to expect. The first few sessions of the case-method course felt intimidating. As the semester progressed, I finally found my voice in the classroom and received much support and affirmation for doing so. Sometimes, it takes the extra metaphorical “high-five” to unlock inner confidence, but once I was able to overcome the initial mental hurdle, the floodgates of possibility were opened.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Write a children’s book: I LOVE to read, and children’s literature will always hold a special place in my heart as my initial foray into learning and understanding more about the world.
  2. Start my own non-profit: Ideally something healthcare or education-related working to support underserved youth populations.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want to be remembered for bringing joy and light to the places and spaces I’m in and for having a heart and mind for others.

Poets & Quants Q&A With Bryce Istvan

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? 

I was asked to be the leader of my section’s first-year review for finance, and then later asked to lead multiple reviews for first-year students. It was nice to be recognized for my abilities, and it made me feel good about giving back to the Darden community. One of the first years even gave me peanut butter cups as a thank you.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? 

During my work at Oncoceutics, I played an integral role in initiating clinical trials and single patient compassionate use studies for the brain cancer drug that the company is developing, called ONC201. Some of these patients experienced dramatically positive and life-saving results. This past summer, I had the opportunity to see some of these patients present their stories to the FDA, and see the faces of those whose lives I helped change.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? 

This is a hard question at Darden because the teaching faculty is remarkable. However, choosing one, I would say Shane Dikolli, a relatively new accounting professor. I had the opportunity to take Shane’s first class ever at Darden. His compassion for students shined through on the first day of class when he went through and named every single person (except one, whom he then sent a page long apology email to). Since then, he has continued to connect with every Darden student, ensuring that each person has a unique experience, and is always striving to improve it. At one point, I ran into Shane while walking my dogs around campus over break, and we started talking about some of his research and what an accounting Ph.D. really meant. Within an hour of getting home, Shane emailed me the current paper he was editing, along with links and detailed descriptions of several of the top accounting Ph.D. programs in the country. He had clearly spent most of the time between when we ran into each other and when I got the email, crafting it, because my interest was the most important thing to him.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? 

Darden Cup, a year-long set of competitive athletic and other events is a great way for sections to bond throughout the year. The events are diverse enough – from football to cricket to a talent show – to encourage broad participation, forming a sense of community through competition. That community, with people supporting each other to achieve their best, is reflective of Darden’s overall environment.

Why did you choose this business school? 

Similar to my answer above, Darden is all about its community. Being in a small town, with a smaller class size, there is a chance to get to know just about everyone on a deep level and form life-long friendships. An emblematic story is, when my wife and I came to visit the school, she was treated as a community member, welcomed to everything, and even given a working space to camp out in for the day while I toured the school.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? 

Know what unique perspective you are going to contribute to Darden’s community. With a small class, you’re going to be the person known for something, whether it be school, social, community, etc. Highlight what you’re going to be famous for.

What is the biggest myth about your school? 

I think there is a myth about business schools broadly having less academic rigor than other graduate programs. That is absolutely not true at Darden. I worked harder than I ever had to academically, but have never felt more fulfilled and supported while doing so.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? 

Balance taking advantage of all that Darden has to offer with everything else around you. I could have done a much better job, especially in the first year, getting out of the “Darden bubble” and getting to know UVA and Charlottesville. As diverse as Darden is, it’s still nice to get to know people in the world outside.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? 

Vita Wu is the social chair for our section and was an incredible glue that holds everyone together. I have never been the “social butterfly” type. I admire people who are so good at putting themselves out there to meet everyone and forming relationships and friendships with everyone who crosses their paths. I know that I will never be that person, but I also know that I need at least one of that type of person around me in every organization I work in.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? 

Robert Payseno was my high school business teacher. By that point, I was pretty sure that I was going to pursue business, but he and the opportunities that he provided shaped me in a way that it made my experiences possible. He provided leadership roles and mentorship as I was in those roles which, for the first time, put me in a position to effectively lead people to accomplish meaningful business goals (e.g. managing the entire student store and captaining the state champion Quiz Bowl team). I was sort of a misfit kid through middle school and early high school. It wasn’t until I had these experiences that I believed in myself that I could truly be a leader.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Bring a life-changing experimental drug to market, where it is in the position to change patient lives
  • Take my learnings (and hopefully profits) from goal #1 and reinvest them in projects and entrepreneurs working on the same thing, so hopefully goal #1 gets accomplished over and over

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?

A smart, caring individual who is someday going to have a major impact on the lives of patients.

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
ZunzS@darden.virginia.edu
+1-434-924-7502