UVA Darden Career Center Creates New Coaching Model to Empower Students
By Mary Shea Watson
As the career advancement needs of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business community evolve on a daily basis, the Darden Career Center has developed an innovative coaching model to drive student and employer success across industries. When Jeff McNish began as assistant dean of career development four years ago, he sought to build an entrepreneurial team of expert connectors, mentors and business leaders.
With nine career coaches, directors and senior directors now leading the center’s full-time MBA coaching arm, McNish feels confident that he has achieved that vision.
“No other full-time MBA program has a career coaching team with as deep industry knowledge and connections as the team you’ll find at Darden,” McNish said. “Each coach takes a unique, personalized approach to cultivating resilience, joy and success as Darden students achieve their short- and long-term career goals.”
Cross-Industry Expertise Combined With Darden’s Purpose-Driven Students Creates Career Success
Darden’s full-time MBA career coaches boast decades of expertise and experience with top MBA hiring sectors and job functions such as general management, financial services, consulting, and technology, as well as more specialized yet in-demand roles that include entrepreneurship, health care, wealth management and more. Each member also brings advanced education to their role, which includes MBAs from top business school programs and graduate degrees from internationally renowned programs.
Most recent to join the Career Center coaching team are Darden alum Jeff Tang (MBA ’13) and experienced MBA career development professional Michele Rankin. Read on to learn about the talent Rankin, Tang and all of the coaches bring to the Darden’s Career Center team.
Casey Floyd (GEMBA ’17), Director of Employer Engagement and Recruiting
Darden alum Casey Floyd’s approach to coaching students incorporates her strong knowledge of executive education, employer engagement and MBA recruiting with Fortune 500 companies. She is passionate about helping Darden MBAs find their purpose after graduation and empowers students to tell their stories authentically and intentionally. Prior to building Darden’s efforts in corporate relations and recruiting, Floyd served in marketing roles with local and global insurance, real estate and telecommunications leaders.
Christy Gunville, Senior Director of Consulting Careers
Christy Gunville brings 18 years of industry experience that ranges from management positions with global industry leaders such as Deloitte, to boutique human capital advisory firms. Her coaching style blends traditional coaching principles with pragmatic mentorship to help students excel in their recruiting journeys. Gunville is a certified professional coach who received her Bachelor of Science from the UVA School of Engineering and her MBA from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business.
Denise Karaoli, Director of International Student Careers
With 15 years of experience coaching Darden students, Denise Karaoli brings significant expertise in international MBA recruiting trends and unique opportunities for Darden’s talented global students. Karaoli holds a Master of Arts in international relations from the University of Kent, and her resume includes consulting, business development and marketing roles with companies around the world. She is dedicated in her mission to meet the unique needs of Darden MBAs and help students determine their career paths —and ultimately, celebrate when those goals are accomplished.
Michele Rankin, Senior Director of Off-Grounds Recruiting and Specialized Careers
An expert within the MBA career space, Rankin joins Darden after spending several years as director in the Career Management Center at Columbia Business School. Rankin has 16 years of tenure with American Express in progressive roles, including vice president, card marketing and vice president, customer experience. As a certified Designing Your Life coach, Rankin weaves design thinking tenets of curiosity, collaboration and a bias toward action into her coaching methodology. She holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Paul Reeder (MBA ’98), Senior Director of Financial Services Careers
Paul Reeder coaches Darden students interested in careers in the private equity, venture capital, hedge fund and wealth management spaces. Reeder works closely with Darden’s Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management in order to realize careers in these spaces. Since graduating from Darden, Reeder has worked with a diverse array of companies in the financial sector, including SNL Financial and S&P Global. He is committed to providing students with the confidence that comes from knowing they’re well-prepared for what’s to come in the job search.
Jeff McNish, Assistant Dean of Career Development
Prior to joining Darden, McNish led the Career Management Center at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. McNish believes in coaching to each student’s unique career aspirations and in the power of networking. He holds extensive industry experience in higher education, technology and consulting with firms that include Kearney and Oracle, and earned his MBA from the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.
Jeff Tang (MBA ’13), Senior Director of Marketing and General Management Careers
Tang, another Darden alum eager to coach current students, built his brand management talent at consumer product goods giants Clif Bar and General Mills. For Tang, career coaching embodies servant leadership, and his personal mission is to help Darden MBAs succeed. His background in human-centered innovation and storytelling also includes Emmy-award winning journalism experience.
Ed Yu, Senior Director of Investment Banking Careers
For 14 years, Ed Yu has helped countless Darden MBAs land roles at the world’s leading investment banks. He began his coaching career at the Texas McCombs School of Business and gained an executive certification in leadership coaching from Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. During Yu’s coaching sessions, he strikes a balance between advising students — or, providing them with tips on what to do next — and coaching students — or, helping them draw out possible solutions based on their unique backgrounds and experiences. A graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Yu also worked in trading and investment banking roles with JPMorgan, Bank of America and Credit Suisse.
Jenny Zenner (MBA ’03), Senior Director of Technology, West Coast and Startup Careers
Double Hoo and Seattle resident Jenny Zenner earned her MBA from Darden as well as a Master of Education in sport and exercise psychology from the UVA’s Curry School of Education. As a former hurdler, she integrates performance psychology concepts like growth mindset and positive goal-setting into her career coaching practice. In addition to her background in employee wellness, technology and addictions counseling, Zenner has a breadth of expertise in product management, marketing, consulting and technology recruiting.
Learn more about how the School’s Career Center helps Darden students unlock record-breaking career success.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. 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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