Poets & Quants Names 2 to ‘Best & Brightest’ Executive MBA List

27 July 2020

By Dave Hendrick

Poets & Quants has named two University of Virginia Darden School of Business Executive MBA students to its 2020 Best & Brightest Executive MBAs list.

The publication highlighted 2020 graduates Jaila Ingram-DeBerry and Tiffany Pillifant in its annual list, which highlights students for their “contributions to the class, academic performance, extracurricular involvement, personal intangibles and unique personal stories.”

Ingram-DeBerry, who followed an “unprecedented” professional path, breaking into more senior positions in the investment banking world after starting in an administrative assistant role, managed to balance work, school and a pregnant spouse during the program, and encouraged prospective students to be confident that they could effectively create the time and space for all of life’s demands.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? The moment I stepped on Grounds for a class visit, I felt like I was at home. From the admissions team to the students, faculty, and staff, everyone was happy to see me and made sure I was enjoying my experience. Now, 22 months later, nothing has changed.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The people, hands-down. The relationships I have been able to build with the people I engaged with are irreplaceable. I’ve cherished every encounter because of how genuine it has been.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Be my authentic self at all times. My peers, employers, managers, and (most of all) my family deserve to truest form of Jaila and I would be doing everyone a disservice to not offer that.

Pillifant said her proudest moment in business school was actually an extracurricular activity, detailing her work with Masks for Cville, an organization she helped create with classmates that helped produced critical personal protective equipment to help local organizations through the coronavirus crisis. Like Ingram-DeBerry, Pillifant said the people in the Darden MBA program made the difference.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? When initially evaluating programs, I was drawn to Darden’s convenience for me, it’s great standing, and the recommendations of friends that had gone through the program. However, as I moved deeper into consideration, the tone of the classroom (was it competitive? Respectful? Fun? Rushed?), and quality of teaching started to matter more. Darden’s case method makes learning the material fun and reality-based and the teaching staff has a great reputation for being the best. Upon doing a class visit, I observed the collaborative and supportive environment of a live class – with students asking questions, engaged, and helping each other along the way. With all of this, Darden became the only choice for me.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Hands down, I enjoyed the network of people I met. Business school was a small, tight-knit group of die-hard advocates for me, my career, and my best self. My incredible Learning Team, along with a slew of people who disagreed with me, pushed me to be accountable for my thoughts. They left me wondering, “Do I really think that?” at the end of each day — the honesty I felt in all of it in the classroom truly made me better.

Read the full piece on Poets & Quants.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

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.


Press Contact

David Hendrick
Associate Director, Editorial & Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia