UVA Darden Celebrates Class of 2021 Graduation and Record Early Career Results
By Dave Hendrick
After an unprecedented year, students in the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Class of 2021 wrapped up their MBA careers with a welcome bit of normalcy on 23 May. The class walked UVA’s historic Lawn for in-person Final Exercises, during which the University conferred MBA degrees to 466 graduates, including 332 full-time MBA students and 134 Executive MBA students.
The graduation event, held at Scott Stadium, included remarks from UVA President Jim Ryan, Rector James Murray, and a keynote address from UVA alumnus and Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian. The Darden portion of the program included a message of gratitude and appreciation from the Darden faculty and the announcement of awards, including the Faculty Awards for Academic Excellence and the Executive MBA Faculty Award.
The full-time MBA previously held a leadership and service award event.
Dean Scott Beardsley Encourages Graduates to Be Open to a ‘Higher Calling’
During the Darden portion of Final Exercises, Dean Scott Beardsley drew on the analogy of a call coming in over a smartphone, encouraging graduates to be open to answering the call to act on their values and display responsible leadership.
“This call might ask you to step up — to see in tomorrow’s problems the opportunity to make a difference,” said Beardsley. “It will likely require courage and making hard decisions with imperfect information.”
Beardsley said the core values instilled at Darden — honor, integrity and a stakeholder mindset — would guide graduates as they embrace their “higher calling.”
“When that phone rings, follow your heart and let your values guide you,” said Beardsley. “Build real relationships with people you can learn from. Pursue your purpose and say yes to meaningful work that fulfills you.”
Beardsley also recorded an additional message for graduates on “the certainty of uncertainty, the unknown known and life as a rolling stone.”
Darden Full-Time MBA Graduates Notch Impressive Early Career Outcomes
In addition to the familiar in-person graduation, Darden graduates encountered another sign of normalcy: strong initial employment figures. As of 24 May, 90 percent of graduates seeking employment had received a full-time job offer and 90 percent had accepted a full-time job offer. The early results track ahead of those reported at the same time in 2018, 2019 and the pandemic-altered 2020.
Salary figures are also setting new records, with the Class of 2021 reporting record median salaries of $150,000 and a median signing bonus of $30,000. The figures represent the third year of record salaries in a row.
Top industries for new graduates are currently consulting (33 percent), financial services (26 percent), technology (19 percent) and health care (7 percent). The Top 10 hiring companies, in alphabetical order, are Accenture, Amazon, Bain, Boston Consulting Group, Danaher, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase, McKinsey, Microsoft and Parthenon.
The Class of 2022 is also reporting strong internship interest. As of 24 May, almost all have secured an internship. The Darden Career Center is partnering closely with the few remaining students who have not yet signed on for an internship to ensure they gain a valuable summer career experience. The Career Center is also working with dozens of Executive MBA students in the classes of 2021 and 2022 who are seeking career change.
Darden will release final employment figures for the Class of 2021 later in the year.
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.
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia