New UVA Darden School Foundation Impact Fellows Program to Prepare the Diverse Leaders of Tomorrow

By Dave Hendrick

Scholarship Program Builds on Growing Movement Toward Inclusive Excellence

An ambitious new scholarship program and match offered by the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation aims to attract a new generation of diverse, exceptional business leaders to the Darden School of Business — and prepare them for a meaningful career.

Through the Foundation’s new Impact Fellows program, an annual cohort of top Full-Time MBA students from a range of backgrounds will be supported in their Darden journeys with a variety of carefully tailored mentorship and leadership development programming involving Darden alumni, faculty, fellow students and staff.

The program will focus on those who have traditionally been underrepresented in both top business schools and the ranks of senior management, especially women and people of color. The program launched with a group of 19 students in the Full-Time MBA Class of 2023, including 15 women and four men.

The initial cohort includes students from across the world and a range of backgrounds, including:

  • Raimat Amosu (Class of 2023), who worked in marketing and retail strategy in Africa before Darden and holds a long-term goal to help drive technology adoption in Africa and help train more women in technology.
  • Louise Makowski (Class of 2023), who joined Darden with a background in fine art. She hopes to add strategy expertise to complement her recent background in project and people management, potentially pivoting to brand management.
  • Danny Rosa (Class of 2023), who worked in college access for underrepresented students before Darden, and hopes to transition to a management and strategy consulting career.

The new scholarship initiative comes on the heels of the launch of the Foundation’s Breakthrough Scholars program, which seeks to attract and support top female and under-represented minority students interested in pursuing careers in private equity, venture capital and other forms of asset management.

“Darden strives to be among the world’s most accessible business schools, and scholarships for talented students from all parts of the globe and walks of life help create an inclusive and diverse community and learning experience that is critical to the School’s mission,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “Beyond Grounds, we believe the inclusive excellence initiatives led by the Darden School Foundation will play an important role in advancing leadership in business.”

Attracting top students from a range of backgrounds at institutions such as the Darden School will eventually help diversify and strengthen key industries and leadership teams, likely driving superior business results. A 2020 paper by Darden Professor Ting Xu, for instance, demonstrated conclusively that companies with greater gender diversity produced more innovation.

Program to Support and Drive Student Success During and After Darden

While attracting top students is a key component of the new program, a carefully curated suite of programming will ensure the Impact Fellows can reach their full potential at Darden and after graduation.

Programming and activities intended to support the Impact Fellows include:

  • A Darden alumni coach, who will offer support and mentorship.
  • Ongoing programming sponsored by the Darden School Foundation, including small faculty-led group gatherings and conferences and speakers on topics such as leadership development. For example, Sustainable Business International President Sandra Taylor will address the current cohort on 9 November.
  • Complimentary Darden Executive Education & Lifelong Learning opportunities after graduation.

The extracurricular activities provided by the Darden School Foundation will complement the leadership voice and business acumen developed in the Darden classroom and robust career resources available to Darden students. In addition to the foundational Darden core curriculum, a new Career Journeys initiative helps students navigate Darden’s broad range of elective courses with an eye toward developing in-demand career skills. The Darden Full-Time MBA Class of 2021 recently reported historic highs in salaries and bonuses, as well as the percent employed at graduation.

Drive Toward Inclusive Excellence Builds on Current Momentum

The new Impact Fellows program launched as the Darden School welcomed the most accomplished and diverse class in School history in both MBA formats, with record academic excellence and diversity on a range of metrics, including the highest percentage of women in both the Full-Time and Executive MBA.

The positive momentum has been aided in part by the growing range of competitive scholarships the Foundation offers for prospective students from a range of backgrounds. In addition, the School’s need-based AccessDarden scholarship program, which launched in 2020, seeks to make Darden as accessible as possible for top candidates from around the globe.

Darden is seeking additional philanthropy to sustain and grow the Impact Fellows program. The Darden School Foundation recently launched a new matching program to support Inclusive Excellence scholarships, including the Impact Fellows program.

Alumni, companies and donors interested in learning more or supporting the program should contact Interim Vice President for Advancement Samantha Hartog at or +1-434-982-2151.

The application for admission to the Darden Class of 2024 is now live.

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.


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