A Look Back at the 10 Most Read Stories of the Year
By Dave Hendrick
While 2021 was anything but a typical year, the most read stories focused on topics of perennial interest to prospective students and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business community: career advancement and MBA rankings.
While Darden MBA students started the year learning in a hybrid format, with reduced capacity in the classrooms, the 2021–22 academic year began in a much more normal fashion, with full classrooms of masked students. Despite the disruption and uncertainty of the past year, Darden’s Class of 2021 posted record early career results, and the School continued to perform exceptionally well in top rankings. (Also, see a superlative set of new rankings from the Princeton Review that came out too recently to make the list below.)
Below are the Top 10 most read stories on the year on The Darden Report news site.
The March release of U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Business Schools showed the full-time MBA Class of 2020 graduates notched the No. 1 average starting salary and bonus among public schools and No. 5 overall. The figure marked the third year in a row Darden was ranked No. 1 for the highest starting salaries among public MBA schools and fourth year in a row in the Top 5 overall.
The February release of the Full-Time MBA Class of 2020 Employment Report and Class of 2021 Internships Report revealed what had been apparent for much of the pandemic: Darden students were incredibly resilient in the face of disruption, with the highest average starting salary in school history and 93 percent of Class of 2020 students receiving offers within 90 days of graduation.
Readers were interested to learn more about the flexible new Darden MBA format, which is based at UVA Darden DC Metro and designed for working professionals. The Part-Time MBA is the fourth format of the MBA degree at Darden.
The employment figures for the Class of 2021 broke new records, and with an average base salary of $144,933, the graduating class secured the highest base salaries in School history for the third consecutive year. Average base salaries have risen by over $22,000 in the past five years.
Members of the Class of 2023 in both the Full-Time and Executive MBA formats were selected amid record application volume, and represented new high-water marks in a number of metrics — including more than 40 percent women in both formats.
Darden is ranked in the Top 15 in the categories of Compensation, Learning and Networking. Among Top 10 Schools, Darden is No. 3 in Learning and No. 6 in Networking.
The most atypical story on this list, this post from January attempts to solve the mystery of how a former president came to wear a mask produced by Rhoback, the activewear company founded by alumni Matt (MBA ’16) and Kristina Loftus (MBA ’17).
The Class of 2021 was able to enjoy an in-person graduation at Scott Stadium, with remarks from Dean Scott Beardsley, 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 new application for admission to the Full-Time MBA affirmed the School’s commitment to test flexibility — offering applicants the opportunity to submit a range of test scores or apply for a test waiver.
The Top 10 ends with another strong showing in a global ranking, with Financial Times ranking Darden the No. 11 MBA program in the world in the new rankings and No. 6 in the United States. Both figures represent new highs in the ranking for the School’s MBA program. The School also earned Top 10 rankings in the categories of aims achieved, salary and percentage of salary increase.
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.
Associate Director, Editorial & Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia