Sights and Sounds From the Return of UVA Darden MBA Global Courses

31 March 2022

By Jay Hodgkins

Not since January 2020 had University of Virginia Darden School of Business Full-Time MBA students traveled the globe for Darden Worldwide courses, the School’s academic offerings that provide critical immersion into new global business contexts and cultures.

It was a long wait for a School that emphasizes the “global” in its mission to develop responsible global leaders and deliver a transformational global education experience. But with a return to a more normal academic year and effective measures that have helped limit the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the University community, Darden’s Second Year students jumped at the chance to enroll in their first Darden Worldwide courses. The Darden Center for Global Initiatives worked in close partnership with the UVA International Studies Office to design and deliver these academic offerings while managing the current risks of travel.

In March, a record total of more than 300 Full-Time MBA students traveled in 11 countries, led by 22 faculty and staff members. The offerings included nine traditional Darden Worldwide courses and “Doing Business in Mexico,” a program in Mexico led by IPADE Business School.

The high enrollment meant nearly 100% of the Second Year students were able to take advantage of the Batten Foundation Darden Worldwide Scholarship program. Thanks to a $15 million gift from the Batten Foundation, matched by $15 million from the UVA Bicentennial Scholars Fund, all Darden Full-Time MBA students are offered a scholarship covering course fees for one Darden Worldwide Course (DWC) during their time at the School.

“This was the largest single global offering in school history,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “Business is global, and this reflects our commitment to global education and the desires of our students, who were passionate about the opportunity to grow as global leaders by learning with the Darden community in new contexts. We were able to keep our commitment to the Class of 2022 that everyone who wanted a global learning experience would get one.”

In May, Darden will offer courses traveling to seven countries to the Full-Time MBA Class of 2023. The School’s Executive MBA (EMBA) returned to global travel in the fall with the program’s first global academic residencies since winter 2020, and EMBA students joined the Full-Time MBAs traveling the world earlier this spring with another round of global residencies.

Below, explore photo and video highlights from the March Darden Worldwide courses.

“Luxury and Exports” (Italy), led by Dean Scott Beardsley and Professor Luca Cian

Italy’s renowned motorsports industry and sports cars were one of the luxury goods students learned about during the Italy DWC.

Italy is famous for its luxury cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano, and students visited a cheese production facility to learn about the cheese-making process and marketing these goods worldwide.

Winemaking marked another Italian luxury good students explored during the Italy DWC.

“Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance” (Israel), led by Professor Toni Irving

The Israel DWC visited a farm to learn about environmentally conscious agriculture in a water-constrained region.

Students visited Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, in Jerusalem.

Students visited a commercial greenhouse operation during their time in Israel.

“Tech/Artificial Intelligence” (Germany), led by Professor Tim Laseter

Career Center Assistant Dean Jeff McNish, left, accompanied students on the Germany DWC as they explored the city of Berlin.

Professor Tim Laseter moderated a panel on the use of artificial technology and other advanced technologies by German businesses.

“Creativity and Design in Barcelona” (Spain), led by Professor Jeanne Liedtka and Randy Salzman

Students visited the unfinished cathedral by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, Sagrada Familia, in central Barcelona.

Students on the Spain DWC learned about the organic architectural style of Modernisme architect Antoni Gaudi by exploring a home he designed called Casa Batllo.

“Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainability” (Sweden), led by Professors Yael Grushka-Cockayne and Marc Lipson

Students in the Sweden DWC stopped for a photo during their walking tour of Stockholm.

The Sweden DWC included a company visit to learn about electric boats and how they are part of the Swedish economy’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Students in the Sweden DWC toured cultural sights in and around Stockholm.

“Doing Business in Finland and Estonia” (Finland, Estonia), led by Professor Robert Carraway

Students on the Finland and Estonia DWC visited an array of businesses and cultural sites in the two countries to develop a broad overview of the business context in the region.

Students on the Finland and Estonia DWC visited an array of businesses and cultural sites in the two countries to develop a broad overview of the business context in the region.

“Sustainability and Ecotourism” (Costa Rica), led by Professor Carolyn Miles

The beauty of Costa Rica’s diverse natural ecosystems is a major draw for the country’s thriving ecotourism industry.

Costa Rica is famous for the quality of its coffee beans and Darden students are famous for drinking coffee. It was a match made in heaven during the Costa Rica DWC.

Students sample cocoa produced from Costa Rica’s thriving cacao harvest.

“Renewable Energy” (Iceland), led by Professor Ron Wilcox

On a walking tour of Reykjavik, students on the Iceland DWC learned about the island nation’s unique history from its settlement by Vikings to its modern day democracy.

The Iceland DWC braved the winter weather to visit the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant. Geothermal energy provides almost all of Iceland’s heating and much of its electric generation.

Professor Ron Wilcox led a case on 66 North, Iceland’s homegrown outdoor apparel brand that is considering expanding its global footprint.

“Alaska: It’s People, Resources and Economics” (United States), led by Professor Marc Modica

Though part of the United States, Alaska is in many ways like its own country in terms of size, geographic location and economy. Students on the Alaska DWC learned how business strives to succeed in a harsh climate with unique resources.

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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