UVA Darden Celebrates Class of 2023, Reports Strong Early Career Results

By Dave Hendrick

Under a cloudless blue sky with temperatures in the high 70s, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business welcomed nearly 500 new alumni to its ranks on 21 May.

The graduating class included 484 MBA graduates, with 349 from the Full-Time MBA program and 135 from the Executive MBA. The class also includes 25 graduates with dual degrees. Nearly 89 percent of students in the Full-Time MBA program had accepted an offer of employment by graduation.

Welcoming the graduates and thousands of friends and family members both at Darden and watching from around the world, Dean Scott Beardsley encouraged graduates to develop a well-honed sense of time and the value of the present moment.

“We can live in the past, wishing we could rectify our mistakes,” Beardsley said. “Or we spend time dreaming — or worrying — about the future. Both habits, ironically, come at the expense of enjoying the here and now.”

Beardsley offered three lessons for shifting from being “mastered by time to becoming its master,” specifically:

  • View time as an asset
  • Use the power of the calendar
  • Your time is yours, make the most of it
Darden students in cap and gown at graduation 2023

Darden’s Class of 2023 on the Lawn

“We live in the now. Can you see the beauty of this moment? The future and the past are overrated,” Beardsley said. “My hope for you is that you will have the time of your life, in the time of your life. That your portfolio of your time will make you very rich, as measured by a great life. Your time is now, Darden graduates. Get out there and change the world in the ways you are meant to. There’s no time to waste.”

In addition to Beardsley, the assembled heard from speakers Bobbi Doorenbos and Sukari Brown from the Executive MBA and Full-Time MBA programs, respectively, both of whom were elected by their peers.

Student Speakers Reflect on Enduring Bonds

Doorenbos, a U.S. Air Force veteran and one of the first women to fly fighter aircrafts, drew parallels between the bonds of the military and those at Darden, noting, for instance, the “extreme pride” that came from “surviving challenges that, at times, felt insurmountable” and describing the times that someone “stronger than us shouldered the weight and carried us through.”

Emerging from the “cocoon” of the Darden Executive MBA, Doorenbos said she and her classmates had been transformed by the experience.

“We are transformed as much by the doing of difficult things, as by the people we do them with, and certainly, Darden Class of 2023, doing Darden by your side has been the transformation of a lifetime for me,” said Doorenbos.

Darden students at graduation 2023

The Class of 2023 in Flagler Court

Brown recounted her pre-matriculation anxiety as to whether Darden was the best fit for her and her ambitions, even though it was the only school that had treated her “like a human, not just another application.”

Although full of uncertainty, Brown said she also brought a willingness to be open to the possibilities.

Brown took full advantage of the opportunities at Darden, quickly emerging as a leader on a number of fronts, including as the president of the Darden Private Equity club and a portfolio manager for Darden Capital Management, among many other roles.

Citing a lesson from Professor Ed Freeman, Brown reminded graduates that just because you can’t solve everything, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything, and encouraged her peers to seek opportunities to grow and move forward.

“Progress is greater than perfection,” said Brown. “Seek progress above all else.”

Graduation Photographs

2023 Darden Graduation - Flagler


Strong Demand for New Graduates

The graduating class is already finding great demand for their talents, and more than 91 percent of graduating students had received at least one offer of employment by graduation. Nearly 89 percent of students had accepted an offer of employment by graduation, with a median base salary of $175,000 and a median bonus of $30,000.

The top industries for new graduates in the Full-Time MBA are consulting (49 percent), financial services (26 percent) and technology (10 percent). The Top 15 employers are:

  • Accenture
  • Alvarez & Marsal
  • Amazon com, Inc.
  • Bain & Company
  • Bank of America
  • The Boston Consulting Group
  • Citi
  • Credit Suisse
  • Dell Technologies
  • Evercore Partners
  • EY-Parthenon
  • General Motors Corporation
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Morgan Stanley

See a selection of graduation photos from Darden and the Lawn, view the Kudoboard, watch the speeches below or the ceremony in full.

Students throwing caps in air in front of Saunders Hall at graduation 2023

The end of Darden is always a new beginning. Congratulations Class of 2023!

Graduation Speeches

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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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia