Meet Two of the ‘Best and Brightest’ Executive MBA Students

22 August 2023

By David Hendrick

Two recent graduates of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business have been named among the top members of the Class of 2023.

In its annual “Best and Brightest Executive MBAs” of 2023 list, Poets & Quants spotlights Executive MBA students “whose academic excellence, extracurricular leadership, and professional achievement represent the best of business education.”

Among those on this year’s list: Class of 2023 Darden graduates Clare Atzert and Jarred Mack.

Atzert, a director at the U.S. Navy/Department of Energy program Naval Reactors who took on a new professional position while a student, discussed the leadership lessons she absorbed in the program.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? I learned that to be a strong leader, I need to be authentic. As a woman in a male-dominated workplace, I have shied away from being true to myself in professional settings. Through the program, I learned that I was holding myself back by not being authentic. I have applied this lesson in several ways, including being vulnerable, not being afraid to be myself, and being more vocal in standing up for positions I believe in. I am grateful to the program for enabling me to enhance my leadership, and for giving me more confidence.

Jarred Mack, who transitioned to a new career with Procter & Gamble shortly after graduating, said he opted for Darden after experiencing the culture as part of a Darden Executive Education & Lifelong Learning course.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? In 2018, I attended a 3-week executive education course through the U.S. Navy at Darden. I decided then that if I ever attended business school, my top choice would be UVA. The professors, program staff, and students I have encountered have always made me feel at home and welcomed. The program location, format, and global learning opportunities greatly distinguished itself from other programs. Being a veteran using the G.I. Bill, UVA made the process seamless, and the out-of-pocket expenses were quite less compared with other programs without sacrificing any of the rigor, experience, or prestige of the program. Our nation’s capital is a major transportation hub, so traveling to and from would be extremely easy as well making it easier on my family.

Read the full profiles of Atzert and Mack.

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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