‘What’s Next?’ for Yonah Greenstein: From the Basketball Court to the Boardroom at UVA Darden

By David Buie-Moltz

As the Class of 2024 at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business gears up for graduation, Yonah Greenstein is poised to make a significant leap from nonprofit founder and basketball coach to a strategic consultant at McKinsey & Company. Greenstein’s story illustrates how Darden refines its students’ career trajectories and empowers them to better the world.

Raised in New York City, Greenstein initially envisioned a career in athletics — a passion that defined much of his early life. “My goal at that point was to be a college basketball coach because I love basketball. It consumed me, and it was very much my identity,” he recalls. However, this trajectory took a turn during his time at Bard College. His involvement in community service as a student-athlete led to the unplanned creation of a nonprofit organization, Dream To Achieve. This initiative, which he further grew after graduation, used basketball as a catalyst for youth development, intertwining athletic activities with educational opportunities. Immediately before coming to Darden, Greenstein worked for seven years at iMentor NYC, a national nonprofit empowering under-served students through mentorship.

Yonah Greenstein won a 3-point shooting contest during halftime at a UVA men's basketball game. (Photo provided.)

These transformative experiences set the stage for his decision to pursue an MBA at Darden. Greenstein wanted to attend a member school of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, whose goal is to enhance diversity in business education and leadership, from which he received financial support. He also wanted a school in proximity to New York — where his wife is a Broadway actress — yet far enough to immerse himself fully in a new environment. “Darden hit both those criteria,” Greenstein explains, noting that the School’s close-knit community and case method teaching appealed deeply to him.

As he transitions to his new role, Greenstein is enthusiastic about continuing to impact the educational sector. He will join McKinsey, where he hopes to eventually work in its Social, Healthcare and Public Entities practice — and where he interned last summer — to apply his business acumen to create opportunities within public and social sectors, particularly in education. “I wrote my short-term career goal essay in my Darden application about wanting to work in this practice at McKinsey. So Darden truly made my exact goal a reality,” he adds.

Reflecting on his journey, Greenstein emphasizes Darden’s profound impact on his personal and professional growth. His contribution to the Second Year Class Gift is a testament to his gratitude: “Darden changed my life. I wouldn’t have come here without the funding I got from the Oculus and Consortium Fellowships. And to be able to create that opportunity and open that door for someone else is something I’ll really cherish.”

This is part of a four-part series, “What’s Next?” Discover how Darden shapes the future of its graduates and read about other remarkable stories from the Class of 2024, including about Kate Grusky, Sharon Okeke and Anton Dela Cruz.

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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