Save the Dates and Register Now! Darden is Co-Hosting Three Conferences Around the World This Spring and Summer

Shanghai Investing Summit

Big Data: Little Ethics? Conference

Entrepreneurship & Innovation Research Conference

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Global Business Experience South Africa 2015 in Photos

This March, the Darden Center for Global Initiatives offered three Global Business Experiences to students interested in learning about a particular business theme in another country.  The programs included “From the Amazon to Rio: Leading Complex Projects on the Global Stage” in Manaus and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, “Exploring how China Influences the Conduct of Business Within China and Internationally” in Shanghai, China, and “Lessons from South Africa on the Need for Cooperation Between the Public and Private Sectors to Grow an Economy” in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

South Africa’s history and outlook provided a particularly interesting backdrop for discussions regarding how business and government function in global society.  Students met several times over the course of the spring to prepare for their time on the ground in South Africa.  Darden faculty member and Academic Director for the Institute for Business in Society   Mary Margaret Frank, led Darden students to Johannesburg and Cape Town from 4-14 March 2015 to learn about Africa’s largest economy and to explore issues including diversity, entrepreneurial empowerment, telecommunication and mobile banking, foreign direct investment and sustainability.  The program’s final assignment asked students to consider how the private sector can partner more effectively with the public sector to promote growth and stability in South Africa.

One of students on the program, Andrea Barrios (MBA ’16), shared her photographs, allowing us an inside glimpse into the 2015 South Africa Global Business Experience: South-Africa-Cape-Town-(36-of-121)_v2   South-Africa-Cape-Town-(37-of-121)_v2   South-Africa-Cape-Town-(94-of-121)_v2   South-Africa-Cape-Town-(98-of-121)_v2   South-Africa-Cape-Town-(101-of-121)_v2   South-Africa-Cape-Town-(105-of-121)_v2   South-Africa-Cape-Town-(60-of-121)_v2   South-Africa-Cape-Town-(63-of-121)_v2   South-Africa-Cape-Town-(121-of-121)_v2   South-Africa-Kruger-Joberg-(9-of-42)_v2   South-Africa-Kruger-Joberg-(10-of-42)_v2   South-Africa-Kruger-Joberg-(5-of-42)_v2   South-Africa-Cape-Town-(35-of-121)_v2   South-Africa-Cape-Town-(111-of-121)_v2

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Darden Leader Shares at the Global Business School Network and American University in Cairo Experiential Learning Summit

As part of the American University in Cairo annual research conference, the AUC Business School, Global Business School Network and Tuck School of Business convened a group of leaders in management education, the private sector, students and public officials to consider the opportunities for experiential learning in management education, with an emphasis on the Middle East and North Africa region.  The event convened 60+ people from 11 countries across 4 continents, 15 universities and 14 corporations and associations.

GBSN.AUC Marc Johnson in Cairo in March 2015 on Experiential Learning Panel Marc Johnson, the Darden Center for Global Initiatives’ Executive Director, joined a panel of business school leaders to share insights and thinking from experiential learning in practice.  He spoke about the importance of defining learning objectives and faculty leadership of any experiential learning program to ensure success at achieving aims – at Darden experiential learning is not only a successful way to increase global readiness in our MBA students but to better tackle unstructured problems, work through ambiguity, and engage across cultural and other differences.  The panel and audience addressed some of the challenges of implementing successful experiential learning in management education curriculum, including assessment of learning, preparing students to understand and learn from potential project failure and challenges in engaging students in real-world settings with appropriate support.

Johnson shared the Darden School’s partnership with the Mediterranean School of Business in Tunis, Tunisia as an example of a collaboration in experiential learning between institutions in the region and the U.S.  In this program, Darden MBA students worked remotely with EMBAs from MSB who were launching new business and organizations.  The Darden students had the opportunity to learn more about the context in Tunisia while providing valuable advice and insights to the MSB students that could help them succeed.  One example of a project that an MSB EMBA student and Darden students worked on is the Alzheimer’s Family Assistance organization, which launched officially in the fall.

GBSN.AUC. Marc Johnson in Cairo in March 2015 Darden is a long-standing member of the Global Business School Network, an organization committed to developing management education in emerging economies to promote economic growth and development.  This event at AUC provided opportunities to share lessons learned from experience at Darden and also to learn from the other schools and organizations present in a thoughtful exchange of ideas.  Following the summit, Johnson met with the Dean and senior leadership of the AUC Business School to explore possible areas of collaboration between the two schools.

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Dean Bruner Connects with Alumni and the Media in China and India

In addition to attending the events for the opening of the UVA China Office in early March, Dean Bruner, Dennis Yang and Marc Johnson spent time in China engaging with other leading business schools, corporate leaders, Darden alumni and the media to help advance Darden’s partnerships and presence.  These engagements included discussions of the newly launched Asia Initiative, which will include efforts to build on Darden engagement existing in the region.  Darden alumni in China gathered for a luncheon with Dean Bruner hosted by the Darden Society, where the Dean noted some of the recent success in Darden engagement in China, including the alumni-led Darden China Scholarship, which reached the one million dollar milestone last year and the inauguration of the Shanghai Investing Summit.  Media interviews for Dean Bruner and Dennis Yang resulted many publications. A few of the highlights are as follows:

Following the visits in China, Dean Bruner and Marc Johnson traveled to New Delhi, where Darden Chapter president Shravani Bagchi-Chowdhury and Aman Chowdhury hosted a gathering for alumni at their home, including the President of the UVA Club of India.  Dean Bruner emphasized the importance of India as part of the Asia Initiative and to the Darden School more broadly, noting alumni support for the India Fund scholarship and engagement by Darden students and faculty.  VN Dalmia hosted an event for Dean Bruner at his residence with local corporate and other leaders, and arranged for Dean Bruner to speak to the EO New Delhi Chapter on his research on “Deals from Hell” and to the Young Business Leaders Forum of the PHD Chamber of Commerce on management education in the future.  Dean Bruner was also interviewed by local media in India, which produced these stories:

At the alumni events in Shanghai and New Delhi, Dean Bruner noted the importance of alumni engagement to the success of Darden’s global efforts and the strong support from the Darden China and India Chapters.  Dean Bruner has spent time in Asia in every year of his tenure as dean and noted that without the support of local alumni, the success in building Darden’s presence in Asia over the past 10 years would not have been possible.  Alumni leadership in both countries has been critical to recruiting top MBA student talent, building new relationships with leading organizations, and helping to raise the profile of Darden in this part of the world.  The strength of the Darden alumni network was on display in both India and China through these visits, with alumni not only joining these events but helping to arrange interviews, meetings with corporate partners, and new opportunities while Dean Bruner was in Asia.

Darden alumni luncheon hosted by Shravani Bagchi Chowdhury (MBA '99) and Aman Chowdhury (MBA '98).

Darden alumni and UVA alumni luncheon hosted by Shravani Bagchi Chowdhury (MBA ’99) and Aman Chowdhury (MBA ’98). Dean Bruner and Marc Johnson, Executive Director of Darden’s Center for Global Initiatives, in attendance.

Dean Bruner, Dennis Yang, and Marc Johnson meet with Darden alumni in Shanghai at a Darden Society event.

Dean Bruner, Dennis Yang, and Marc Johnson meet with Darden alumni in Shanghai at a Darden Society event.

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Darden’s Involvement with the UVA China Office Opening

On 6-7 March, the University of Virginia celebrated the opening of its China Office in Shanghai. The purpose of the new office is to facilitate connections, strengthen academic programs, engage alumni and prospective students, and provide UVA outreach to China.

The top-level delegation from UVA included Dean Robert F. Bruner, Marc Johnson, Executive Director of the Center for Global Initiatives, and Dennis Yang, the Dale S. Coenen Free Enterprise Professor of Business Administration.

Dean Bruner with the UVA Delegation at the UVA China Office Opening Urbanization Conference.

Dean Bruner with the UVA Delegation and U.S. Consul General at the UVA China Office Opening Urbanization Conference.

Dean Bruner, Marc Johnson, Dennis Yang
The “China’s Urbanization: The Next Challenge” showcased Darden and UVA thought leadership in economics and development, as well as architecture. Dennis Yang led a panel  discussion with Lin Zhou, Dean of the Antai College of Economics and Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong Univeristy, Ming Lu, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for China Development Studies at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Haiming Tu, Chairman of Hodoor Real Estate Development. Some of the key takeaways of the discussion included:

  • The unprecedented rate of urbanization in China over the past 20 years has driven significant economic growth and transition, but now poses some real risks for continued sustainable growth and development.
  • One significant potential risk is the possibility of a real estate bubble driven by this urbanization and overvaluation of real assets that could cause serious problems in the financial system if not properly managed.
  • There are also serious challenges to environmental sustainability related to urbanization, including the energy demands related to urban centers, urban planning and transportation needs, etc. that need to be considered as urbanization continues.
  • There are opportunities to address some of these challenges through further liberalization of the market economy in these areas that could help to correct some potential misallocation of resources.  These challenges do not necessarily represent market failures but rather a need for further liberalization.
Dennis Yang leads the Urbanization panel discussion on business and economics development .

Dennis Yang leading the urbanization panel discussion on business and economics development.

The Darden Global Business Experience to China, a group of 19 students led by Professor Marc Lipson, attended the evening Gala reception at the UVA China Office Opening as a kick-off for their week-long intensive business exploration of Shanghai.  The China Global Business Experience explores how the unique characteristics of China influence business conduct both by Chinese and non-Chinese enterprises within and outside of China.

Dean Bruner and Marc Lipson connect at the UVA China Office Opening Events, which also served as the kick-off for the Darden China Global Business Experience.

Dean Bruner and Marc Lipson connect at the UVA China Office Opening Events, which also served as the kick-off for the Darden China Global Business Experience.

Dennis Yang and Marc Johnson with XXXXX

Dennis Yang and Marc Johnson with prominent Darden alumni at the UVA Office Opening Gala Reception.

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Darden Student Thoughts on the IPADE Case Competition Experience

Two Darden students, Bhavani Srinivasan and Annie Medaglia, both in the Class of 2015, participated in the IPADE Case Competition in February of this year.  Bhavani’s team placed 3rd in the competition. Annie shared her thoughts about the experience:

Participating in the IPADE Deloitte Mexico case competition was a unique opportunity to be paired with students from international business schools and to learn how they view the world. Three of my teammates were from Mexico and one was from Tuck, but other program participants came from Argentina, China, etc.  I learned a lot about what is similar amongst business programs, but also what assumptions we make about business and analysis based on where we’re from. For example, when calculating inflation, the Mexicans in the group said 4% as if it was a given, while those of us from the U.S. said 2-3%. It seems minor, but it is important to remember nuances and the context when operating in different business climates. Not all assumptions are the same!

From a non-business perspective, the campus was absolutely stunning and all our local hosts were so wonderful and kind. We even had an opportunity to get to an IPADE business school party as well! Not to mention, Mexico city is a cool city to explore.

Annie Medaglia and Bhavani Srinivasan in Mexico at the IPADE Case Competition.

Annie Medaglia (MBA ’15) and Bhavani Srinivasan (MBA ’15) in Mexico at the IPADE Case Competition.

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Darden Students Explore Entrepreneurship in Chengdu and Tibetan Region

During spring break, many Darden students take advantage of opportunities to travel to learn about conducting business in other regions of the world. Currently, there are Global Business Experiences running in China, Brazil, and South Africa, each with a different specific theme. Three Global Field Elective Teams are also currently conducting their onsite visits, which allows them to meet directly with their clients, do research, and present preliminary deliverables.

One Global Field Team is in Chengdu, exploring the entrepreneurial landscape in Western China and the Tibetan region. This opportunity was made possible through collaborations between the University of Virginia Tibet Center, the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Darden Center for Global Initiatives.

This spring, the team has been researching and pulling together the best teaching practices for entrepreneurship. They have also done research on the entrepreneurship culture in Western China and Tibet and conducted interviews with entrepreneurs from Tibet visiting Charlottesville for a six week program. During their onsite visit, the Darden students are gaining on-the-ground knowledge that will allow them to thoughtfully and strategically adapt and apply the best teaching practices to the local context.  So far, they have already conducted interviews with local entrepreneurship students, visited museums, and presented to undergraduate students.

Darden Class of 2015 students Yichen Feng, Seyitbek Usmanov, and Lydia Kim on Sichuan University grounds in Chengdu.

Darden Class of 2015 students Yichen Feng, Seyitbek Usmanov, and Lydia Kim on the Sichuan University campus in Chengdu.

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UVA Recognized by NAFSA for Campus Internationalization

NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, announced yesterday that the University of Virginia was selected as one of five higher education institutions to receive the 2015 Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization.  Darden’s Center for Global Initiatives activities were submitted with other UVA materials for the award review process.  The Senator Paul Simon Awards recognize excellent and comprehensive integration of international activities throughout a particular college or university’s academic and student life programs. Read more about the 2015 Simon Award winners and what the award represents in the NAFSA press release and read the UVA press release for internal reactions.

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Lunar New Year Celebration

Lanterns decorated the Darden Classroom Building hallways all day.

Lanterns decorated the Darden Classroom Building hallways.

Last Thursday evening, the Asian Business Club of Darden (ABCD) hosted a Lunar New Year celebration for the community. The Club’s president, Glen Ye (MBA ’15), shared:

“Leading up to the event, our team had to track many different pieces (decorations, food, games, performances, AV, etc.). It was awesome to have it come all together for the Darden community. I’m really glad we had such a great turnout, and that everyone got to experience all these different elements of Asian culture. For the international students, Darden is a home away from home; ABCD was thrilled to provide the venue  for the most important and most meaningful Asian holiday of the year.  It really was very rewarding!

Favorite part . . . probably our Darden dance team!  They rocked it out!”








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On Exchange in Argentina: A Student Reflection and Call to Action

By Kimberly Ellenson (MBA ’15)

I spent about a year traveling before I matriculated at Darden. The person I was when I landed back in the U.S. was someone completely changed by her time spent away. There is no better teacher than immersion, and the lessons one learns through those experiences become one’s values. When I arrived at Darden, I wanted to understand how such immersion could translate to a business setting. I wanted to take classes in another language. I had become comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I wanted to push myself again. I also wanted to escape to the southern hemisphere during winter, so IAE Business School in Argentina quickly became my first choice when I realized that as Darden students, we could study abroad pretty much anywhere in the world. And frankly, Darden made the process so easy that it felt like a no-brainer.

Class Dinner Party with Friends

Class dinner party with friends in Argentina 

My time at IAE and in Buenos Aires was defined and re-defined daily. Isn’t that always how it is when you spend time away from home? Your senses are on fire. The complacency that sets in in routine life is somehow banished and you chase after newness, new experiences. Experiences like trading dollars for pesos on the black market to reap the 40% unofficial spread. Weekly dinners with the other 11 exchange students and our Argentine cohort. Spending a weekend at my classmate Enrique’s finca (beautiful ranch home, complete with a polo pitch). A school-wide food festival, where I introduced the dean of students to falafel. Landing a sold-out ticket to the championship game of the Argentine premier fútbol league – in a region where, you likely know, futbollers are gods and the tone of the year is set by how well your team fares that season. Malbec, malbec, and more malbec. Getting used to the cross-classroom yelling, in which professors were frequently involved. Sipping mate on the rambla (coastline) in Montevideo during a weekend Uruguayan escape with my exchange friends, arguing whether the steak was better on that side of the Río de La Plata. A trip with my Darden girlfriends to hike Chilean Patagonia during winter break.

Chaos erupts after a futbol win!

Chaos erupts after a futbol win!

What I experienced during my time in Argentina, though, isn’t really something I can sum up in a few ill-formed sentences. I’ve come back changed, sure, but it feels different this time. I have a year of business school and a summer working behind me. My MBA is teaching me how the world works, how all these different industries and sectors work together to advance society. But by studying on exchange in Argentina, I’ll humbly say that I think I better understand how my little place in the world works.  I do think that my vision for my own professional future has become much clearer.

As an aside, I spent the summer interning at Amgen, where I will return when I graduate. I remember reading through various VP’s bios and noticing that every single one of them had some sort of international experience. It wasn’t a coincidence. Maybe I’m biased, but I believe it’s nearly impossible to be a successful businessperson in today’s global economy without first-hand experience in another culture. Darden recognizes it too – the Class of 2015 will be the first cohort eligible for the Global Business concentration.

Making falafel and hummus for the Food Festival

Making falafel and hummus for the Food Festival

You don’t have to live abroad for a long time. But you need to be there long enough for the vacation feeling to wear off. You have to spend some time knowing how it feels to be confused about why they’re eating that weird thing (and being the only one who thinks it’s weird), being frustrated because public transportation is probably on strike again today, and needing forever to finish a DCF because you keep forgetting their computers use commas for periods and vice versa — because when you come out the other side you’re smarter, more at ease with yourself. You’re better at navigating ambiguity. Better at adapting in rapidly changing environments. Better at leading cross-functional, cross-cultural teams. Better at all those buzzwords employers are looking for.

Visiting Chile with friends from Darden

Visiting Chile with friends from Darden

If there’s one take-away, it’s this: Go. Go anywhere. And for longer than just a week or two.

Live abroad anywhere that feels weird or different or scary. Because in the end it’s all going to be okay (isn’t it always?) and the weirdness and differences and scariness will make you more adaptable, more strategic. It will also make you cooler because you will have awesome stories to tell at parties while networking.  Personally and professionally, it will make you better.

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