The Darden Capital Management program at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business has notched a new milestone: $15 million in assets. That accomplishment comes as a result of years of growth and additional funds from the Darden School Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Started in 1990 with $250,000 in seed money, the Darden Capital Management program calls itself a “student-run club focused on promoting the interest and experience of its members in the investment management industry,” but it could probably be considered more than just a club.
For one thing, it’s a club that can be used as an independent study course for MBA students at Darden. Then there’s the fact that, as far as clubs go, it has a cool $15 million at its disposal.
That $15 million is divided between five funds with different investment approaches. The club has a faculty advisor, but all investment decisions are ultimately in the hands of students.
Rich Evans, currently the faculty advisor, says: “In terms of their investments or buy-sell decisions, I have no say, and that’s exactly the way it ought to be. It’s not me controlling them, it’s them truly experiencing on their own how this works.”
For the students in the Darden Capital Management program, that means real experience handling the ups and downs the markets bring. For example, you can bet Darden’s Class of 2008 had a handful to deal with.
Given that the industry can be hard to break into, this experience is invaluable. James Franco, a Class of 2017 MBA and former CEO of the program, says that “Without DCM, it would be so hard to get into this business.”
Franco explains that being in the Darden Capital Management program builds not only “tangible skills” but “intangibles of just how to think about investing and how to approach the business and how to approach the recruiting process.”
Besides giving firsthand experience managing funds, the program helps students develop by attending conferences and participating in competitions nationally.
Clearly, there are compelling reasons to consider Darden if capital management is a field that interests you. In fact, I can count at least 15 million of them.
If so, you might be wondering how your application stacks up at Darden and how the adcom will see it. We can answer this question and give you feedback on what other schools might be a good fit too – just ask us for a free MBA assessment!