Darden Worldwide Courses, the global study program at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, says that “all students are expected to have a global experience during their time at Darden.”
Now, thanks to a $15 million donation and another $15 million matching donation, that ideal is becoming a reality. Together, the gifts will enable every Darden MBA student to participate in one of Darden’s global courses at no extra cost.
The initial $15 million gift came from the Virginia-based Batten Foundation, and it was matched with an additional $15 million by the University of Virginia’s Bicentennial Scholars Fund.
Darden is using the money to establish what it is calling the Batten Foundation Darden Worldwide Scholarship program. The program will allow every full-time MBA student to participate in a Darden Worldwide Course without incurring any additional cost.
Darden Worldwide Courses are courses lasting one to two weeks and led by Darden faculty members in locations around the world. The courses are designed to provide a hands-on cultural experience, with students visiting local businesses and meeting with local officials.
Lately, the school has been stepping up its Darden Worldwide course offerings, and it says it is currently offering 14 courses on five continents. These range from a course on robotics in Germany to one on the relationship between government and businesses in China.
Funding global study opportunities for all MBA students is an ambitious goal, but $30 million dollars will go a long way. In fact, the Batten Foundation’s $15 million donation is Darden’s largest since the Batten family gave $60 million to launch the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 1999.
Darden’s dean, Scott Beardsley, described the gift as a “transformational” one that would have a “major impact” on the school.
He said the gift would make the school itself “more affordable and global,” and that it would give students “the opportunity to explore the world in which they will be tomorrow’s leaders,” making them “prepared to serve as distinctive leaders defined by global sophistication, entrepreneurial orientation and action-based responsibility, in the workplace and beyond.”
In short, he said, it would “make a world of difference.”
No doubt this new funding for global study makes Darden an even more attractive business school for prospective MBA students. But is it a business school that you can get into?
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