About Darden

Voices of Diversity at Darden

A core part of the Darden School of Business mission is to foster a diverse community that broadens understanding and elevates performance. We believe diversity is not captured purely in numbers or visual manifestations. Diversity is a combination of backgrounds, ideas and perspectives all shaped by our own unique experiences. It is most elegantly captured in the individual stories that make up the deep, textured fabric of a community.

Student Profiles

 

Rafael-BarbosaRafael Kellermann Barbosa

Class of 2015

Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil
Undergraduate Major: Economics
Previous Work Experience: a blend of project management consulting and healthcare advising
Activities: Net Impact Club, Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Club, Diversity Student Advisory Group and International Student Advisory Group.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity to me means to experience a broad range of views, perspectives and cultures.  As well as having a harmonic combination of strengths towards a greater good.

What about Darden stood out the most for you?

Darden has incredibly overcome my expectations in creating a sense of community and trust among students, staff and faculty.

 

Josh-FrancisJoshua Francis

Class of 2015

Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Undergraduate Major: Industrial Engineering at University of Florida
Previous Work Experience: management consulting (3 years with Accenture and 3 years at Premier Performance Partners)
Activities: Alumni Showcase Board, Black Business Student Forum, Consulting Club and the Finance Club.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity means actively seeking to input my thoughts and experiences into the conversation (or decision being made). It’s not enough for me to be ‘the minority’ within a group unless I am actively seeking to represent that affinity group within the decision.

How does Darden fit your definition of Diversity?

The grading of our classes places a huge value (40% of our grade) on participation. This forces all of the students to participate and essentially forces/gives everyone the opportunity to ‘speak up’. We also have a lot of cases based on global companies where international students can chime in with their expertise and life experiences. One of my favorite parts of class is hearing some of the international students talk about their personal reactions to the case facts.

 

Heather HellwinkelHeather Hellwinkel

Class of 2015

Hometown: North Salem, NY
Undergraduate Major: Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Arizona State University
Previous Work Experience: business development at General Mills
Activities: Entrepreneur and Venture Capital Club, Marketing Club, Graduate Women in Business, European Society, Outdoors Club and Wine and Cuisine Club.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity to me is the different perspectives and opinions each person brings to a situation or challenge based on his/her experiences.

How is diversity practiced at Darden?

Diversity at Darden is exercised every day through the thoughtful make-up of the classroom and the strategic creation of the learning teams. My learning team is made up of 6 people whose backgrounds and career aspirations would not have lead us to meet organically had we not been on the same learning team. I have learned more from them than I thought I would since each of us brings a very different perspective to each case.

Beyond the learning team walls, when else would we find ourselves on a team with a Marine, a teacher, a civil engineer, a software engineer, an accountant and a marketing person looking to go into consulting, investment banking, corporate strategy and finance and entrepreneurship from Austria, India and the 4 corners of the U.S.A.? Only at Darden!

 

Amit RozemanAmit Rozeman

Class of 2015

Hometown: Haifa, Israel
Undergraduate Major: Interdisciplinary Studies, Israeli Naval Academy
Previous Work Experience: Naval Officer in Israeli Navy
Activities: Darden Jewish Student Association, part-time musician, avid volleyball player and cook.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity to me is leveraging different life circumstances and experiences to broaden perspective. Each one of us is a talented and motivated professional, but without diversity, our beliefs and values would be limited to our life circumstances and propensities. The credibility of our colleagues helps us consider and accept other viewpoints.

How is diversity practiced at Darden?

Two ways:

  1. Case method – the learning experience in class is based on a wide variety of practices and approaches. This way, even if you walked into class completely convinced in your opinion, there will be someone else who would prove you how a different opinion is at least as valid as yours. Over time, you gradually learn to accept that you cannot always be right, and this modesty nurtures your level of curiosity and accepting of others.
  2. Learning team – a group of very different people that is still expected to deliver results every night. Only if its members are open to their teammates learning and discussion style will the team succeed in its mission.

 

Archana RaoArchana Rao

Class of 2015

Hometown: Hyderabad, India
Undergraduate Major: Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering/Advertising and Public Relations
Previous Work Experience: project management consultant and then a teacher with Teach for India
Activities: Student blogger and student journalist. I enjoy writing, cartooning and blogging. I also enjoy singing and was trained as a classical Indian Carnatic singer which allows me to participate in Jam sessions with other students at Darden.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity to me means acceptance and respect of variety in thought and opinion. Living in, learning from, and contributing to a community which constitutes people from various professions, educational disciplines, cultures, races, and experiences is true diversity. Having grown up in 16 different states of India and moving every two years because my father was in the India army, embracing diversity is an important part of my value system. I owe my embracing and inquisitive outlook in life to the diverse adventures I have had growing up.

How does Darden fit your definition of Diversity?

Darden has been a melting pot of cultures for me. Studying, learning, debating, agreeing, arguing, and solving with students from different cultures of the world has been a very rewarding experience in a Darden classroom. Be it a Chinese student attending a Jewish dinner, or an American student dancing to the tune of Indian music, or a male student participating in a Women in Business discussion, here diversity is truly accepted and practiced in everyday life.

 

Bill-BesashBill Besash

Class of 2014

Hometown: South Jersey (outside of Philadelphia)
Undergraduate Major: Finance, Wake Forest University
Previous Work Experience: consulting and financial services
Activities: Consulting Club, Adam Smith Society, Wine and Cuisine Club and MBA Program Advisory Committee. I’m also honored to be a member of the Diversity Student Advisory Group.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity is incredibly important to me. Diversity is not just people’s backgrounds, ethnicities, gender, etc. I see diversity much more in the diversity of thought. I believe that everyone’s experiences, opinions and thought processes are things that I can learn from and I will continue to absorb and learn from throughout my life.

What about Darden stood out the most for you?

Hands down it has to be Darden’s strong community. It is an incredible community.

 

Catherine-ManfreCatherine Manfre

Class of 2014

Hometown: Palm Coast, FL
Undergraduate Experience: Middle Eastern Studies, New York University
Previous Work Experience: I moved to Cairo, Egypt and worked at the International Finance Corporation and then spent a year teaching at the American International School in Egypt. 
Activities: Editor-in-Chief of the Cold Call Chronicle, Co-Chair of the Diversity Student Advisory Group (DSAG), and founder of the Middle East and Islamic Student Association @ Darden

What does diversity mean to you?

I am not an international student, nor am I an underrepresented minority. Why am I involved in DSAG and why have I spent most of my free time (I know funny joke) promoting diversity at Darden?

First, diversity for me goes far beyond what we look like or what country we come from. Each and every one of us has our own unique story and circumstance that makes us an individual and therefore a contributor to the diversity of our community.

I am passionate about promoting greater awareness and appreciation of diversity at Darden not only to help strengthen our community but ensure we are prepared for the challenges we face as being future global business leaders.

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