Developing and Inspiring Responsible Leaders

Genie Ko

The mission of the Darden School of Business is to improve the world by developing and inspiring responsible leaders and by advancing knowledge.

What qualities do transformational and inspiring leaders possess? This is a question that often comes up during Darden’s Leadership Speaker Series, when CEOs and senior managers come from around the world to speak to the Darden community. While each speaker reflects on different experiences and paths to success, there is a constant theme that the role of a leader includes not only charting a vision for the future and galvanizing others behind a common cause, but also having the fortitude to make difficult decisions with limited information.

How can Darden develop these leadership qualities? Darden has designed its program to provide a multi-faceted leadership experience that will prepare you for your future as a business leader. Darden strives to deliver on its mission to improve society by developing principled leaders in the world of practical affairs by providing students with a transformative two-year experience.

Leadership in the Classroom

The Darden case method is a prime example of how leadership is infused into everything that we do. Everyday when you read and discuss a case, you are put into the shoes of a business leader in a concrete situation and asked to make a decision — often times with incomplete information. Your learning team will give you the opportunity to test out your ideas and work collaboratively in a small group setting. When you get to class and participate in large discussions, you will develop strong communication skills as you learn to explain your reasoning and persuade and inspire others.

Additionally, as part of Darden’s core courses, you will take Leading Organizations during the First Year and have numerous options to take leadership electives during the Second Year:

Leadership Courses

Leadership Outside of the Classroom

In addition to formal leadership opportunities in over forty student clubs, there are several ways to practice and develop your leadership skills in a variety of roles throughout the year:

  • Community Consultants of Darden (CCoD) – CCoD provides consulting services to businesses in the Charlottesville community. You can serve as a member of the leadership team in your Second Year or lead a project team on a consulting project during your First Year. 
  • Darden Student Association (DSA) – Serve as a member or leader of the DSA to represent student opinions through a close relationship with faculty, staff and administration. 
  • Student Clubs – There are several formal leadership roles available in more than 40 official clubs and organizations including major event and conference organizer roles. 
  • Second Year Career Coaches – As part of a Second Year elective, serve as a career coach for several First Year students going through the job search process for their summer internships. 
  • Darden Second Year Peers – Serve as a mentor and coach for a First Year student as they navigate their way through the First Year at Darden. 
  • Dean’s Long-Range Advisory Committee (DLRAC) – As a member of DLRAC, you will have the opportunity to act as an advisor to the leadership of the School. 
  • Leadership Development Initiative  – A student-led initiative looking into the introspective aspects of leadership.

Leadership in Focus  

Watch the following video of students highlighting the value of leadership opportunities in the Second Year: 

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