Scott C. Beardsley
Dean and Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration
Since 2015, Scott C. Beardsley serves as the ninth dean of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration. A passionate educator, he teaches graduate courses at Darden in strategy, leadership, global business and general management.
Motivated by the Darden School’s mission to improve the world by inspiring responsible leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences, Dean Beardsley has established a bold vision and strategy for the School and has led innovations and advancements on multiple dimensions. During his tenure, the academic quality and diversity of students (women, minorities and international) at Darden has reached an all-time high, and the GMAT average has risen from 706 to 717. Scholarship fundraising has increased 700 percent, with a new endowment that enables each Full-time MBA student to have a global experience with no additional fees. Through appointments of top staff and 31 full-time faculty, and numerous faculty promotions, Beardsley has increased the faculty and staff’s size, strength and diversity to record levels.
Darden accolades during his tenure include:
#1 MBA education experience in the world (The Economist, 2015-18);
#1 MBA faculty (The Princeton Review, 2017; Financial Times, 2017-18);
#1 global overseas study program (The Economist, 2017-18);
#1 satisfaction with MBA program education (Forbes,2017-18); #1 general management program (Financial Times, 2015-17);
#2 and #3 overall MBA global ranking (The Economist, 2015-16).
He has also led efforts for continuous innovation of Darden’s programs, including: a redesign of Darden’s Executive MBA, and its global format and expansion to the Washington, D.C., area; the expansion of Darden’s online course offerings; the introduction of new dual degrees with UVA schools and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; and the launch of a historic first joint degree at UVA, a Master of Science in Business Analytics in partnership with UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce.
His efforts have led to record fundraising with the three best years in the 21st century, more than $200 million raised (including a record $103 million in one year) and the largest single gift in the School's history ($68 million). Progress toward an ambitious 10-year facilities master plan includes a modern facility in the Washington, D.C., area, which already has over 250 students, and a new UVA Inn at Darden and Conference Center. In 2018, Darden became carbon neutral, following an agreement with Dominion to supply the School solar energy. The past three years, faculty scholarship output has expanded, and executive education has grown 30%.
Before his deanship, Beardsley spent 26 years at McKinsey & Co, serving most recently as senior partner and an elected member of McKinsey’s global board of directors. His transition to higher education followed his passion for helping students and academic communities achieve their full potential. He wrote about the rise of nontraditional leaders in academia in his 2017 book, Higher Calling (UVA Press).
One of McKinsey’s foremost global experts in telecommunications, the cable and satellite television industries, and broadband internet services and technologies, Beardsley served public and private sector clients in places such as Silicon Valley, China, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, India and Africa.
Beardsley was based for 24 of his 26 years at McKinsey & Company in the firm’s Brussels, Belgium, office. After joining in New York City in 1989, he was elected partner in 1995 and senior partner four and a half years later — putting him among the fastest to rise to senior partner.
Beardsley is an expert in talent management, capability building and executive education. Prior to Darden, Beardsley was the senior partner in charge of the global learning and leadership development of all McKinsey’s professionals and helped lead the launch of the technology-enabled learning platform McKinsey Academy. He co-chaired the committees that elect partners and senior partners.
Prior to that role, he led McKinsey’s strategy practice as managing partner in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for seven years, guiding it through a period of strong growth and innovation. He was also one of McKinsey’s foremost subject matter experts on regulatory strategy, privatization, and business in society. Working on the ground in more than 40 countries, he has advised top decision-makers and complex companies on a variety of topics and delivered sustainable impact and shareholder value.
Beardsley has led major research efforts and published extensively on topics such as technology trends, the knowledge economy, regulation, IT productivity, performance transformation and broadband. His current research interests focus on leadership development architectures and analytics in higher education.
A frequent author, speaker and media commentator, he has presented at venues such as the World Economic Forum at Davos, The Economist and The Financial Times. He has served on several boards, including eight years as board chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium, the global board of directors of McKinsey & Company, and two private, for-profit companies.
In May 2015, Beardsley earned a doctorate in higher education management with distinction from the University of Pennsylvania. He holds an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, where he received highest honors as a Henry S. Dupont III Scholar and was elected by the faculty to serve as editor and marketing manager of the MIT Sloan Management Review. He received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering magna cum laude from Tufts University, where he was awarded highest honors as the Eastman Kodak Scholar, and was elected to the national engineering honor societies Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu, as president.
From a family of educators, Beardsley was born in Maine and grew up in Vermont and Alaska. He is a citizen of France and the United States, and is bilingual in English and French. He resides in Charlottesville, Virginia, on the Lawn at the center of the University of Virginia’s Academical Village, a UNESCO World Heritage site. He and his wife Claire Dufournet of Annecy, France, have three sons.