Scott C. Beardsley
Dean and Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration
Scott C. Beardsley is 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 courses in strategy, leadership, global business and general management. As dean, he is responsible for the Darden enterprise, including all operations and oversight of both the Darden School and the Darden School Foundation.
Beardsley has established a bold vision and strategy and led record advancements in key areas, including: fundraising and resources, student excellence, rankings, diversity and inclusion, faculty hiring and excellence, global reach, program innovation, and infrastructure development.
After less than four years at the helm, Beardsley was reappointed in 2019 to a second, five-year term through 2025. Under his leadership, the School’s full-time MBA program has climbed to No. 5 overall in the Bloomberg Businessweek ranking. Other accolades for Darden during his tenure include:
#1 MBA education experience in the U.S. (The Economist, 2011–19)
#1 MBA faculty (The Princeton Review, 2017–18)
#1 global overseas study program (The Economist, 2017–19)
#1 satisfaction with MBA program education (Forbes, 2017–18)
#1 general management program (Financial Times, 2012–17, 2019)
#1 corporate social responsibility (Financial Times, 2019)
In 2019, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business reaccredited the School with no reported areas of concern under its continuous improvement review process.
In the area of student excellence, the academic quality and diversity of MBA students has soared to new heights, including the highest percentage and number of enrolled women in Darden history and the highest number of minorities and international students. The GMAT average has risen to an all-time high (718), and a new endowment enables each full-time MBA student to have a global experience with no additional fees. Student placement statistics have set records.
Through appointments of top staff and 31 new, full-time faculty, and numerous faculty promotions, Beardsley has increased the faculty and staff’s size, strength and diversity to record levels. Financial support for faculty research has doubled, and research productivity has risen. Working collaboratively with the faculty, he successfully modernized Darden’s standards for excellence and tenure and promotion.
The reach, breadth and digital innovation of Darden’s academic programs have expanded under Beardsley, including the:
- Creation of a new $80M Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning
- Redesign of Darden’s Executive MBA and its global format, its expansion to the Washington, D.C., area, and 45% program growth
- Successful 60+ student 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
- Expansion of Darden’s online course offerings, which reach millions of people worldwide
- Growth of global programs, more than doubling MBA student study abroad
- Introduction of new dual degrees with UVA schools and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and record numbers of dual-degree enrollments.
- Innovation of a Management Science Specialization for the Darden MBA, which carries a STEM designation
- Creation of a digital and data analytics capability and an in-formation satellite with the UVA School of Data Science
- Launch of a new Future Year Scholars deferred Admissions program for undergraduates
- Strong revenue growth of Darden Executive Education and Lifelong Learning
His efforts have increased budgetary resources 40% and led to record fundraising with the three best years in the 21st century, including Darden’s best fundraising year ever ($104 million), the largest gift in Darden history ($68 million), and almost $300 million in new pledges and matching money. Endowments and pledges supporting Darden now total over $650 million.
Progress towards an ambitious 10-year facilities master plan includes the 2018 dedication of a new, modern facility in the Washington, D.C., area, UVA Darden DC Metro, which already has over 300 students. The UVA Board of Visitors approved schematic design for a new Inn at Darden and conference center for lifelong learning; construction is anticipated to begin in 2020. Darden also achieved carbon neutrality, following an agreement with Dominion Energy to supply the School solar energy.
As an educator, Beardsley teaches courses each year in the Darden full-time MBA and Executive MBA programs, including seminars “Maximizing Leadership Potential in Sports and Business” and “CEO Leadership in the 21st Century,” two courses on “Corporate Strategic Leadership,” and Darden Worldwide Courses. He joint-teaches “Ambiculturalism” and “Managers in Action.”
Before his deanship, Beardsley spent 24 of his 26 years at McKinsey & Co in Brussels, Belgium, serving most recently as senior partner and an elected member of McKinsey’s global board of directors. 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. 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).
Beardsley is an expert in talent management, capability building, learning and leadership development. Prior to Darden, Beardsley was the senior partner in charge of the global learning and leadership development of all McKinsey’s professionals, helping 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 EMEA for seven years. He was also one of McKinsey’s foremost subject matter experts on regulatory strategy, privatization, technology, telecommunications and business in society and advised top decision-makers in over 40 countries. 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. His current research interests focus on leadership development and analytics in higher education.
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. At UVA, he served on the leadership team to assess UVA’s response to the August 2017 events in Charlottesville and supports the national championship men’s tennis team in various capacities.
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.