class of 2022 women at darden

Diversity at Darden

MBA - Culture and Community - Diversity at Darden - Women


Darden women make a significant impact every day — at Darden, in Charlottesville and around the world. They are club presidents — currently leading over half of Darden's student clubs — community leaders, entrepreneurs and more. Darden is committed to recruiting women who want to positively impact the world, and empowering them for long-term success in whatever role they choose.

Over the course of two years at Darden and as a lifelong member of the alumni network, you will be able to take advantage of mentorship, alumni and career development resources, and you will develop skills critical to gaining respect as a business leader. Darden’s distinctive case method of instruction — designed to strengthen students' confidence in their communication, decision-making and teamwork skills — and experiential learning opportunities create a great learning environment for women.

darden mba women sitting in a circle in a classroom

Finding Your Voice at Darden

Meet five women from Darden who talk about the challenges they faced — and the successes they found — as they worked to find their voices in business school.

Below you will be able to meet some of Darden's female leaders, learn about the student and partner organizations that support our female students and peruse a collection of resources developed particularly for women. Be sure to check out the Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) club page for recent conversations with current students about various aspects of the Darden experience. 

  • Graduate Women in Business

    Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) 

    Darden’s chapter of Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) promotes the role of professional women by developing a greater appreciation for issues of diversity among men, women, faculty and administration. GWIB provides resources related to women’s issues in pursuing a career in business and helps students create and build their professional and personal networks.  

    On the (GWIB) club page you will find webinars with students exploring various aspects of the Darden experience. 

    alyssa gonzalez
    Alyssa Gonzalez, Class of 2023
    President, GWIB

    Pronouns: She/her/hers

    Hometown: McAllen, Texas

    Undergrad Institution: Dartmouth College

    Undergrad Major: Sociology & International Studies

    Pre-MBA Industry/Functional Area: Business Development Manager/Tech 

    Areas of Career Interest: Tech, Consulting

    Darden Clubs and Leadership Roles: President Graduate Women in Business, Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow, Forte Fellow, Community Consultants of Darden, member of Cold Call Chorus, member of Hispanic American Network Darden

    Why Darden? For me, pursuing an MBA meant surrounding myself with a community that was completely bought into the experience. An environment that valued learning, understood the importance of highlighting diverse perspectives, and fostered collaboration. This is what Darden does best! Darden’s case method is problem-solving in action, which has enabled me to think through business concepts and apply them to real life managerial decisions. As a non-traditional candidate, this opportunity to learn from my peers and world class faculty has been truly transformative! 

    niha pendurthi
    Niha Pendurthi, Class of 2023
    VP of Admissions, GWIB

    Pronouns: She/her/hers

    Hometown: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

    Undergrad Institution: Williams College

    Undergrad Major: Political Science

    Pre-MBA Industry/Functional Area: Social Impact/Government

    Areas of Career Interest: Consulting

    Darden Clubs and Leadership Roles: VP of Admissions, Graduate Women in Business (GWIB), member of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, Community Consultants of Darden, Net Impact, and Consulting clubs

    Why Darden? Coming from a non-traditional background, I wanted to attend a business school with exceptional professors who were invested in my development as a leader. What I didn’t anticipate was how transformative the Darden experience would be for me. I found my voice both inside and outside of the classroom because of the encouragement of my amazing professors and classmates. This will have a lasting impact on my life long after I leave Darden.

  • Featured Alumnae

    Meet Darden Alumnae

    muriel furlong black and whiteMariel Furlong (MBA  '13)

    Mariel leads Go-to-Market strategy and business operations for Fitbit North America, part of Google. She began her career as a graphics journalist for National Geographic magazine, before seeking an MBA to help pivot onto a path in corporate strategy. She was a Batten Fellow, a Forte Fellow and a Forte MBA Launch coach, and is a proud member of Forte's new Alumni Leadership Council. In her free time, Mariel enjoys hiking, stand-up comedy, and mentorship.

    Learn more about Mariel

    Pam Fischer

    Pam Fischer (MBA '21)

    Pam started her career in social impact and came to Darden to grow her general management skill set. She now works as a Product Manager at Amazon and mentors women moving into tech. 

    Read about Pam's breakthrough work on case representation on the Forté Foundation Business 360 Blog

    Gaelle Mawadjou

    Gaelle Mawadjou Tchokoua (MBA ’17)

    A native of Cameroon, Gaelle came to Darden to grow her public speaking skills and her career. Gaelle now works at M&T Bank and also plans to pursue impact investing in Africa.

    Read more about Gaelle's Darden experience


    Hillary Lewis Murray (MBA ’13)

    What does hard work, determination and a Darden MBA get you? Ask Hillary Lewis Murray, founder and CEO of LUMI Organics, who was recently featured by the Forté Foundation as a fearless leader and role model.

    Read Hillary's profile on the Forté Foundation Business 360 Blog


    Carolyn Miles

    Carolyn Miles (MBA ’88)

    As the former CEO of international nonprofit, Save the Children, Carolyn models how a Darden an MBA can prepare you for a successful and rewarding career in the nonprofit sector. She recently joined the Darden community as senior adviser to the dean and executive fellow, and will serve as a distinguished lecturer beginning in fall 2021.

    Read more about Carolyn's Accomplishments



    Katherine Neebe (MBA ’04)

    Katherine has worked with a wide range of corporate, government and nonprofit organizations. She currently works as Chief Sustainability Officer & VP National Engagement & Strategy for Duke Energy and as President of the Duke Energy Foundation. She was also named to the National Diversity Council’s Power 50.

    Read more about Katherine's Accomplishments

    zhana edmonds

    Zhana Edmonds (MBA '19)

    Zhana decided to pursue her MBA to switch careers to tech marketing, following her passion for being creative! Since graduating she has worked in growth marketing, social media, and customer acquisition. In her free time, she enjoys painting, playing electric guitar and cake decorating. While at Darden she was a Consortium and Forte fellow, and President of the Black Business Students Association. As an alum she serves on the Forte Foundation's Alumni Leadership Council, advising Forte on programming for members. 

    Learn more about Zhana


  • Partnerships

    Darden and Forté

    At Darden, we are committed to women's leadership, and since its inception have proudly partnered with Forté - a non-profit working to launch women into successful and significant careers.  Through Forté's alliance of leading companies, top schools and pioneering donors, we empower women to rise higher.  All female students at Darden get Forté's Premium Access Pass membership for FREE. Forté's community of 100,000+ motivated and inspiring women is changing the balance of power in the workplace.  

    Through the admissions process, exceptional female candidates are selected to receive a Darden School Foundation-funded Forté Fellowship. Along with the prestige of receiving this scholarship, Forté fellows gain access to exclusive Forté benefits, such as skill-building workshops, leadership conferences, networking opportunities, job postings and more. 



    Forté MBALaunch members (If you have been accepted into the Forté MBALaunch program, your application fee waiver will be applied automatically upon submission of your application. You do not need to provide any further payment information.)

  • Prospective Student Resources

    Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) 

    Darden’s chapter of Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) promotes the role of professional women by developing a greater appreciation for issues of diversity among men, women, faculty and administration. GWIB provides resources related to women’s issues in pursuing a career in business and helps students create and build their professional and personal networks.

    1:1 Program for Prospective Student Women

    Darden is known for having a tight-knit community. In order to give you a more personalized introduction, the Graduate Women in Business Club and the Office of Admissions are pleased to offer the 1:1 Program for Prospective Student Women. If you have questions regarding the 1:1 program, please contact Director of Women’s Recruiting Haley Whitlock Gyory

    The program will pair you with a current female student mentor in late summer so that you can have a one-on-one connection with a member of the Darden community. Previous participants have found that this is a fantastic way to learn about the School, the student community and the many academic opportunities and resources. 

    Victoria Nowak
    Victoria Nowak, Class of 2024

    "Darden’s 1:1 Program made a significant difference in both my Darden application process and my final decision of where to pursue my MBA. Having a trusted and designated mentor allowed me to ask all of my questions and determine the ways in which Darden could be a good fit for my journey. The entire application process felt less intimidating with the support of my mentor as she was there to bounce ideas off of for my essays, prepare for interviews and help me put my best foot forward. Ultimately, when it came down to deciding which school would be the best fit for me, my mentor was there to talk through my different school options and help answer any remaining questions so I could make the best decision for my future."


    UVA Resources for Women 

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