When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.
Every spring, students at the University of Virginia (UVA) Darden School of Business take a day to partner with area contractors and builders to rehabilitate houses in the Charlottesville area for low-income, disabled, and elderly homeowners. The preparations for “build day” take much of the school year. Students involved with the Building Goodness Foundation select the projects, coordinate the suppliers and volunteers, collect the necessary funds, and apply for permits. Since the program’s inception in 1991, Darden students have volunteered thousands of hours of their time, in addition to investing more than $1M in improvements in the area. In December, the organization sponsors a formal ball as a fundraiser for the event. The ball features a live auction that takes place between a cocktail hour and a sit-down dinner and dancing. A first-year blogger raved about the ball in a February 2012 post, saying it “has been hands-down one of my favorite events to date. Not only was it an incredible social event, but it was a friendly reminder that it’s not all about ‘increasing shareholder value.’”
In April 2014, several hundred Darden students made improvements to a dozen homes in the Charlottesville area. A first year commented in a Charlottesville Newsplex article that month, “A day like today, we all come out in force and do as much as we can to help out [with] little projects around the house,” adding, “To meet some of the people in the community and do something for someone else, it’s a good feeling.”
For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at UVA Darden and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.