Opening Week at Darden

4 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2019

See all articles by Martin N. Davidson

Martin N. Davidson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Melissa C. Thomas-Hunt



This case describes the experience of five MBA students beginning their two-year residential program. The students are members of a learning team, and each is experiencing challenges orienting to the new program and to her or his teammates.



Aug. 9, 2019

Opening Week at Darden

Jackson Bates

Jackson Bates was contemplating his experience during Opening Week so far and was really excited about what was ahead for him at the Darden School of Business. Even as a child, Bates's father had talked to him about the importance of understanding business and of being responsible and successful financially. He remembered his father—a very successful executive who had worked his way up the corporate ladder from the bottom—giving him tips on how to handle money and on how to deal with people. Bates was an eclectic intellect. As a University of Virginia (UVA) undergraduate, he had enjoyed reading Shakespeare and Faulkner in his literature classes as much as the spreadsheets he studied as a business major at the McIntire School of Commerce.

Once he arrived at Darden, one of his goals was to meet a variety of classmates and build the kind of strong network he had heard was the hallmark of the Darden experience. He had been pretty successful at it in many ways. He had met three fellow 'Hoos—two of whom he had met four years earlier, when he was in his fourth year at UVA. He also met two fraternity brothers from other colleges and felt a certain comfort that there would be some guys with whom he felt an automatic bond. Finally, he was most pleased with the classmates he met who shared his career interest in investment banking (I-banking). He definitely wanted to share experiences and notes. Bates felt pretty good about these aspects of his networking. But he wanted to do better in a couple of other instances.

. . .

Keywords: organizational behavior, leadership, teams, diversity and inclusion, leveraging difference, interpersonal behavior, difficult conversations, diversity

Suggested Citation

Davidson, Martin N. and Thomas-Hunt, Melissa C., Opening Week at Darden. Darden Case No. UVA-OB-1296. Available at SSRN:

Martin N. Davidson (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4483 (Phone)
434-243-5020 (Fax)


Melissa C. Thomas-Hunt

Airbnb ( email )

888 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94103
United States

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