Where MBAs Write ‘Love Letters’ To Their Profs

On leadership professor Martin Davidson: “In your classrooms, I became a better thinker, gained confidence in my ability to contribute meaningfully, and grew to be a more empathetic person.”

I am honored to have been selected for the 2017 Frederick S. Morton Leadership Award. I am grateful to everyone who believed I deserved the nomination and for the many people who deserve to share the award with me. Without their influence, I would not be the person who stood on that stage receiving the award at graduation.

In particular, I am thankful to all of the professors who challenged me and taught me the many lessons they had learned through their varied careers. In your classrooms, I became a better thinker, gained confidence in my ability to contribute meaningfully, and grew to be a more empathetic person.

One professor, in particular, stands out among the many great instructors I had at Darden. This professor went above and beyond to help me accomplish my goals on several occasions. He was the first professor who stood at the head of the classroom on my first day as a Darden student and was the last professor to whom we gave a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of my time in the Darden classroom.

Martin Davison.

Martin always made time for me when I needed to pick his brain about an idea. He always welcomed me into his office for meetings that often went over their allotted time slot to brainstorm events and figure out what would result in the greatest impact for the school. If a student or group ever needed a professor to volunteer for an event, we knew we could count on Martin who would always make time out of his schedule whenever we needed it.

Beyond the personal impact Martin had on me, I want to acknowledge him for his continued efforts to challenge students to think more profoundly on issues of diversity and leadership. Any student who takes a Martin Davidson class leaves it a more responsible leader, whether or not they realize it at the time.

We all know students who took Leveraging Difference because it fulfilled the LDSP requirement and viewed LO as a break in late week. However, I know for a fact, that several of those students walked out with changed perspectives because of how Martin was able to re-frame arguments they had already written off in their minds before taking the class. Martin has a way of challenging people to evolve their stance on sticky issues. He is not confrontational. He is not accusatory. The way he poses his rebuttals is thought provoking and captures what others in the classroom may not have been able to phrase so succinctly and calmly. One day, I hope to master this skill as well as Martin has.

Martin has taught me to not be apologetic in pursing change that I think is right. He encouraged me to not be discouraged when I think that things will never change and reminded me that I have a responsibility to myself and others to invest the time and energy needed to push for the changes I want to happen.

I am grateful to have gotten to know Martin over the last two years, and I am glad to have this opportunity to communicate my thanks to him in a larger setting. Once again, thank you.

Darden MBA Angelica Febrillet

Angelica Febrillet,
Darden Class of 2017