Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Betsy Brandon, University of Virginia (Darden)

Betsy Brandon

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

“I’m compassionate, intentional, genuine, curious, and persistent, and a lover of sunsets, donuts, and Jesus.”

Hometown: Littleton, Colorado

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have 40 first cousins!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Virginia, Double Major in Speech Communication Disorders and Spanish

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Darden School of Business, Future Year Scholars Dean’s Fellow

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? The case method puts students in a unique learning environment every single day. It requires students to be more than just passive learners – it encourages thoughtful contributions and demands active participation. Students get repetitive practice thinking critically, grappling with uncertainty, communicating clearly, and listening thoughtfully. These are some of the key skills that make effective leaders.

Aside from cases and classmates, what was the key part of Virginia Darden’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Charlottesville and UVA hold a very special place in my heart. It was easy for me to come back here because of the special community and memories I had from undergraduate studies. I also knew that Darden’s top educational experience and supportive community would best fit my professional goals, help me continue to grow as a human, and push me out of my comfort zone. I never considered another business school. It was always going to be Darden!

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Virginia Darden? I’m pretty excited about the soccer club. Many of the students at Darden, especially international students, share my love of soccer (football), and I’m excited to bond with classmates over this passion.

What has been your first impression of the Darden MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Darden story so far. My first impression of Darden students and alumni has been very positive because they are all very kind and supportive. I just finished Darden Before Darden (DBD), the prep program that Darden offers students, and I absolutely loved my DBD Learning Team – shoutout to Burgess, Amelie, Richie, Ivan, and Cam! They are such genuine, intelligent, and fun people. Richie and his wife hosted us in their home for homemade milkshakes this week, and it was a blast spending time with Learning Team members and their families.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I played soccer professionally for a club in Budapest called FTC, and my team won both the Hungarian League and Cup titles in our 2020-2021 season. I will never forget the moment I scored in our Cup final – that was such a happy moment. You could see my beaming smile after the goal, and I was quickly embraced by my teammates. I still have the video of it on my phone, and sometimes I watch it when I need a smile. I remember rolling around in the confetti after we won, cheering and dancing with teammates in the locker room, and taking photos with the trophy. I will always hold that season and those teammates close to my heart because it was the happiest and freest I’ve ever felt playing soccer. It was a blessing to fulfill a lifelong dream in another country alongside incredible people and to close out 20 years of soccer on such a positive note.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)? Ultimately, I would like to return to Colorado to be close to my family. Therefore, I plan to explore various career options in Colorado, but the General Management and Leadership Development Programs are at the top of my list right now. I am pursuing the joint MBA/M.Ed degree right now to explore the intersection between business and education. My long-term career goal would be to positively impact and improve the American K-12 public education system.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Virginia Darden’s MBA program? I can think of two pieces of advice:

1) Know why you’re applying to Darden and how it differs from other MBA programs. Communicating this message effectively is not only helpful for you, but it also shows the admissions team why you’d be a good addition to the community.

2) Darden isn’t looking for one specific type of person, work experience, professional expertise, GPA, or test score. The Admissions team values you as a whole person, and they view your application holistically. So don’t overthink it. Put in thought and effort, yes, but also remember to be yourself and lean into what makes you special. You’re better than you know!

DON’T MISS: MEET VIRGINIA DARDEN’S MBA CLASS OF 2025

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