Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Jade Kimpson, University of Virginia (Darden)

Jade Kimpson

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

“I’m an artist working as an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry since 2016.”

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Fun Fact About Yourself: I taught myself to sew my own clothes from watching YouTube videos during the pandemic.

Undergraduate School and Major: Spelman College, Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer/Manager, Inhale Detroit

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? The case method gives us a unique chance to connect with our classmates and learn from their diverse experiences and viewpoints. I think it mirrors real-world problem-solving more authentically. Through discussions that are thought-provoking, collaborative, occasionally adversarial, and consistently fulfilling, we ultimately receive a richer learning experience.

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? Darden’s professors are a different breed. They really live and breathe what they do. They want us to learn and succeed. I signed up to learn from the passionate ones, and Darden delivered. Learning from people who love what they do? That’s what it’s all about.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Virginia Darden? I love “Darden Stories” and was introduced to the club during orientation week. It’s all about bringing the Darden community together to share and hear personal tales. No strict plans, no fees—just a chance to connect on a real level. It’s about tuning in to each other, embracing our shared humanity, and swapping stories about the stuff, people, and places that made us who we are.

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. The honesty and directness of people at Darden really struck me. Even when I’m talking to someone new, their answers feel genuine. It’s refreshing. In my chats with current students and alumni, I’ve admired how they openly shared both the things they enjoyed and the things they didn’t in the program. This authenticity is something special and makes me excited to join a community that values it.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I co-founded a medical cannabis business with my brother in 2016. Emerging as the underdog from a pool of over 240+ applicants, we secured one of the 75 medical marijuana business licenses in the city of Detroit. This was a rigorous and competitive process that demanded not only community support and endorsement, but also strategic lobbying efforts.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)?  I founded Inhale Detroit cannabis dispensary in 2016 with dreams of growing from a single store, to a manufacturing company with multiple storefronts. My mission is simple –legal, safe and affordable cannabis. With a deeper business knowledge, I’ll be equipped to expand our team and become a thought leader in the industry.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Virginia Darden’s MBA program? To get into Darden, you’ve got to show that it’s a perfect fit and can help you reach your goals, both short-term and long-term. To show this, you truly need to believe it yourself! If possible, check out the campus in person. For me, just being there – talking to Dean Beardsley, students, and teachers – confirmed Darden was the place for me.

Darden is not like other programs—it’s not for everyone. Do your homework on the school and program. Explain how Darden will make your goals happen. It’s also really important Tell your own story, what makes you special. I’d say these two things are the keys to nailing your application.

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

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