South Carolina’s Darla Moore School Marks Half A Century Of Excellence In International Business

The Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina celebrates its 50th anniversary of international business in 2024. Applicants to the Moore School’s International MBA are celebrating, too, because to mark the occasion the school is offering major financial incentives.

“This year, we have instituted multiple scholarships that — for top candidates — award up to 100% of tuition,” says Abhijit Guha, academic director of MBA programs at the Darla Moore School. “Not only does this celebrate the 50th anniversary of the IMBA, but it also reflects our commitment to improving access to the IMBA.” 

Rohit Verma, dean of the Darla Moore School of Business: “Almost every week we welcome guests from around the world. These interactions enrich learning experiences for our students, providing them ongoing opportunities for experiential growth.”

Access to the Moore School’s IMBA — ranked No. 1 in international business by U.S. News for 10 straight years, and in the nation’s top three for more than three decades — has launched the careers of countless executives at major companies like Accenture, Walmart, Allegiant Airlines, Johnson & Johnson, and many others since the IMBA program’s founding in 1974. “Our top programs have continued to thrive over the past 50 years and have built on its earlier success with a continually growing list of global partners and graduates who work on multiple continents,” says Rohit Verma, dean of the Moore School. 

How has the International MBA been so consistently successful? From the start, the school has been ahead of the curve.

“Our faculty members foresaw the business world’s trajectory 50 years ago, anticipating the rise of multinational corporations and interconnected supply chains,” says Verma. 

Verma also credits an inclusive approach and welcoming spirit toward students from diverse backgrounds. The Moore School’s commitment to diversity of experience is evident from the moment one sets foot on campus to be greeted by 80 flags proudly representing the backgrounds of students and faculty.

Verma commends the school’s more than 180 top-notch faculty, saying the program wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without them. He also credits the school’s talented students and alumni — many of whom, he notes, are making waves in the business world. 


Marc van Essen, associate dean of international programs and partnerships

The Moore School’s IMBA program has been ranked No. 1 for 10 consecutive years and has been in the top 3 for 34 consecutive years — ever since U.S. News & World Report released their first IMBA rankings.

Verma says part of the school’s winning recipe is a multidisciplinary approach to learning.

“Our curriculum also builds on the interdependence of international business with finance, supply chain management, marketing and human resources,” he says. “We build on the strength of our school, and international business is our longstanding strength — along with a few others like global supply chain and a very strong program in human resources.” 

Over 50 years, partnerships and relationships have become a key ingredient in the recipe for success in strengthening the international connections at Darla Moore. 

“An invaluable indirect advantage lies in the diverse array of visitors we receive, fostering global connections,” says Verma, who recently returned from a trip to visit partner schools in Asia. “Almost every week we welcome guests from around the world. These interactions enrich learning experiences for our students, providing them ongoing opportunities for experiential growth.”


Abhijit Guha, Moore School academic director of MBA programs

At Darla Moore, research centers are an active ingredient in their success.

“We have 12 active research centers, and they work with both local and international companies on educational and scholarly projects,” Verma says. In Columbia, South Carolina, where the school is located, many avenues for growth surround the school, particularly in the service and manufacturing sectors. The Moore School is mixing in new programs to build and enhance these strengths.

“This area is a hub for multinational companies — importers of many businesses, lots of economic prosperity,” says Satish Jayachandran, associate dean of graduate programs. 

“BMW has made South Carolina home, Volvo Motors also, Boeing, Michelin, the Samsung production hub. Students are getting opportunities to interact and connect with them. A lot of people settle on the eastern coast, the western area has beautiful mountains. We build on this, we have academic strength and area strength.”

Another highlight of the program is the opportunity to fully immerse in another culture. “Our students have the option of learning multiple languages and going abroad to a country,” Jayachandran says. “This opportunity gives them an insight to the culture and the language — a distinct part of the program.”

Jayachandran commends highly successful alumni like Sali Christeson, founder of clothing company Argent, and Wendy Thomas, CEO at SecureWorks, a cybersecurity firm.


Satish Jayachandran, associate dean of graduate programs

“Over time, the Sonoco International Business Department at the Moore School has developed into a hub of world-class, multi-disciplinary knowledge,” says Marc van Essen, associate dean of international business and one of three professors — along with João Albino-Pimentel and Beth L. Renninger — named to Poets&Quants50 Best Undergraduate Business Professors Of 2023

Van Essen teaches Comparative Corporate Governance for IMBA students. “I enjoy challenging students, especially their assumptions, to help them better understand how to manage a multinational company, deal with different stakeholders and how this differs globally depending on the context,” he says. “It is a privilege to observe students develop into intellectuals who can think critically, reason and understand complex ideas while studying at the Moore School.” 

Another successful aspect of international business at Darla Moore is their Cohort IB program, where students can study at multiple top schools. While abroad, they’ll learn the ins and outs of international business at one of the school’s 80 plus partner schools and gain global insights, language skills, and a professional network. 

“We aren’t just preparing students for their first job after the IMBA; we’re preparing them for an overall successful career,” says van Essen. 

“The global classrooms and IMBA immersions provide interactions with a variety of companies, industries and people that broaden your horizon and introduce you to a different way of thinking. These immersions are a great way to really experience and understand the people, their traditions and their culture. Even if you plan to be employed in the U.S., the foreign experience gained by study abroad is deeply valued by companies,” he says.

Darla Moore partners with some of the top schools around the world, learning about pressing topics such as sustainability, corruption, inequality, corporate governance issues in a global context. 

“We are preparing them for global disruption and teaching them how to lead effectively through it,” states van Essen. 

With a legacy of producing accomplished graduates and fostering international success, Darla Moore continues to lead in providing world-class education and preparing future global business leaders.

Darla Moore IMBA students

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.