2024 Best & Brightest MBA: Malcolm Stewart, University of Virginia (Darden)

Malcolm Stewart

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

“A self-starter with a passion and drive for improving the lives of others.”

Hometown: Midlothian, Virginia

Fun fact about yourself: I started and run my own Photography and filmmaking business (@momentsbymalc on Instagram!)

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy with a minor in Social Entrepreneurship

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Product Manager at Makena Capital Management, LLC in Menlo Park, California

Where did you intern during the summer of 2023? Global Ventures Associate at Sands Capital in Rosslyn, Virginia

Where will you be working after graduation? Associate Portfolio Manager at Brown Advisory

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

    • Executive Committee Member and Board Member for the Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy
    • Trustee for the Sky Alland Scholarship Selection Committee
    • Member of the Selection Committee for the Lem Lewis Bicentennial Award for Global Leadership
    • Portfolio Manager on Darden Capital Management Value Fund
    • Breakthrough Scholar (competitive scholarship initiative designed to foster a new generation of diverse leadership in private equity, venture capital (VC), and other areas of asset management)
    • Consortium Fellow
    • Future Year Scholar

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Having attended UVA as an undergrad, I’ve always felt an immense appreciation for this school and the community, and it was really important to me that I give back and lift others as I climb on my journey. I had the privilege of meeting and taking on several undergraduate students as mentees, and I’m most proud of the work I’ve been able to do with them in helping to provide guidance and make resources and networks available to them in ways that others had done for me years ago. Especially among my mentees from underrepresented backgrounds, they’ve frequently expressed how much it’s meant to have someone who has been in their shoes talk about how they also can set sights on business school or graduate programs that they’d been told were not for them. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see how their ambitions for what they can aspire to be and do have changed and developed.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Professionally, I’m really proud of the business I’ve grown over the past few years. I first started making films when I filmed a wedding back in 2016 using my mom’s old T3i Rebel camera. That passion project turned into a side hustle in 2020 that has grown and been a lot of fun. I’ve been able to work with some phenomenal people and been a part of the most important days for some of my favorite humans, and that has been a priceless gift I’ll continue to cherish. Ironically, I’ve also found a lot of skills from working with couples on their weddings and engagements that have been transferrable to my work in asset management. From getting to know a client, figuring out what best serves them, and ultimately providing a service that leaves them happier and better than before, it has been funny to notice the similarities in my work that way.

Why did you choose this business school? When I graduated from UVA as an undergrad, I had the privilege of getting to give our Valedictory Speech following Chris Long. At the end of that speech, I reflected to my classmates and their families: “It is impossible to deny that the University of Virginia is far from perfect, but it is equally impossible to deny that it is something special.” That something special; be it the community of Charlottesville, the faculty that walks the halls, or the deep and meaningful connections that students make while here, it’s all really what drove me back here.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite course was Negotiations. I feel like negotiating is such an essential skill, but one you rarely get to practice other than when you need to use it. Having regular opportunities to try out different negotiating tactics and learn from one another was such a worthwhile experience that I know I will carry with me and reflect on for the rest of my career.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? The one thing I would do differently is go to more of the events at other business schools across the country. I feel like I have not fully taken advantage of meeting and interacting with the other talented and exceptional MBAs at our peer institutions, even though I have friends at several of them. That’s something I plan to do a bit more of in my last months as a student.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think the biggest myth about Darden is that it is an academically rigorous MBA program. I learned quite quickly that there is a reason for that stigma. The nature of the case study method and the emphasis on participation and attendance in the classroom makes it necessary to prepare and understand the cases. However, I feel like at the end of the day it is a really special and unique learning experience, and one that I’ve benefitted immensely from.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Charlottesville, Virginia is such an incredibly unique and beautiful place. There’s an amazing wine and food scene here that most people wouldn’t expect, and it’s so close to the mountains that it’s tough to beat a place like this to attend school.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised most by how much I enjoyed the case study method. It was an immersive way to learn not only from the professors, but also from the hundreds of other students that each bring with them their backgrounds, experiences, and expertise.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are a ton of remarkable people at Darden, but I think the person I admire most is Matt Ganyard. A lot of people know Matt as “the UVA kicker” for his incredible story of making it onto the UVA football team, but my first interaction with him came before I even set foot at Darden. He graduated from UVA a few years ahead of me and he reached out on Instagram before classes even started and said “From one Double Hoo to another, I’m looking forward to running it back with you.” Funny enough, we ended up in the same section, and even sat next to each other in a couple of classes and became close friends. I remember him outlining to me how he was going to try to walk onto the team, and I was not at all surprised when he made it happen a year later. He truly is one of the kindest, most humble, and generous human beings I’ve ever had the privilege to call a friend, and he’s the type of leader, husband, father, and friend that I hope to be half as much of one day.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top two items on my professional bucket list are to increase access to the asset management industry for underrepresented groups, and to one day serve on the board of the Darden School of Business so that I can do my part in helping to continue the school’s growth and improvement.

What made Malcolm such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“Malcolm Stewart is a builder. During his time at Darden, he has built his classmates up by supporting, encouraging, and inspiring them. He has built connections and strong relationships between his classmates. Finally, he has built bridges between Darden and the broader university, mentoring undergraduate students as a graduate TA for a class on Values-Based Leadership. He stands out for excellence in the classroom as well as for his contributions to the broader Darden community.

Malcolm approaches everything he undertakes, from his coursework to his role as a graduate TA, with exceptional intellect as well as a sense of humor, thereby enriching the lives and experiences of those around him. During his MBA, his impact has extended well beyond the classroom. His commitment to doing good in the world and making a positive difference in the lives of others is evident. It is no understatement to say that he is clearly one of the people who is going to change the world. I look forward to seeing what he will accomplish.”

-Professor Gabrielle (Gabe) Adams


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