Darden Center for Global Initiatives (DCGI)

DCGI - Asia Initiative

Asia Initiative

Bridging East and West

“The Asia Initiative reflects the continued strategic importance of further investment in globalization at Darden and in connecting to a critical region of the world and a dynamic and rapidly changing business environment.”

-Robert F. Bruner, University Professor, Distinguished Professor of Business Administration and Dean Emeritus of the Darden School of Business


Through thought leadership, educational experiences and engagement with business practice, the Asia Initiative will provide a leading forum and a hub of global activities to bridge East to West, shaping thinking and education regarding Asia and its relationship to the rest of the world.


The Asia Initiative strengthens Darden's connections to and knowledge of this critical and dynamic region of the world through frontier research, education experiences, and the exchange of ideas on business practices in pursuit of Darden's mission of developing responsible leaders, advancing knowledge and improving the world. The Initiative will provide a hub of global activities that can help shape thinking and education regarding major business issues in Asia and the world in pursuit of the following objectives:

  • Advance understanding of the dynamics of Asian markets and business practices as a critical component of business education and thought leadership
  • Enhance the existing level of expertise and resources at Darden by integrating and energizing Darden’s efforts in the region
  • Organize activities to enhance the educational experience at Darden on Asia, leverage synergies across related disciplines and research projects, and facilitate partnerships and collaboration
  • Improve the communication of faculty, students and alumni with business leaders and policy makers in Asia
  • Complement the work of Darden’s existing centers of excellence, expanding the boundaries of frontier research and education by bridging the East to the West

Asia Initiative Affiliated Faculty

Dennis Yang

Dennis Yang

Dale S. Coenen Free Enterprise Professor of Business Administration

Frank Warnock

Frank Warnock

James C. Wheat, Jr. Professor of Business Administration

Ming-Jer Chen

Ming-Jer Chen

Leslie E. Grayson Professor of Business Administration

Rajkumar Venkatesan

Rajkumar Venkatesan

Ronald Trzcinski Professor of Business Administration

Saras Sarasvathy

Saras Sarasvathy

Paul M. Hammaker Professor in Business Administration Jamuna Raghavan Chair Professor in Entrepreneurship, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

Sankaran Venkataraman 

Sankaran Venkataraman 

MasterCard Professor of Business Administration Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research

Veronica Warnock

Senior Lecturer Batten Institute Fellow

  • Background


    Asia is increasingly important in global economies and business. By 2030, Asia’s economy will be larger than that of the US and EU combined.  Asia is not only economically powerful, but it is diverse and fast-changing. Some Asian countries have sophisticated financial markets and are centers for technological innovation, while others are largely agricultural. Asia’s economic strength and growing prosperity are global forces, and several of Asia’s industrial economies have embarked on the difficult process of transforming their growth model.  The region is still home to 700 million people living in poverty and its emerging markets face the task of moving beyond low-income status and joining the ranks of advanced economies.*

    Darden currently supports diverse education and research activities in and about Asia, including supporting faculty members with expertise in global economics and business, particularly in China, India, and Southeast Asia, as well as a significant number of students from the region and a significant number of fully engaged alumni living in or doing business in the region.  Darden has hosted its Global Leadership Forum and Shanghai Investing Summit in Shanghai for the past several years and enjoys partnerships with top Asian business schools.

    The Asia Initiative at Darden is led by its Academic Director, Dennis Yang, who is also the Dale S. Coenen Free Enterprise Professor of Business Administration. 

    *Numbers and statements in this paragraph are from articles in the June 2014 Finance and Development.

  • Faculty Publications & Honors


    Recent Faculty Publications and Presentations

    • In fall 2020, Dennis Yang, Jiming Ha, Gerry Yemen, and Aldo Sesia wrote a case called China Supply Chain and COVID-19.
    • Ming-Jer Chen’s book series was published (in Chinese) by China Machine Press (Beijing). Book I: “Passing the Baton: Becoming a Renaissance Management Scholar.” Book II “Competitive Dynamics: Competitive Advantage in the Post-Porter Era.” and Book III “Ambiculturalism: Strategic Middle-Way Thinking for the Modern World.”
    • Ming- Jer Chen presented "Demystify Case Teaching" at the Case Teaching Workship (virtual) at the Chinese Management Scholars Workshop and he presented "Passing the Baton: Becoming a Renaissance Management Scholar" at Beijing Normal University (virtual) at the Beijing Normal University in November. 
    • In February 2019, Darden faculty Raj Venkatesan and Dennis Yang led corporate leaders in a discussion of "Understanding the Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence: Perspectives from India and China" at the Global Innovators' Roundtable in Bangalore, India. 
    • Manel Baucells presented “Range and Sign Dependent Utility for Risk and Tim,e, joint work with Krzysztof Kontek and Michal Lewandowski, at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona and at CEIBS in Shanghai, China in March 2018.
    • Frank Warnock presented "Benchmarking International Portfolio Flows” (joint work with Veronica Cacdac Warnock and John Burger) at George Washington University in Washington DC and at the Bank Negara Malaysia-IMF Conference “Globalization in the Aftermath of the Crisis” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
    • Roger Silvers presented “The influence of cross-border cooperation on equity market liquidity” at Singapore Management University’s annual accounting symposium; at the working groups of the International Organization of Securities Commissions: the Screening Group and Committee 4 on enforcement and exchange of information, and at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
    • Dennis Yang presented the paper “Unbundling the Smile Curve: Task Specialization in the Global Economy” (jointly with S. Li) at an invited conference at CEIBS in Shanghai.

    Faculty Honors and Associations

    • In spring 2020, Ming-Jer Chen was named Honorary Editor-in-Chief of Asian Case Research Journal.
    • Ming-Jer Chen hosted the 11th Annual Competitive Dynamics International Conferences (virtual), with the theme of "New Global Business Reality: Perspective and Paths" in December 2020. 
    • Ting Xu’s paper “Individualism During Crises”, with Bo Bian, Jingjing Li, and Natasha Z. Foutz was featured at UVA Today on 6 July 2020 and a pre-print was published in CEPR Covid Economics 48 in September 2020.
    • In 2015, Dennis Yang earned the Gregory Chow Best Paper Award through the Chinese Economists Society. 
    • In 2014, Pedro Matos earned the Best Paper Award from the China International Conference in Finance. 
    • In 2013, Dennis Yang was elected by China’s Ministry of Education to receive the Chang Jiang Professorship.
    • Frank Warnock is currently associated with the Asian Development Bank and the Bank of International Settlements for the Hong Kong office.
    • Ming Jer-Chen is associated with Tsinghua and Fudan Universities in China and the National Chengehi University in Taiwan.
    • Saras Sarasvathy is associated with the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.
  • Activities & Engagement


    Engagement Statistics

    • More than half of all Darden's current international students hold Asian citizenships (Class of 2021: 61%).
    • In 2019, the Center for Global Initiatives hosted 25 students from Asia who came to Darden to participate in an International Partner School Program. 
    • In the 2018-2019, 112 Residential MBA students and 126 Executive MBA students participated in a global academic program in Asia.  

    Asia and the Global Economy Conference

    The Asia Initiative, in partnership with the UVA Economics Department, hosted an academic conference on Asia and the Global Economy at the Darden School on 22 April 2016. The program organizers included Peter Debaere (Associate Professor of Business Administration at Darden), James Harrigan (Professor of Economics at UVA), John McLaren (Professor of Economics at UVA), Frank Warnock (Professor of Business Administration at Darden) and Dennis Yang (Professor of Business Administration at Darden).

    The theme of this conference was “Asia and the Global Economy,” broadly defined to include growth, trade and capital flows that affect or are affected by Asia. Topics included:

    • The structure of global production and trade

    • Outsourcing, trade, economic development and growth

    • International capital flows, financial development and financial stability

    • FDI and its effects on income distribution and poverty

    • The environmental consequences of economic expansion and trade

    • Recent changes in trade policy (TPP)

    • Interactions between trade, human rights and democracy

    • Income distribution, labor and capital markets in Asia

    • Monetary policy, institutions and economic growth in Asia

    Family Business Going Global: Connecting Research to Practice

    The Family Business Forum, organized by the Asia Initiative at Darden, brought leading scholars and influential family-business owners together for an in-depth discussion of current challenges and opportunities for family businesses. This forum leveraged the expertise of panelists and keynotes from China, Hong Kong, other Asian economies and the U.S. to share perspectives on how family businesses can succeed in increasingly global markets. Speakers and panelists included Joseph P.H. Fan, Professor and Co-Director of the Institute of Economics and Finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong,  Xi Feng, Senior Vice President of Horizon Research & Consultancy Group and President of Horizon Institute of Global Development Power, and Weiwei Feng, General Manager of Ningbo Hualian Electronic Science & Technology Co. and Executive Director of Cixi Returned Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs Association. The event was made possible through generous support from CEIBS Centre for Family Heritage, The Chinese University of Hong Kong's Institute of Economics and Finance, Horizon Institute of Global Development Power, and the Pudong Institute of Finance. Read more about the event and some of its key takeaways.

    Shanghai Investing Summit

    In one of Asia's most dynamic cities, the 2018 CEIBS Private Wealth Investment Forum— hosted by the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and CEIBS — drew upon today's leading thinkers and business minds from around the globe to examine the latest trends and opportunities in cross-border investing and provide actionable investment strategies.  

    Darden Student Organizations

    Darden’s student organizations are exclusively student-run and work together to provide a well-rounded student experience.  They complement academic work by providing social, cultural, and professional enrichment. Darden currently has three clubs that focus on or often engage with Asia:

    Read this piece by Sojeong Choi (MBA ’15) about why celebrating the Lunar New Year matters to her at Darden and then view photos of the celebration in 2015. Watch this Darden Community Celebration of the Lunar New Year in 2014. The Lunar New Year celebrations are organized by Darden's Asia Business Club. Here are some photos from the 2018 celebration too!

    Student Courses and Engagements in Asia

    Full-Time MBA

    • China Darden Worldwide Course
    • Singapore and Sri Lanka Darden Worldwide Course
    • Global Consulting Projects in Asia
      - Indonesia
      - China
      - Hong Kong
      - Philippines
      - Kazakhstan
    • Exchange

    Executive MBA Formats

    Partner Institutions in Asia

    We currently have nine partner institutions located in six different Asian countries:

    Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) in Ahmedabad, India

    Peking University Guanghua School of Management in Beijing, China

    Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) in Beijing, China

    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in Hong Kong

    Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad, India

    China European International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, China

    Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Management and Commerce in Tokyo, Japan

get involved

Engage With Darden's Asia Initiative