Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management

Mayo Center - Darden EMBA Fund

Darden EMBA Fund

The Darden EMBA Fund (DEF) is a team of Executive MBA (EMBA) students whose purpose is to enhance students’ learning in investment management including managing an investment portfolio as well as supporting careers in finance. DEF maintains strong contacts with students and alumni and fosters relationships across the investment industry.

DEF manages the Sabre Fund, a long-only equity fund with a focus on large-cap and mid-cap stocks. The fund’s selection of stocks is backed by rigorous fundamental analysis with an emphasis on situations that offer promising growth priced at reasonable valuations. This approach enables EMBA students the opportunity to look for great companies with competitive advantages and that trade at attractive valuations.  Additionally, the fund has a long-term focus, thereby encouraging fund members to consider the future of each investment opportunity and what businesses can thrive in a changing world. In conducting their analysis the fund managers will apply both bottom up and top down analysis. DEF believes that a strategy of owning stock in great companies for long periods of time and concentrating the portfolio holdings in the managers’ best ideas provides an opportunity to create value for DEF investors.

Darden EMBA Fund Leadership Team


Bahara Stapelberg

Bahara Stapelberg — Chief Executive Officer

Bahara is a corporate attorney, currently serving as Executive Director for SurfAid, an international NGO based in Australia. Prior to that she was In-House Counsel for Tikehau Resorts, LLC. After graduating from UCLA, she started her career in the surf industry at Rusty Surfboards and Quiksilver working in the marketing department. She then pursued her legal education and passed the California Bar. After taking several years off to raise her three children, she worked in corporate law in Orange County, California. However, her passion has always been in serving her community whether as a Board member of her children’s school (Our Lady of Malibu, St. Margarette’s Episcopal School, and Choate Rosemary Hall), as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) or her role as a member of UCI’s Well-Being Circle Board. More recently, while at Darden, in addition to serving as CEO of DEF, she is now serving her second year as lead for the Speaker’s Bureau.

Alex ArismeierAlex Arinsmier, CFP — Chief Investment Officer

Alex is the Vice President, Branch Leader of the Fidelity Investments office in Arlington, VA.  Throughout his 16 years with the firm, he has focused on building comprehensive financial plans for individual retail clients with an emphasis on asset allocation, retirement analysis, and tax-sensitive investment strategies.  Alex is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and holds multiple FINRA securities licenses and state Insurance licenses.  He is a graduate of Davidson College and holds a B.A. in Political Science and minor in Economics.


Jon DengelJon Dengel — Director of Research and Events

Jon currently serves as the Chief Operation and Information Officer for Physicians Health Plan (PHP) of Michigan. Prior to PHP and the insurance industry Jon worked in management consulting for KPMG and Accenture. In his role within DEF, he curates speakers and learning opportunities to the Executive MBA program. Jon graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Economics.


John ForbesJohn Forbes — Portfolio Manager

Engineer turned analyst with a lifelong passion for learning and continuous improvement: John received his undergraduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Aerospace Engineering before working for Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut where he designed jet engines for military programs. Upon leaving PW, John joined Evoqua Water Technologies as a process engineer on ion exchange water purification. Now John works for Capital One as a business analyst pursuing banking for good and expanding his analytical toolkit. Learning is a lifelong passion and Darden has allowed me to develop new skills and opportunities to pursue my interest in investing.


Cathy HuynCathy Huyn — Portfolio Manager

Cathy is a people and business manager in the Customer Success Unit of Microsoft Federal and a DC-, MD-, and VA-licensed REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker. Prior to that, she was a manager in the technology practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, leading large teams to support a wide range of government and commercial clients. And, prior to that, she was a published clinical researcher studying hip and knee prosthetics at the Anderson Orthopaedic Research Institute, a non-profit organization. Cathy graduated from George Mason University with dual degrees; a B.S. in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry and a B.S. in Biology Honors with minor in Information Technology.

Ashish JainAshish Jain — Portfolio Manager

Seasoned executive with over 13 years of experience in times of growth and crisis. Strategic thinker who relies on a data-driven approach and business judgment to look beyond competition, foster innovation, and execute new ideas that drive business growth—comfortable working up and across the organization, influencing stakeholders and executive leadership to drive execution.


Kevin SmithKevin Smith  — Portfolio Manager

Kevin is an associate portfolio manager at Brown Advisory. He works with the portfolio management team to manage balanced accounts for Endowment and Foundation clients. He earned his M.S. in Real Estate from Johns Hopkins University, and his BBA in Finance and Economics from Loyola University Maryland with a minor in Philosophy.


Natalie SzmydNatalie Szmyd  — Portfolio Manager

Natalie is passionate about improving lives in the Western Hemisphere by advancing democracy, security, and economic prosperity. She is currently a Senior Analyst in the Office of the President at the Inter-American Development Bank and previously served as a Director in the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Natalie has public policy experience in the executive and legislative branches of the United States Government. Prior to joining the DFC’s foreign policy team, Natalie worked at the White House, during which she served on the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere Affairs Directorate. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Miami.

View 2022 Darden EMBA Annual Report