Career Journeys

Career Journeys - Finance

Career Path: Finance

Darden’s curriculum inspires students pursuing finance careers to transform ideas into action — even amid unprecedented, uncertain economic markets. Through the School’s core curriculum and breadth of opportunities in the finance sector, students learn the technical and strategic skills demanded by the world’s top financial institutions and boutique banks alike. For students interested in finance career paths, from asset management to fintech, the top-ranked Darden MBA experience is uniquely valuable and transformative.

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The Darden MBA Powers Stellar Career Outcomes in Finance

Darden’s Class of 2020 began their post-MBA careers at the world’s top finance companies and earned record starting salaries for the third consecutive year.

of graduates entered careers in finance
median base salary
median bonus
of finance graduates entered financial services roles
of finance graduates entered investment management roles
of finance graduates entered venture capital/private equity roles

Global Finance Leaders Recognize the Value of the Darden MBA

Top Hiring Companies

Darden Finance Alumni Are Transformed in Charlottesville, Ready to Lead Anywhere

Locations For Finance Graduates

Atlanta, Georgia
Baltimore, Maryland
Boston, Massachusetts
Charlotte, North Carolina
Fort Worth, Texas

New York City
Malvern, Pennsylvania
Richmond, Virginia
Vancouver, Washington
Washington, D.C.

Students in the library

Darden Alumni Make an Impact in Variety of Finance Roles

Top Job Titles

  • Associate 
  • Business Manager
  • Senior Associate
  • Business Analysis Manager
  • Private Wealth Advisor


Meet Your Finance Career Team

Casey Floyd

Casey Floyd

Director of Employer Engagement and Recruiting, Generalist Career Coach

Paul Reeder

Paul Reeder

Senior Director of Financial Services Careers

Ed Yu

Ed Yu

Senior Director of Investment Banking Careers


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Navigate Darden Electives and Coursework That Deliver Skills For Success in Finance 

In your First Year, you’ll gain an invaluable foundation in fundamental business concepts as you build lasting connections with your learning team and section.

Here, we help you navigate what comes next. After the First Year core curriculum, Darden students begin to tailor their experience by selecting from over 100 electives. Students interested in a finance career may find particular benefit from the courses listed below or via the elective guide below.

Career Elective Guide.

Career Elective Guides

  • Financial Analysis


    Strong analytical skills dominate for the first five years of a corporate finance professional’s career, and there is heavy emphasis on functional knowledge. Technical expertise in corporate financing and the ability to resolve complicated financial challenges are critical.

    Recommended Courses for Functional Knowledge of Finance and Accounting

    These courses establish the foundations for evaluating the economic impacts of decisions.

    Course Number Course Title
    8423 Corporate Financial Policies (Q1)
    8190 Taxation and Management Decisions (Q1)
    8171 International Corporate Finance (Q2)
    8470 Corporate Financing (Q3)


    Recommended Courses for Understanding Sources and Markets for Financing

    These courses examine financial markets that are relevant to the financing needs and decisions from the issuer’s point of view.

    Course Number Course Title
    8490 Financial Institutions and Markets (Q3)
    8410 Financial Statement Analysis (Q3)
    8625 Mergers and Acquisitions (Q3)
    8173 Global Capital Markets (Q4)
    8160 Taxation and Mergers and Acquisitions (Q4)


    Specialty Topics

    Select from these courses depending on the needs of specific job positions or industries.

    Course Number Course Title
    8426 Derivative Securities: Options & Futures (Q1)
    8290 Venture Capital (Q1)
    8395 Communicating Financial and Sustainability Performance (Q2)
    8453 Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity (Q1, Q2)
    8639 Corporate Financial Restructuring (Q4)
  • Problem Solving


    Are you drawn to solving complex problems in new and innovative ways? You’ll apply intellectual curiosity and superior research skills to address a company’s biggest challenges. The need for strategic thinking grows as one progresses to the role of Chief Financial Officer.

    Strategy and Planning Focused Courses

    These courses examine the broad strategic factors that need to be addressed, the governance structures that drive decision making, and issues related to communicating performance.

    Course Number Course Title
    8830 Supply Chain Management (FY-Q4)
    8310 Competitive Dynamics (Q1)
    8465 Management Planning and Control (Q1)
    8014 Strategic Thinking (Q2)
    8621 Project Management (Q2)
    8800 Operations Strategy (Q2)
    8013 Strategic Corporate Governance (Q3)
    8400 General Managers Taking Action (Q3, Q4)


    Economics Courses

    Financial managers need a keen understanding of global markets, including the drivers of economic policy and economic conditions. Any courses offered by the GEM area will be useful—tailor your selection to your particular interests and/or the field you will be entering.

  • Leadership


    In order to develop and build exceptional teams of senior financial analysts and corporate finance managers, garner trust with cross-functional teams, and create lasting change inside an organization, you will need to draw on exceptional leadership skills. Below is a list of particularly well suited courses in leadership.

    Course Number Course Title
    8619 Leading Teams (FY-Q4)
    7619 Paths to Power (FY-Q4)
    8706 Leadership, Diversity and Leveraging Difference (Q4)
    8274 Leadership When it Really Counts (Q4)
  • Teamwork and Persuasion


    Corporate finance roles offer an excellent opportunity to build relationships, network and partner with a variety of individuals to achieve a shared vision and outstanding results. Chief Financial Officers must communicate the company’s priorities throughout the organization and communicate proactively with the board of directors and investors.

    Course Number Course Title
    7605 Strategic Communication (FY-Q4)
    8620 Brand Management: Creating, Testing, and Analyzing New Brand Strategies (Q3)
    8320 Leadership Communication During Times of Disruptions and Transformation (Q3)

Finance Concentrations

  • Asset Management, Sales and Trading Concentration

    While the elective curriculum focuses on a student's specific area of interest, concentrations offer additional guidance and structure to specializations. They also provide a stronger signal to recruiters of a student's focus. All students receive the same MBA degree, and concentrations are not noted on a student's transcript nor diploma, though they may be added to a student's resume. Upon graduation and successful completion of a concentration, the student receives a letter from Darden acknowledging that they have met the requirements for the concentration.


    Asset Management, Sales and Trading Concentration

    This concentration is designed to extend the valuation principles learned in the first year curriculum to solve complex problems faced by asset managers and sales and trading professionals. The courses expose students to a variety of different financial markets and give students a deeper understanding for how companies are valued, which are critical components for either managing a client’s funds or executing security trades. 

    Faculty contact: Marc Lipson


    Concentration Requirements

    A student will be recognized as having this concentration when they have completed 7.5 credit hours from the courses listed below.

    Note: Not all courses may be offered in a given year.


    Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
    7602 Global Financial Markets  1.5
    7603 Valuation in Financial Markets 1.5
    8059 Foundations and Applications of FinTech 1.5
    8172 Financial Crises and Civic Reaction 3
    8173 Global Capital Markets 15
    8410 Financial Statement Analysis 1.5
    8426 Derivative Securities: Options & Futures  1.5
    8444 Investments  1.5
    8445 Quantitative Portfolio Management 1.5
    8490 Financial Institutions and Markets   1.5
    8497 Impact & ESG Investing  1.5
    8623 Financial Trading 1.5
     8520IA  Darden Capital Management I (enrollment contingent upon enrollment in Part II) 1.5
    8520IAA Darden Capital Management Part II (enrollment contingent upon enrollment in Part I) 3
    8500MM Applied Security Analysis 1.5
    8759 The Economics of Money and Banking 1.5
  • Corporate Finance and Investment Banking Concentration

    Corporate Finance and Investment Banking

    This concentration is designed to extend the valuation and value creation principles learned in the First Year curriculum to the solving of complex problems faced by companies and investment banks. This concentration should be of interest to students with professional interests in corporate finance (including CFO type responsibilities, internal M&A groups, strategic planning, business development, and treasury and cash management), investment banking (capital raising, deal structuring, and M&A advisory), commercial banking and financial services, consulting in financial services and a wide range of other management positions that require advanced understanding of finance.

    Faculty Contact: Marc Lipson


    Concentration Requirements

    A student will be recognized as having this concentration when they have completed 7.5 credit hours from the courses listed below.

    Note: Not all courses may be offered in a given year.


    Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
    7601 Financial Reporting   1.5
    7603 Valuation in Financial Markets   1.5
    8106 Acquisition of Closely-Held Enterprises  1.5
    8160 Taxation of Mergers and Acquisitions 1.5
    8171 International Corporate Finance 1.5
    8172 Financial Crises and Civic Reaction 3
    8190 Taxation and Management Decisions   1.5
    8410 Financial Statement Analysis   1.5
    8423 Corporate Financial Policies   1.5
    8426 Derivative Securities: Options & Futures  1.5
    8453 Entrepreneurial Finance & Private Equity   1.5
    8465 Management Planning and Control Systems 1.5
    8470 Corporate Financing  1.5
    8490 Financial Institutions and Markets  1.5
    8625 Mergers and Acquisitions   1.5
    8639 Corporate Financial Restructuring 1.5


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Outside of the Classroom, Finance Opportunities That Spark Inspiration and Hone Professional Purpose

Darden’s best-in-class Career Center and wide array of student organizations and centers provide you the opportunity to learn about yourself and learn from others as you pursue your purpose.

  • Career Preparation

    Through Darden’s Career Center and Alumni Career Services, you’ll gain career guidance from the moment you enroll and for wherever your career takes you after graduation. Here’s what you can expect:

    • Darden-facilitated opportunities for networking, meeting alumni and industry leaders, and interviewing
    • Access to advanced analytics and data to craft recruiting marketing materials such as resume, LinkedIn and more
    • Training the Street
    • Corporate Finance 101
    • Asset management job trek
    • Resume and cover letter reviews
    • Industry- and employer-specific database for interview prep and salary research
    • Case interview prep
    • Mock interviews
    • Employer case competitions
    • Negotiation skill-building
    • Executives-in-Residence Program
  • Centers and Initiatives

    Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management

    The Mayo Center for Asset Management advances the study and practice of asset management through research, education and career development by delivering world-class research, educational programs and activities, awards, and support for student clubs and Darden Capital Management.

  • Career Clubs and Activities

    Darden Capital Management

    Darden Capital Management, sponsored by the Richard A. Mayo Center for Asset Management, consists of 24 second-year students chosen to manage five investment portfolios for the Darden School Foundation.

    Darden Executive Fund

    The Darden Executive Fund is an independent study providing Executive MBA students hands-on experience researching, pitching, and directly managing a portfolio of active investments in publicly traded assets.

    Finance Club

    The Finance Club is a student-run organization whose primary goal is to effectively support students who are pursuing careers in finance.

    FinTech Club

    Darden's FinTech Club educates students on technologies and innovations impacting financial services. It supports members pursuing careers in the FinTech industry or in industries influenced by FinTech.

    Private Equity Club

    The mission of the Darden Private Equity Club is to build and develop a network of student and alumni professionals with a common interest in private equity investing, ranging from angel stage and venture capital to leveraged buyouts and turnaround situations.

  • Conferences and Events

    Academic and Practioner Symposium on Mutual Funds and ETFs

    Hosted by Darden and the Investment Company Institute, this year’s Academic and Practioner Symposium on Mutual Funds and ETFs was dedicated to exploring these areas in what promises to be a focused, high-quality program featuring leading scholars and practitioners at the intersection of these emerging topics.

    Darden Center for Global Initiatives Shanghai Investing Summit

    Darden and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) hosted the tenth CEIBS Private Wealth Investment Forum in March 2019 in Shanghai. Through a partnership with CEIBS, the conference expanded the School’s annual Shanghai Investing Summit into its sixth consecutive year.

    Finance Club Conference and Events

    The Darden Finance Club hosts a variety of events and activities throughout the year to give all students interested in a career in finance access to industry panels, workshops, and networking opportunities.

    Mayo Center for Asset Management Virtual Seminar Series

    The Mayo Center’s Virtual Seminar Series provides a venue for the continued sharing of ideas and insights of practical relevance in the field of asset management.

    University of Virginia Investing Conference

    The University of Virginia Investing Conference is held annually at Darden and investigates the lessons of the past as well as the possibilities of the future.


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Get to Know Finance Leaders From Darden Who Will Help You Along the Way and After You Graduate


Award-Winning Faculty

Recognized as the best in the world year after year, the Darden faculty teaches to the student's benefit while advancing the nature of business itself.

Scholars, innovators, disruptors, entrepreneurs, dissenters, thinkers, and, above all doers converge to create an unparalleled education experience.

Explore Darden Faculty > 


Select Finance Alumni Leaders

Here, you'll join a global network that’s over 17,000 people strong. Darden’s alumni network is united in its commitment to shared professional and personal excellence.

Kristina M. Alimard (MBA ’03)
COO, UVA Investment Management Co.

Keith F. Bachman (MBA ’89)
Managing Director, Equity Research, Bank of Montreal

Richard P. Dahling (MBA ’87)
Vice President, Fidelity Investments

Paige T. Davis Jr. (MBA ’09)
Vice President, T. Rowe Price Associates Inc.

Alex R. Picou (MBA ’89)
Managing Director, JP Morgan Private Bank

Shaojian Zhang (MBA ’99)
Operating Partner, Private Equity, CITIC Capital


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There Are Even More Opportunities to Explore

Darden students can go from here, to anywhere. Graduates begin their post-graduation careers in a wide variety of the world’s most in-demand sectors. Explore even more career journeys.