In the heart of Silicon Valley, as a product manager at Makena Capital Management, Malcolm Stewart (Class of 2024) found himself drawn to creative pursuits alongside his work perfecting websites and editing conference footage. Stewart’s journey eventually crisscrossed academia, business, asset management and entrepreneurship before landing squarely at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
“My journey to Darden started while I was an undergrad at UVA,” reminisces Stewart. Having studied at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, he saw the promise of and was accepted to Darden’s Future Year Scholars Program. The program is not just a route to a prestigious MBA but a beacon of opportunity — allowing admitted students to work for 2-5 years before coming to Darden.
Stewart was part of a Darden social media campaign in 2022.
“Knowing that I’m going into an industry that I’m still learning a lot about, having the connections and having the family, so to speak, of the Consortium, has been helpful.”
Malcolm Stewart (Class of 2024)
Taking his passion for media and communication from the corporate confines of Makena to the entrepreneurial realm, Stewart started his own photography and filmmaking venture. “I realized in my role at Makena that I was really enjoying the time I spent behind the camera working to create content and tell stories,” he said.
However, the urge to frame stories behind the camera met a ceiling — not because of his skills, but due to the knowledge he hadn’t yet acquired. “I knew nothing about accounting; I knew nothing about how to grow a business,” Stewart admits.
This thirst for deeper knowledge and the desire to bridge the gaps he felt in the asset management world nudged him toward Darden.
The decision to return wasn’t simple. Stewart pondered over various business schools. But what clinched his return to Darden was more than its transformational learning experiences. It was a program that resonated with his aspiration to return to the world of asset management. “I did not see a lot of people that looked like me in asset management. There are not a lot of women, and there are not a lot of minorities,” he said.
The introduction to the Darden School Foundation’s Breakthrough Scholars Program was serendipitous. Rather than moving away from asset management, Stewart saw an opportunity. “I could try and be a part of what changes it so that other people in the future could see people who look like me and want to choose that career, too,” he said. This realization moved him to become part of the change, using scholarships as a tool to carve a new career pathway.
For Stewart, the Breakthrough Scholars Program and the Consortium Fellowship became not just scholarships but a robust support system, propelling his journey forward. He said, “Knowing that I’m going into an industry that I’m still learning a lot about, having the connections and having the family, so to speak, of the Consortium, has been helpful.”
Discover the far-reaching impact of Darden School Foundation scholarship programs in aligning education with career aspirations. For more on investing in scholarships, visit the Darden School Foundation Scholarships webpage or email email@example.com.