2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Corinne Bishop, University of Virginia (Darden)

Corinne Bishop

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

Age: 30

I am inspired by teachers, motivated by new challenges, and frequently dancing.”

Hometown: Alexandria, VA

Family Members: My husband and my 17 pound rescue dog, Canyon.

Fun fact about yourself: During undergrad, I studied abroad in southern Madagascar.

Undergraduate School and Degree: George Washington University, Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Environmental Studies

Where are you currently working? Regional Director, Instructure

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Darden EMBA Class of 2021 Community Representative, Network of Executive Women Member

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was winning the Concept Competition at UVA’s E-Cup for pitching my venture idea, Cred ID, a virtual wallet providing individuals with free, instant, and verified access to their qualifying skills and credentials.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Being a middle school teacher. Teachers are heroes.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Gregory Fairchild – I took his “Entrepreneurial Thinking” and “Business Ethics Through Literature” classes. In both of these classes, Greg pushed us to create and share new ideas. I think creativity is so important for business leaders, and he cultivates that in students.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? Location was key for me since Darden’s EMBA program is located in the DC metro area. However, I solidified my decision to attend when I visited a class and got to see the case method teaching style in action. It is so interactive and dynamic – I knew I wanted to learn in that way.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? I learned how important it is to truly understand your own strengths and weaknesses and to build teams around that. When bringing together a group of people at work, I find myself seeking out others who have different skills and perspectives than me to solve problems and challenges. This leads to much better results than bringing together like-minded people.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Early in the program (prior to the pandemic), I was traveling for work ~30% of the time. I swapped driving to and from meetings for taking Amtrak so I could tune into our virtual evening weekday classes from the train, and I set a rigorous rule for myself: anytime I was on an airplane, I had to be a reading a case for class. This ensured that when I came home from a trip, I was ready for our weekend classes.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Understand your ‘why’ for getting an MBA. It is a huge commitment and you will find yourself juggling a lot at once. Knowing why you are doing it will help you stay grounded.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? I had the impression that doing a master’s program later in life would be a more independent experience, and that you wouldn’t build as many close relationships as you do in undergraduate school. I was totally wrong about that. I could not have made it through the program without the support of my classmates, and I am honored to call them close friends.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I can’t believe I am saying this, but I regret not overloading my class schedule. Darden gave us awesome opportunities to take a variety of electives and I wish I had taken more of them! I will miss being in the classroom (even virtually!)

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are so many, but Claritza Jimenez comes to mind right away. Claritza also competed in and won the UVA E-Cup for incolorstock.com, a content platform that makes it easy to find and purchase high-quality photo and video footage depicting Black and other people of color in the U.S. She launched incolorstock in our 2nd year of the program while also working full-time at Politico and of course managing a full course load. Additionally, she is an incredibly supportive friend who is always willing to chat through ideas and give meaningful advice.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I wanted to be immersed in the case method with my classmates, and I also wanted to walk away with a degree from a top business school like Darden.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I hope to be a founding executive of an innovative education technology startup.

What made Corinne such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“I had the opportunity to teach Corrine in courses that seem different – entrepreneurship and fiction literature. It turns out that both courses engage in ways we think about building future states that haven’t yet been realized and using storytelling to engage others.

Corrine has an almost innate ability to empathetically listen to others, collect their thoughts — even if unstated — and recommend solutions. I have no doubt that this skill has been latent in her for some time. I surmise it is a capability she developed further as an educator.

It’s often skills like storytelling and empathy are brought up as key advantages. Corrine’s example tells us that we should attend a bit more to those.”

Darden Professor Greg Fairchild

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