Viewpoint 18 | Developing Leaders Issue 23: 2016 Reflecting on customising solutions Beardsley notes that while consultants typically are often sectoral specialists “academics do not particularly have to be sector specialists….”; the over-riding requirement is that the providing institution, be that a business school or consultancy, has to be able to understand the need the client is trying to solve – and critically this may require the provider to create customised solutions, and within that, customised case materials that reflect the issues of a specific sector. Beardsley sees that providers today have to be flexible with this, and able to include content already in use in client organizations, bringing that into their solutions. “That is what I think customisation is all about; working with your client to develop a set of materials that resonate with them,” he observes, with the clear implication that this is something Darden is leading at. Darden is the business school of the prestigious University of Virginia, located at Charlottesville, Virginia some one hundred miles (160kms) south-west of Washington DC. Sometimes referred to as Mr Jefferson’s University, in honour of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the USA, principal author of the Declaration of Independence and a co-founder of the University in 1819. The beautiful campus is famous for its Jeffersonian architecture – and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Darden School of Business is much more recent, founded in 1955, but still carries the aura and history of its parent. So Beardsley has some serious history to manage and reputation to foster.