Upcoming Executive Formats Deadline – 28 November

Our next application deadline for the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA is quickly approaching on Monday, 28 November. In the below video, Brett Twitty shares some resources to help you complete your application over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Watch: Executive Format Application Resources

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Meet Darden’s EMBA & GEMBA: Sarah Rand, EMBA ’18

Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.

EMBA student Sarah Rand

EMBA student Sarah Rand

Name: Sarah Rand
City: Washington, DC
Employer: National Retail Federation
Years of Experience: 12
Format/Section: EMBA ROS

  1. What is your current job?

I’m the vice president, digital communications at the National Retail Federation. I spend my days figuring out how to use the digital tools (websites, social media, advertising, etc.) to activate our grassroots base, share research and news with retailers, promote educational opportunities, reach policymakers and tell the industry’s story.  That sounds like a lot, but at the end of the day, I’m simply helping retailers – small and large – by making sure they have the tools and information they need, as well as the support of their representatives, so they can focus on what they do best.

  1. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

I love what my organization does and why. We support an industry that supports 1 in 4 American jobs. I was looking for an opportunity to make a bigger contribution to our mission and realized an MBA would give me the skills to do that.

  1. Why did you choose Darden?

This is my second master’s degree, and I know a good professor makes all the difference. Darden’s faculty are really highly regarded. I knew that learning from them would be a challenging, fruitful and more-than-worthwhile experience.

  1. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

At this point in my life, being a residential student wasn’t an option. I have two young kids, commitments in my community and a job that I can’t quit. The executive format fits into the parts of my life that I wasn’t willing to step away from.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?

Hands down, the diversity. I expected an EMBA program in DC to be a lot of “Beltway” types tied to the government in one way or another. I was surprised to find that there are scientists, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, non-profit professionals, engineers, active military and many more in my class. Listening to their experiences has immediately broadened my perspective.

It’s also an incredibly supportive group. We are a team, not competitors. When a classmate was especially nervous about a short speech, the entire class rallied around that individual. When someone shares something very personal to illustrate a concept, there’s a feeling of safety and an immediate show of support for that classmate.

  1. What are you most excited about accomplishing/doing during the program?

Putting what I learn into action immediately. I found myself on day one rethinking how I am approaching various challenges at work. I’m learning how to see things from different perspectives in order to find the best way forward. I’m thrilled that I don’t have to wait two years to benefit from the program.

  1. What advice do you have for prospective students?

Don’t hesitate. Don’t hesitate to do research the program – watch Darden’s videos, read testimonials, seek out the information that paints a picture of life as an executive student. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the admissions team – they are a wealth of information. Don’t hesitate to talk to friends (especially Darden alumni) who have been through an EMBA program – wrapping your head around life as a student gets easier with their insights. And absolutely don’t hesitate to bounce the idea of your boss, your family, your friends – getting support from square one is critical.

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A Note on Inclusiveness and Dialogue

We shared the below message with our applicants and also wanted to share it with all of our readers as a reminder of Darden’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Yesterday afternoon, our community gathered for a dialogue on inclusiveness. Today and every day, we know that people are experiencing a wide range of emotions and grappling with many complex opinions and thoughts.

As we move forward from here, we wanted to take a moment to remind you that Darden — and the University of Virginia as a whole — is and will continue to be mission and value driven. Our Dean, Scott C. Beardsley, tells us that “the Darden community’s commitment to global diversity and inclusion of people from all walks of life is steadfast.” At Darden, we value a safe space to share our opinions, as well as the opportunity to learn from our peers and their opinions. Nothing will change that.

Please reach out to us for anything you need or with any questions you may have.

Best wishes,
Darden Admissions

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Interviewing Tips from Admissions Dean Sara Neher

Darden interviews are by invitation, and we will begin to send interview invitations for Round 1 over the coming weeks (interview invitations will continue up until the decision release day). In the below video, Admissions Dean Sara Neher shares some helpful tips for Darden’s interview process.

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Watch: Sara Neher’s Interview Tips

If you found this video helpful, you can watch the rest of Sara’s application tips videos here.

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Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA: Chris Barchet, GEMBA ’18

Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.

Chris Barchet, GEMBA '18

Chris Barchet, GEMBA ’18

Name:  Christopher (Chris) Barchet
City:  Philadelphia, PA
Employer:  JPMorgan Chase
Years of Experience:  8+
Format/Section:  GEMBA/Rosslyn

  1. What is your current job? I am in the Military Officer Executive Development Program at JPMorgan Chase, a three-year rotational program that operates across the firm.  Now in my second rotation doing Marketing Strategy and Analytics for Chase.
  2. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?  I have always been enamored by business innovation, and a career in business appealed to me. My rotational program at JPMC provides the time-sponsorship to pursue my MBA and with 100% GI Bill eligibility, it made perfect sense. I am also just objectively interested in the pursuit of higher education and the business knowledge and skills needed to be successful in my career.
  3. Why did you choose Darden? I’m a 2008 graduate of UVA so I suppose there’s a bit of Wahoo that now runs through my blood!  But all biology aside, I love Darden’s approach to learning.  Darden is consistently rated incredibly on its student experience and faculty, who teach exclusively via the case method.  I am a hands-on learner and know that I thrive best when I dive into the material.  Being challenged to engage in class constantly is something I know will make me a better student and professional.  As well, Darden has an incredibly innovative format between the various formats – GEMBA and EMBA – and locations – Rosslyn and Charlottesville – and is an MBA program on the rise, with a value that will only increase over time.
  4. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far? The ease of friendship.  Everybody is excited to meet each other and be in the fight together.  Every meal, coffee break, walk to/from class, and beer at the pub was an opportunity to meet somebody new!  I made countless friendships and left the week wanting more time to meet people,
  5. What are you most excited about accomplishing/doing during the program? Diving into business overseas and broadening myself through the global residencies. Also, diving with sharks in South Africa!  I am planning to travel there a week early and explore the country and book an excursion to jump in the water with some Great Whites (albeit with the likely barrier of a cage of course).
  6. What advice do you have for prospective students? Be excited to learn!  Honestly, it’s worth saying that this should be about much more than your network and a block on the resume.  Come to Darden to broaden your mind, build a better business community and expand your professional network, and in that order.
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Meet Matt Miller, Class of 2018

If you’re thinking about applying to Darden, you may have wondered what your Darden classmates might end up being like — where they come from, what they enjoy, how they spend their free time. Darden’s classrooms are full of students with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, goals, and more. You never know who you might end up sitting next to and what you might learn from him or her.

In this video, get to know Matt Miller (Class of 2018). He’s a Darden First Year and an Olympic Athlete who participated in the Rio Olympics this past summer. And he’s just one of the 345 incredible students in this year’s class who each bring unique experiences to the Darden community. We hope you enjoy learning more about his journey!

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Watch: Matt Miller Profile

Want to get to know more of our students and hear about their experiences? Our student ambassadors are happy to answer your questions. We encourage you to reach out to them!

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Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA: Meghan Azevedo, EMBA ’18

Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.

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EMBA Student Meghan Azevedo

Name: Meghan Azevedo

City: Severna Park, MD

Employer: Under Armour

Years of Experience: 8

Format/Section: Charlottesville EMBA

  1. What is your current job? I am the Chief of Staff to the CFO at UA.
  1. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? Pursuing an MBA is something that I considered for a long time. I graduated from undergrad with a B.S. in Sport and Entertainment Management and, while the majority of what I learned was applicable in my first job out of school, my career path changed drastically. At some point, as many people do, I found myself in a role that I never anticipated. I began to realize more and more that I didn’t have a strong enough financial acumen to get to the level I wanted to reach within the organization, and I decided to do something about it. I had always found a reason to put “going back to school” on the backburner but, with a full-time job, a husband who travels, and an 18-month old at home, I realized that there would never be a “right” time. I am so glad that I took the leap to invest in myself, both personally and professionally, and look forward to seeing what the future holds.
  1. Why did you choose Darden? I chose Darden for so many reasons! Its ranking speaks for itself, as does its reputation, but I think the alumni were what was most attractive to me. I don’t mean the network, which is also world-renowned, but the alums themselves. We have quite a few at UA—they’re easy to spot, and even easier to respect and admire. UA’s Darden alums are smart, confident, and quick. They see the big picture, and they are always pushing to motivate their teams and those around them to achieve their best. I wanted to be that kind of leader, and that’s why I chose Darden.
  1. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA? I knew I still wanted to work full-time while pursuing my MBA so, for me, the schedule was the most appealing thing about the executive format. A lot of other programs are very weekend-intensive but, as a mom, I wasn’t willing to give up that critical time with my son. The weekly online classes and once-per-month residency format of the EMBA format allow me to balance my course work with my most important role as a wife and mom, in addition to the ever-increasing responsibilities of my position at UA.
  1. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far? First and foremost, my classmates are awesome (and, no, I’m not just saying that). I had so much anxiety heading in to the first day. I was certain that I would be the least intelligent, that I wouldn’t add value to class discussions, and that no one else would be “like me” (full-time working mom, unsure of my future path, etc.). Turns out, all 119 of my classmates felt the same way—and we couldn’t have been more wrong. After a week at LR1, I think we would all agree that we never could have imagined that we’d be as close as we are. We are switchers, climbers, and general “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”-ers. We are moms, dads, military heroes, engineers, nurses, beer wholesalers, cardiac surgeons, and everything in between. Our ages range from 25-65, and we all bring something unique to the table. I can’t explain why, or how, but it just works. I left LR1 with more Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, Instagram followers, selfies, and inside jokes than I have ever had in a week’s time and, as we love to say at Under Armour, we are just getting started!
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Round 2 Applicants: Meet Darden Admissions at Multi-School Events in NYC, DC

Calling all Round 2 applicants-to-be!

Darden and other top business schools will be at multi-school events in New York City and Washington, DC, in early November and we hope to see you there.

At these events, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from Admissions Committee members who will offer tips on crafting a competitive application. You will also meet alumni from the participating business schools and have the chance to ask them questions about their MBA experiences, as well as mingle with other prospective students.

To register, please click the links below.

New York City:
Tuesday, 1 November
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Register Here

Washington, DC:
Wednesday, 2 November
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Register Here

We look forward to seeing you at one of these events!

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Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA: Joe Spencer, EMBA ’18

Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.

Name: Joe Spencer

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EMBA student Joe Spencer

City: Kansas City, MO

Employer: Osmose Utility Services

Years of Experience: Business experience, 17 years; Sales experience 10 years; Years with Osmose, 1

Format/Section: EMBA ROS

1. What is your current job? 

I am a Senior Director of Business Development for Osmose Utility Services.  That’s our super-secret code name for Sales Executive.

2. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

I explored buying a company a year ago, and, given my background, I was able to quickly identify the sales opportunities.  However, when I tried to evaluate and value the company operations, finances, and measure the future opportunity, I quickly realized I was not equipped with the tools to make that assessment.  Thus, I am here.

I do not know what the future holds.  I will either be an entrepreneur or on a senior executive track.  The goal is to broaden from and build on my sales experience.  Ultimately, I want to teach, but that is two steps down the road!

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Joe Spencer and his family

3. Why did you choose Darden?

I chose Darden for two reasons.  I wanted to attend a top tier school whose degree would not only mean something to me, it would mean something to others.  Secondly, my wife and I are looking to get back to the east coast in a few years, and becoming part of Darden’s network most certainly helps.

During the application process, I reached out to a fellow Naval Academy alum, who I have never met, who happens to also be a C level executive for a large, global sportswear manufacturer.  He sent me a note back within ten minutes, endorsing Darden and also mentioning one of his staff would be attending, and she is one of my classmates.

4. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

I have eleven children.  I must work towards my degree while still working a “normal” job.  The kids’ tuition still needs to be paid!

5. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?

My peers in this program are the most talented group of professionals with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. The intellectual talent in the room is humbling. I often look in the mirror and strive to live up to that very high bar that is set every day, in every conversation.

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A Statement From the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

We invite prospective students to join Chief Global Diversity Officer Melissa Thomas-Hunt for a discussion on diversity within the Darden community on Tuesday, 11 October at 9 am. As we wrap up Darden’s second annual Diversity Week, Melissa encourages you to bring your questions to a thoughtful discussion about how we can embody an inclusive community where everyone feels at home. We look forward to the conversation. Please register for the webinar here.


The personal comments made by University of Virginia adjunct lecturer Doug Muir on his personal social media accounts do not in any way represent the viewpoint or values of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

A core value of the Darden School of Business is a supportive and diverse community that encourages its members to collaborate and excel.

At the Darden School, we value and respect all identities, commit to engaging members of the Darden community as unique individuals, and promote a multicultural, global and inclusive environment in which each person feels valued.

This week, we have celebrated Diversity Week at Darden, which has provided an opportunity to appreciate what each person brings to the community — and to dialogue about how diversity impacts our learning community and our lives. Organized by Darden students, with the participation of the entire community, the week has included lectures, open dialogues and creativity expressed through media such as this video.

As a school within a public university, we respect and recognize people’s rights, including their First Amendment right to free speech. As an institution of learning, we also recognize that diversity of opinion is foundational. However, the personal statements made by Doug Muir regarding Black Lives Matter do not represent the views of this School.

At Darden, we embrace the challenging discussions surrounding diversity, equality and justice that face our society because it is our mission to develop leaders who are prepared to lead responsibly through the most difficult issues facing business and the world.

Statement from the Darden Student Association

Darden Community,

It is of serious concern to us that one faculty member — Douglas Muir — has taken it upon himself to publicly express views which are factually and historically inaccurate and which are undeniably intolerant — link to UVA Cavalier Daily.

The DSA has worked hard in collaboration with student clubs, community stakeholders, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader Darden community to foster and promote a culture which elevates and celebrates diversity and inclusion. Diversity Week has been a tremendous celebration of this spirit and a marquee week in the DSA calendar. We are proud of our community, and the grace with which it has worked to foster and maintain Darden’s core values.

The values of our community exist in striking opposition to Doug Muir’s stance. We vehemently disagree with his statement and we call upon the University of Virginia and the Darden School of Business to respond swiftly to uphold our values of inclusion, equality, and a dedication to truth and accuracy.

It is the mandate of the DSA to represent the best interests of the Darden student experience. We take this mission extremely seriously and will not stand for intolerance which directly affects our classmates and those around us.

Statement from the Black Business Student Forum

On October 4th, 2016, Douglas Muir, adjunct Professor at the Darden School of Business and the University of Virginia, posted the following message to Facebook: “Black lives matter is the biggest rasist organisation since the clan. Are you kidding me, Disgusting!!!”. This comment does not in any way reflect the Darden community. However, mindsets like these have the potential to significantly impact the positive community we seek to foster and protect. Presumably, the statement was in response to the recent presence of Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, as a speaker on grounds at the University of Virginia.

Mr. Muir’s statement likens Black Lives Matters’ decision to exercise their First Amendment right to gather to the actions of the Ku Klux Klan – an organization which has bombed churches, murdered men, women, and children, and violently protested such proposals as the integration of schools and the extension of the right to vote to African Americans.

Mr. Muir’s comparison of Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan is outrageous. Black Lives Matter was founded as an expression of Ms. Garza and others’ justified discontent with the experience of many African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan is an organization with a 100+ year history of murder, racism, and intimidation of innocent people. No protest can compare to the terror which the Ku Klux Klan has inflicted upon citizens of our community.

This week was a monumental week for diversity at Darden. Not only did we have great attendance at our event on racial injustice, but we also stood together as One Darden and wore black to represent solidarity. This progress will not be overshadowed and discredited by the comments of one faculty member. The kind of inaccurate and offensive comments made by Mr. Muir threaten to damage the inclusive community that the student body, alumni, Dean Beardsley, and the faculty and staff of Darden have worked hard to foster.

The ignorance of Mr. Muir’s statement speaks for itself. Our goal is to urge the University of Virginia to respond to its own faculty member’s expression of blatantly incorrect views and demonstrate its commitment to enlightenment and intellectual honesty by correcting this false message. This is an opportunity for Darden to stand behind its commitment to an inclusive community.

How Darden reacts from an administrative level will have a huge impact on how students view their experience at Darden. We believe in what Darden represents and we would hate for Mr. Muir’s actions to damage our unique and welcoming community. Mr. Muir is entitled to his opinion, no matter how ignorant it is. He is not entitled to his own facts. We are hopeful that the actions that the University of Virginia takes in response to Mr. Muir’s comments will reflect its commitment to truth and an inclusive environment.

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