For Admitted Students: Validate Your Fit

Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing several blog posts written by the Career Development Center for the Executive MBA Class of 2018. This is the second in the series. You can find the first post here.

Now is the time to explore your career goals, get smart about your skills and passions, and determine your post-MBA career path.

Are you a strong fit for:

  • Management Consulting;
  • Entrepreneurship;
  • Marketing;
  • Corporate Finance;
  • Or more than 25 additional MBA career paths?

Take CareerLeader today. The CareerLeader self-assessment identifies the career paths and work cultures which are best aligned with your interests, skills, and motivators.

You can find instructions on how to complete your CareerLeader assessment on the Admitted Student Website.

CareerLeader is one of four activities that we recommend you complete prior to your first meeting with a Career Advisor. In the next blog post, we’ll describe the next activity: formatting your resume.

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Laure Katz (GEMBA ’16) Profiled in Poets & Quants

Laure Katz (GEMBA ’16) was recently profiled on Poets & Quants, where she spoke about her experience at Darden, her career and her passions.

“The [Darden GEMBA] program was rich with experiential learning. From sitting in a symphony orchestra to learning to samba dance to bargaining in a Shanghai market, it was the learning that took place outside the classroom and all over the world during our global residencies (in Brazil, China, France, Germany, and India) that impacted me the most.”

You can read the full article here.


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A Word from President Sullivan and Dean Beardsley

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Orlando, we wanted to share with you messages from Dean Beardsley and President Sullivan that went out to the University community.

To the University Community:

The horrific act of domestic terrorism at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando took the lives of many innocent people and injured many more. We offer our deepest sympathy to the victims’ families and the Orlando community. We express our support for all who stand for mutual respect and acceptance. We also offer our support to members of the Muslim community, who often face backlash and hatred when acts of violence are committed by individuals who claim to be acting in the name of Islam. This act of hatred directed toward the LGBTQ community is the deadliest shooting tragedy in United States history.

Cville Pride is hosting a candlelight vigil tonight, Monday, June 13, to remember those who were killed or injured in the shooting. The vigil will be held at the Free Speech Wall on the Downtown Mall starting at 7:30 p.m. See for more information.

Students seeking support during this difficult time can contact UVA Counseling and Psychological Services at (434) 243-5150 during the day or at (434) 972-7004 after hours and on weekends. Additional information may be found online at

Faculty and staff, in both the academic division and the medical center, may contact the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) if they need to speak with a counselor or obtain a referral to other confidential resources that may be available. You may schedule an appointment with a FEAP consultant by calling (434) 243-2643 or by visiting

Diversity stands with ethics, integrity, and academic excellence, as a cornerstone of University culture. The University promotes an inclusive and welcoming environment that embraces the full spectrum of human attributes, perspectives, and disciplines.

Teresa A. Sullivan

Dear Darden Community,

I write to express my deep sadness regarding the horrific shooting of innocent people over the weekend at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando; now the worst shooting in U.S. history. Although we do not yet know all of the details, initial reports indicate that the victims may have been targeted due to their sexual orientation. As President Obama said yesterday, this appears to be both an act of terror and a hate crime.

At this point, we are working to verify that all members of the Darden community are safe. Regardless, we grieve for the victims, their families and friends, and we unequivocally condemn this despicable attack, which runs counter to the values of Darden, the U.S. and all human decency.

As we remember the victims, know that Darden will remain a welcoming beacon of inclusion during these tumultuous times. During what is a month of pride and celebration for the LGBTQ community, my hope is that we all remain united, and care for and respect one another despite the threats of hate and violence, and also that we reaffirm and demonstrate our support for each other in response to this tragic event.

Please also know that the University of Virginia always offers support for students and works continually with leaders of LGBTQ student organizations like Pride at Darden. Additional support resources available at Darden and the University include:

Wishing you a safe summer.



Scott C. Beardsley
Dean and Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia

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For Admitted Students: Set Your Expectations

Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing several blog posts written by the Career Development Center for the Executive MBA Class of 2018. This is the first in the series.

We know it…..You are attending business school to advance your career.  And, we hope you know that Darden’s Career Development Center (CDC) is dedicated to enabling your career success.

The CDC takes a unique approach by delivering an integrated, relevant slate of career education and resources to meet MBA students’ needs. We offer resources that are personalized and flexible. We also provide active learning and career counsel, including one-on-one career advising, workshops, and recruiting preparation and support to help you prepare for employment opportunities. Together we partner with you to help you make the most of your time and your search at Darden.

Each individual is unique, of course, and there are as many career stories and career pathways as there are graduates of this program, and those stories and pathways frequently change while at Darden.  In general, however, our Executive MBA students come to Darden with one or more of the following five career objectives.

  1. Climbing within one’s current organization.
  2. Switching to a new company, industry, and/or profession.
  3. Transitioning from the military into a new role in the private or public sector.
  4. Pursuing an entrepreneurial track to launch a new business or expand an existing one.
  5. Enhancing one’s management skills and business acumen to enable one to “stay on top of their game” and provide continued leadership in a changing business environment.

Regardless of your situation or your professional objectives, the Career Center is dedicated to your success and excited about the opportunity to work with you to support and advise you on the strategy and tactics for your career and its transitions.

Here’s what you will need to do / think about:

For those planning a significant transition either during or after their MBA program, you will need to consider the following:

Defining yourself and your career direction

Identifying your gifts, talents, passion, and interests; establishing a professional brand or identity; and articulating a vision and set of goals for your professional direction are the most fundamental components of engineering your transition.  They create the star that will enable you to chart your course, and establish the hub around which all of your search activities revolve.

Packaging yourself for the transition

Your job search is a promotional campaign and requires the development of key documents, communications, and an electronic footprint that will ensure your success. Examples include resumes, cover letters, networking emails, LinkedIn profiles, 30-second commercials, reason for leaving statements, and more.

Defining your “go to market” strategy

When deciding to take a product to market, no self-respecting business professional would consider doing so without a comprehensive marketing plan.  Yet, when it comes to themselves and their job search, most fail to consider this basic step.  It is critical to be thoughtful about your strategy, and approach to any transition you are considering.

Taking yourself to market

There are many doorways to the job market.  The traditional portals include job boards, career fairs, and recruiters.  On-grounds recruiting may even be an option for a handful of Executive MBA students.  For the overwhelming majority, however, you will be challenged to expand your repertoire of search strategies.  Most will be looking for more senior level opportunities that will be found through a heavily network-driven search process.

Interviewing for opportunities

If you are like most, you haven’t interviewed for a job in a number of years and your interviewing skills were developed when you were being considered for more junior positions.  In addition, you will be conducting extensive networking and informational interviews throughout your search.  All of this will require preparation and practice for each particular type of interview.

Negotiating offers

Negotiating a job offer is not the same as buying a used car. It is important to consider whether to negotiate or not.  And, there are guidelines that can help you through this problem-solving process.

Time line for the transition plan

For individuals planning to make a major career move, each will have their own schedule in mind.  Some will want to switch during the course of their MBA program.  Others will want to time it to coincide with graduation.  Still others will have commitments and want to delay it for one or more years after graduation.  Regardless of the timing, the rule of thumb is that the more significant the transition, the longer the lead time one should plan for.

The typical transitions that Darden Executive MBA students consider are dynamic and 3-dimensional.  Opportunities emerge in unpredictable fashion, but they do so with tremendous reliability if one is flexible and persistent.   So, while the transition process does not lend itself to a linear project plan, we generally advise an 18-month planning horizon that includes the above 6 transition components and unfolds in roughly the following fashion.

Defining Yourself           15-18 months out

Packaging Yourself        12-18 months out

Marketing Plan               12-15 months out

Active Job Search           3-12 months out

Apply / Interview           2-9 months out

Negotiating Offers          0-3 months out

How does Darden’s Career Development Center help? 

Given the tremendous variety among the Executive MBA students regarding industries, occupational categories, and career interests and needs, there is no “one size fits all” approach to assisting you with the career transition you may be contemplating.   Yours will be a very personal, individualized quest, and the Career Development Center will work closely with you to tailor a customized career strategy.  To that end, we provide a broad spectrum of resources that will enable you to accomplish your goals including:


Career coaches are available to provide one-on-one advising — ensuring your unique career needs are met and you can focus on making that next step in professional advancement. You can meet with advisors in person or remotely depending on your schedule and preference.

Career Direction

During the first year of school, you will have an opportunity to participate in a Career Kickoff meeting with a career advisor to help you chart your course, learn more about CDC resources, and shape your objectives. You will be encouraged to complete a Career Leader assessment and to investigate other sources of learning about possibilities.

Career Education

Career Education workshops are offered throughout your time at Darden to provide the foundational skills needed for all candidates in a job search. There is a very broad spectrum of topics include storytelling, resume writing, networking, social media, interviewing, working with recruiters, and much more. These workshops are delivered in the classroom, through webinars, and with recordings that are available 24/7. There are multitudes of written resources and samples on the Darden Admitted Student Website that cover all aspects of career development.

An Engaged Network

Darden is well known for its strong community.  With resources on-grounds, and among the Darden alumni and friends of Darden, the structures are in place for you to build a solid network and support group that ensures success in your career advancement.

Setting your expectations is one of four activities that we recommend you complete prior to your first meeting with a Career Advisor. In the next blog post, we’ll describe the next activity: taking CareerLeader.




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Video Blog: DC Classroom Space

We were thrilled to see so many new and familiar faces at last night’s event at the Waterview Conference Center in Rosslyn, Virginia. If you weren’t able to make it, Brett Twitty shot the latest episode of his video blog while he was there – watch the video below to get an idea of our classroom space for the Rosslyn cohort!


Watch: DC Area Classroom Update

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Reminder: Join Darden in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, 4 May

Darden is thrilled to be hosting an Executive MBA mock case discussion and networking reception at the Waterview Conference Center in Rosslyn, Virginia, on Wednesday, 4 May 2016.

Waterview will be the classroom for our Rosslyn-based EMBA and GEMBA students, and we are pleased to offer you this opportunity to experience this setting first-hand in advance of the launch of our Rosslyn cohort this August. Associate Dean Ron Wilcox will lead the case, and there will be time to ask questions, socialize and connect with members of Darden’s dynamic network afterward.

For more information and to register, please click here. We hope to see you on Wednesday!

Not in DC? Bookmark our Events page to see when we’ll be coming to your area.

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Video Blog: Intro to Executive Format Innovations

As you may know, Darden announced some exciting innovations to its Executive formats (MBA for Executives and Global MBA for Executives) earlier this year. The Class of 2018 will be the first class to experience these updates, and we can’t wait to welcome them in August.

In the below video blog, Brett Twitty shares some updates on the admissions process and the new innovations. This video is the first in a series of videos and blog posts that will go into more detail about the format updates.

Click on the image or the link below it to watch the video.


Watch: 2016 Format Updates

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UVA Darden Executive MBAs Leave Legacy Through New Student Investment Fund

Story by Dave Hendrick

University of Virginia Darden School of Business students Phillip St. Ours (Class of 2016) and Brendan Miniter (Class of 2016) call the MBA for Executives (EMBA) experience a transformational one, a two-year program that has led to lifelong friendships, an expanded skill set and new professional opportunities.

As Miniter and St. Ours approach the transition to Darden alumni, they and many of their Class of 2016 colleagues are leaving their imprint on the Executive MBA, as well, establishing a first-of-its-kind Executive MBA Student Investment Fund (ESIF) that aims to be a permanent addition to EMBA’s offerings.

Although the fund will be a practical outlet for professionals interested in researching investment opportunities, managing assets and trading, there’s also an explicit attempt to more closely bind the students in the executive format to future EMBA classes and the Darden community as a whole.

“In your second year, you not only recognize the mark the MBA program is having on you, but also the drive to leave a mark on the program itself. A drive to build a legacy,” said St. Ours, a Charlottesville-based developer with a background in asset management. “Ten years from now, this will be a bridge to connect to the future cohort. That’s what the extracurricular experience is all about.”

The Darden Capital Management course is a well-known aspect of the residential MBA experience, allowing students to gain hands-on asset management experience among five funds with roughly $10 million in assets. However, there has never been an analogous option for the EMBA format, which was launched in 2006. The discrepancy is an understandable one, as EMBA students are only on Grounds intermittently and balance their Darden workload with full-time jobs and often families.

St. Ours said he found broad support and enthusiasm when pitching the idea to his EMBA colleagues, with a majority quickly expressing interest in the concept. Indeed, out of a class of 61,  more than 40 EMBAs began to meet regularly over the course of First Year to discuss the potential new initiative.

Given the widespread interest, the EMBAs realized they likely needed to think beyond Darden Capital Management, which isn’t structured to accommodate a large number of executive students with much different schedules than their residential MBA counterparts. Setting out to explore options for an extracurricular program geared exclusively toward executive students, the EMBAs met encouragement from EMBA Associate Dean Ron Wilcox and Assistant Dean Barbara Millar, who supported the twin goals of enhancements to the program and greater connections between EMBA students and Darden.

Wilcox alerted the group to endowment funds from the EMBA Classes of 2008 and 2010 earmarked for innovation in the EMBA program and tasked the group with forming an independent study group to formulate the nuts and bolts of such an offering.

Although setting up the new program was clearly going to be a significant time commitment, Miniter said he and his classmates were reminded of Darden Dean Emeritus Bob Bruner’s imploring of the EMBAs to “say yes” to the new and unexpected opportunities that would be coming their way.

“The question of ‘do you have time to do this’ comes up a lot,” said Miniter, a former journalist and policy advisor at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. “Why are you going to Darden? You come here to do something different and make a change and do something that’s not normally done. You have to jump at opportunities like this that come along.”

A group of nine EMBAs took part in the independent study, doing the unglamorous work of devising policies and guidelines and soliciting support and feedback from faculty, administrators and alumni.

St. Ours stressed the work of a number of EMBA classmates that brought the fund from idea to fruition in such a short period of time. The inaugural leadership team includes St. Ours as CEO, Miniter as COO, Mac Livingston (Class of 2016) as chief investment officer, Generra Peck (Class of 2016) as chief communications officer and Andrew Zasowski (Class of 2016) as portfolio manager.

Eventually, the group settled on what seemed like three reasonable goals for the investment fund to achieve before the 2016 EMBAs graduated:

  1. Raise at least $1 in additional funding to grow the funds for investment.
  2. Make at least one trade.
  3. Develop a leadership team in the next class of EMBAs who could “take the baton.”

Any profits generated will remain in investments for now, and the ESIF team expects that members of a future cohort may devise policies and procedures around the use of returns.

“For this to survive, we have to manage that first transition,” said St. Ours, noting the complications of coordinating with a class with which they have almost no overlap. And yet, the groundwork for a smooth handoff appears to be in place, and St. Ours said roughly a dozen members of the EMBA Class of 2017 are interested in the program.

As they contemplated their first trade, the group of interested EMBAs recently engaged in their first stock pitch night, with a group of students offering a deep dive into an oil refining company. Such activities allow the fund members to both share potential expertise in their professional sphere — as well as skills developed or honed at Darden — while demystifying the mechanics of asset management.

Indeed, the fund’s backers believe the diversity of backgrounds among the EMBAs will make the fund a strong, nimble vehicle. Moreover, engagement with the fund could encourage future EMBAs to broaden their outlook regarding the sorts of professional opportunities available to them.

“The point in all of this isn’t necessarily to make this fund huge,” said Miniter. “There are two potential profits here: there’s the money, but the other is what you’re actually gaining from the experience. If you bring that kind of perspective to it, it brings a lot of clarity.”

With a foundation in place and the outlook for the fund secured as a credit-garnering elective for future EMBAS, the ESIF backers hope they are leaving a program that can be built on and enhanced by future Darden Executive MBA classes.

“We see this as an opportunity to continually improve and continually apply lessons learned,” said St. Ours. “We hope we can grow the asset base, but also every year grow the community.”

Although in its infancy, Wilcox said he had little doubt that the fund would be a long-term contributor to the EMBA program.

“I absolutely see this as something that’s going to continue,” Wilcox said, noting that his only concern will be finding enough course spots for all of the interested students. “It’s going to work because these guys did a lot of work.”

This story originally appeared on Darden’s News & Events page. To stay up to date on all current Darden happenings, we encourage you to bookmark that site and visit it often!

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A First-Hand Look at Darden’s Executive Formats

Over the next few weeks, Darden will offer several opportunities to get an insider’s perspective on the executive formats of the Darden MBA.

On Tuesday, 12 April, we invite you to join us for a networking breakfast at Waterview Conference Center in Rosslyn, Virginia, where our D.C. area cohort will hold classes starting in August.

Then, on Wednesday, 4 May, we will host a mock case discussion with Associate Dean Ron Wilcox in the evening, also at Waterview.

Brett Twitty, Director of Admissions for the executive formats, will be at both of these events, along with current EMBA and GEMBA students and alumni, to share more about our executive formats. If you would like to attend the breakfast, please register here. If you would like to attend the mock case, please register here.

We also will offer several opportunities to observe a class with Darden’s executive formats throughout the month of April. Sitting in on a class is a great way to get a feel for the program, so we also encourage you to visit Charlottesville to experience the case method and our learning community first hand. To see a schedule and to sign up, please visit our website.

We hope to see you in Rosslyn or in Charlottesville!

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Reminder: Join Darden in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, 2 March

Darden is thrilled to be hosting an Executive MBA networking reception at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC, this Wednesday, 2 March 2016.

This reception is designed to give you the unique opportunity to delve deeper into the Executive MBA formats of Darden’s MBA degree and to learn more about the exciting innovations that we announced recently.

Come to the reception ready to ask questions, socialize and connect with members of Darden’s dynamic network. You will be able to personally speak with students, alumni and admissions representatives, as well as hear brief remarks from Ron Wilcox, Associate Dean of The Darden School.

For more information and to register, please click here. We hope to see you on Wednesday!

Not in DC? Bookmark our Events page to see when we’ll be coming to your area.

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