March Executive Open House

Darden offers two executive MBA open house programs in Charlottesville during the year, and we invite you to experience the learning environment as it is every day — open, engaging and proactive. This Open House is for prospective students interested in the executive formats of the Darden MBA – Global MBA for Executives and MBA for Executives.

The day begins with an actual case method discussion, as taught by Yiorgos Allayannis, a member of Darden’s top-ranked faculty. Following class, you’ll eat lunch with current executive MBA students. You’ll then learn more about Darden’s GEMBA and EMBA formats and hear from leaders in Career Development, Financial Aid, Admissions, and Operations. Afterwards you’ll get your questions answered at an interactive panel discussion with alumni and end the day with a tour of the Darden Grounds.

Students tell us that attending a Darden Open House was critical to their executive MBA research process and to understanding what makes Darden different.

Your spouse or significant other is welcome to attend. Prior to this event, registrants will be sent class preparation materials. Materials will be made available to late registrants upon check-in.

Executive MBA Open House
Saturday, 4 March, 2015
Register Now

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Upcoming Career Services Webinar

Defining your brand is essential to your career advancement. At Darden, we believe effective personal brand management requires self-awareness and reflection, a keen understanding of your target audience and the ability to expertly leverage core competencies, experiences and resources to achieve your goals.

Darden will host a webinar for prospective executive MBA students exploring these themes and ideas during a session entitled “Enhance Your Brand to Propel Your Career.”

Enhance Your Brand to Propel Your Career
Friday, 27 February, 2015
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.

In this webinar, Connie English, Executive Director of Alumni Career Services, and Jack Oakes, Assistant Dean for Career Development, will share with you some of the same hands-on tools and resources available to Darden MBA for Executives and Global MBA for Executives students and alumni. They will also explore the reach and impact of Darden’s powerful alumni network and the supportive community that defines the Darden experience.  Connie, Jack and a member of the admissions team will address your questions at the end of the presentation.

You are welcome to submit questions in advance by emailing us at or by typing them in to the chat box during the presentation.

We hope you will be able to join us for this discussion!

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EMBA Webinar Recording

Last week we sat down with three of our executive MBA students to have them answer your questions about Darden’s EMBA format. In the webinar the students discussed topics like the collaborative environment Darden fosters, work-life balance, career services and applying lessons learned in the classroom to their full-time jobs.

If you were unable to attend, below is a link to the webinar recording. We hope you enjoy hearing directly from the students about how much they have already benefited from the Darden MBA.

EMBA Webinar

Webinar: EMBA Student Q&A

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Lessons from Super Bowl Ads – Part 3

I previous posts, we have discussed how consistency and authenticity are incredibly important to building a great personal brand and developing lasting relationships at Darden, using this year’s Super Bowl commercials to illustrate each point.

Several brands aired their first-ever Super Bowl commercials this year, ranging from well-known brands like Skittles, to newcomers, such as the very specific Avocados from Mexico. These brands took a pretty big risk (in both financial and marketing terms) and bet that jumping into the Super Bowl market would be more beneficial than avoiding it.

Personal Branding Lesson #3: Make the Leap

A great brand – personal or corporate – is only effective when you truly reach out to others. Throughout your time as an executive MBA student, you will have opportunities to make connections, and sometimes, you might not really feel like it. Balancing work and school and family life is very stressful, and it is tempting to let networking fall to the wayside.

It’s also tempting to simply tell yourself that others are too busy, that your classmates have a lot going on, or that Darden’s top-ranked faculty must be entirely consumed by their research. Avoid giving in to these temptations. Darden prides itself on its strong sense of community, and that is built every day, interaction by interaction. Darden faculty are world-class, and they are always happy to talk. They are here for you.

Similarly, Darden students are here for each other. Our alumni network is one of the strongest and most active in the world, ranked No. 4 for alumni effectiveness by The Economist. Our community thrives most when people reach out and take risks every day. Think about all of the incredible people who you have connected yourself with already, and how they have impacted your life. Take the time to reach out and see where it leads.

To begin taking advantage of Darden’s networking opportunities now, contact an MBA for Executives student ambassador, or a Global MBA for Executives student ambassador.

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Lessons from Super Bowl Ads – Part 2

In our previous post, we examined personal branding lessons learned from Nationwide’s controversial Super Bowl ad about childhood accidents, and how Darden students might use those lessons to make the most of the program’s networking opportunities. Today, we’ll focus on something a bit more cheerful.

Some of Super Bowl Sunday’s most successful, heartwarming spots included genuine expressions of affection, such as a man’s love for his dog in the reliably adorable Budweiser spot, or the hugs, phone calls and laughter in the McDonald’s spot, which allowed customers to pay for their meals with “lovin’”. These ads tugged on our heartstrings simply by portraying genuine, everyday affection. And that brings us to Lesson #2.

Personal Branding Lesson #2: Be Authentic

Genuine affection and goodwill is a powerful currency. Your personal brand should not be something you fabricate to help you look good. It should be an authentic expression of what you value and enjoy, and that authenticity should shine through in your interactions with classmates and faculty.

The most effective networkers do not view networking as a transaction (i.e. you give me something if I give you something) but rather as a relationship. They actively look for ways to help others out of simple goodwill, and are genuine interested in the interests and passions of others.

When you come to Darden for your EMBA residencies, or abroad for GEMBA residencies, you will be spending several days with your classmates and have many opportunities to simply enjoy them as people, as well as professionals. Take the time to learn about what they are doing, think about how you might be of help, and make the effort to reach out.

To begin taking advantage of Darden’s networking opportunities now, contact an MBA for Executives student ambassador, or a Global MBA for Executives student ambassador.

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Lessons from Super Bowl Ads – Part 1

For some companies, the Super Bowl represents the single most important branding opportunity of the year. There’s a captive audience of hundreds of millions of people — 114.4 million for Super Bowl XLIX — many of them ready to pay as much attention to the ads as they do to the game (or the buffalo chicken dip). Needless to say, marketers must convey their brand well during a Super Bowl ad.

In a similar fashion, Darden students have extraordinary opportunities for networking, and to make the most of them, they need to have a strong personal brand and convey that brand well. This is especially important for Darden’s executive MBA students, who must make the most of limited face time with their talented classmates and professors.

Executive MBA students can actually learn a lot about how to convey their personal brand from this year’s Super Bowl ads. Over the next three days, we’ll be examining three major lessons to be learned, starting with consistency.

Personal Branding Lesson #1: Be Consistent

The most talked-about ad this year was Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen, which drew you in with a cute montage of a little boy’s adventures, only to have him say, essentially, “I will never do any of these things because I already died in a preventable accident.” Many viewers felt a bit blindsided by this dark message, and the ad was even more jarring when contrasted with Nationwide’s other spot, a sketch by comedic powerhouse Mindy Kaling, which had aired only minutes before. The rapid jump from light and hilarious to dark and depressing confused Nationwide’s brand and obscured an important point about preventable accidents.

The branding lesson here? Consistency. Telling a consistent and compelling story is one of the most important parts of networking – it helps others quickly learn who you are and how they can help you. You will have many opportunities to share your story at Darden, whether in the context of your learning teams, in the classroom or meetings with faculty, or during your residencies. Don’t veer sharply from tone to tone, story to story. Instead, remain consistent, focus on the most important parts of your professional and personal identity, and clearly communicate those themes to your classmates.

Darden is full of networking opportunities with so many talented individuals. Having a consistent story will help you build invaluable business and personal relationships, and each will strengthen your connection to the robust Darden student and alumni network.

To begin taking advantage of Darden’s networking opportunities now, contact an MBA for Executives student ambassador, or a Global MBA for Executives student ambassador.

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Webinar Tomorrow 12 February 2015

Join us for a Q&A session with a panel of MBA for Executive (EMBA) students who will share why they chose to pursue the MBA and why they chose Darden. They will also share how the Darden MBA is helping accelerate their careers and make an impact within their organizations.

You are welcome to submit your questions in advance of the webinar by emailing us at  You can also ask your questions during the session. Please note the webinar time is eastern standard.

We look forward to answering your questions about Darden’s MBA for Executives program!

EMBA Student Q&A
Thursday, 12 February, 2015
12:15 p.m.–12:45 p.m. EST

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Career Advice for Executive MBA Students

Jeff Leopold is an associate director of Career Education and Advising at Darden’s Career Development Center  (CDC) and serves as a career advisor to executive MBA students. You can read more about Jeff’s career and background here.

We took a moment to sit down with Jeff and ask him about his role, and what type of advice he gives to Darden students.

What is the best piece of career search advice you could give to executive MBA students?

J.L.: Use your time in the program to learn and explore as much as you can, so that you can bring fresh insights back to your current job and create valuable connections for the future. Your classmates and professors will have so much to offer, so make sure that you take the time to learn as much as you can from them, explore different industries and careers and think carefully about how you want to advance your career.

What feedback have you received from companies and how can current/prospective students use that?

J.L.: Company representatives often tell us that they wish students had done a bit more research before talking with the company. Students should carefully research the needs, financials and culture of any company they are interested in and use that research to justify their interest. Students should also network with people working at companies of interest to learn more. Focus on conducting a diligent and targeted search, rather than simply contacting any company that slightly interests you.

What CDC resources should executive MBA students know about?

J.L.:  I am fortunate to be surrounded by a team of truly talented and experienced career advisors, and I would encourage every student to use our team as an honest and confidential resource for advancing career goals. We also offer Career Education resources tailored to executive MBA students, with seminars focusing on various stages of the career search process. Students can also take advantage of many of the career fairs and interview forums that Darden participates in throughout the year, as well as student clubs and on-Grounds recruiting events in the fall of the program’s second year.

What are some of your favorite job search resources around the web?

J.L.:  LinkedIn is an incredible resource that is often underused. Make sure you profile is not just up-to-date, but compelling and indicative of who you are and where you want to go. Then, use LinkedIn to connect with Darden or U.Va. alumni, monitor companies of interest to you, and generally grow your network.

I would also suggest CareeerLeader as an excellent self-assessment tool (available to Darden students at a reduced price) and job forums such as Glassdoor or Vault for company research and background information.

What do you love most about your job?

J.L.:  I love helping students discover and achieve their career goals, and along the way, meeting some truly interesting people. Darden attracts talented, accomplished and driven students, and I really enjoy getting to know them.

Can you recommend a favorite Charlottesville spot?

J.L.:  I actually commute to Charlottesville from Richmond, VA, much like many executive MBA students (though they often come from much further afield). So, that means that most of my Charlottesville dining experiences are in Darden’s own dining room, Abbott Hall. However, when I do make it out and about in Charlottesville, I enjoy getting a great hamburger at Boylan Heights, near the central Grounds, and catching a U.Va. basketball game at John Paul Jones Arena. The team has gotten very good, and it’s always a packed house.

Any other parting advice?

J.L.:  One of the best things about Darden is the tremendous quality of its students, faculty and staff. It’s a first-class program that attracts first-class people, and I would advise students to be open; being around such people can transform their careers and their lives.

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Executive MBA Networking Receptions

We are excited to announce our first two executive MBA networking receptions this winter. We will post several more events in the coming weeks.

New York City

4 February 2015 Darden Admissions and Alumni Reception Register

Northern Virginia

28 January 2015 Darden Admissions and Alumni Reception Register

Darden networking receptions give you the unique opportunity to learn about Darden’s executive MBA formats (MBA for Executives and Global MBA for Executives) by speaking directly with members of our community.

Come and experience Darden’s distinctive case method style of experiential learning while also connecting with members of Darden’s dynamic network. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Guests are welcome.

If you are unable to make it to these events, you can view our full event calendar and our class visit schedule on our website.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Visit an Executive MBA Class in January, February or March

As the new year approaches, resolve to advance your professional career and elevate your performance as a manager. An MBA can help you attain these goals, and if you’re looking for a business program that enables you to earn your degree while working full time, Darden’s executive MBA formats could be perfect for you.

Visit us to learn more about Darden’s MBA for Executives and Global MBA for Executives. Winter class visit opportunities have now been posted through March. When you attend a Class Visit Day, you’ll sit alongside current EMBA students in a class led by a member of Darden’s faculty. You’ll also have lunch with executive MBA students, professors and staff.

Darden students consistently tell us that attending a Class Visit Day was critical to their MBA research process — and to discovering what Darden offers. To register for a class visit, simply click on one of the links below.

Thursday, 15 January

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. | Register

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Register

Friday, 16 January

8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. | Register

2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Register

4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Register

Thursday, 12 February

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. | Register

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Register

Friday, 13 February

10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | Register

Thursday, 12 March

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. | Register

Friday, 13 March

8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. | Register

We look forward to seeing you in the new year!

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