Darden’s MBA for Executives (EMBA) offers business leaders an opportunity to pursue an MBA degree without requiring extensive time off from work. Students get to experience the world renowned Darden case method of teaching and are able to immediately apply what they learn to their company or organization.
In the following interview, April Jones (EMBA ’10) discusses her view of the Darden EMBA program, balancing work, school and family and how she was able to apply what she learned in the classroom to the workplace.
April is currently the director of brand, marketing & communications for Deloitte AG in Zurich, Switzerland.
Why did you decide to get your MBA?
I decided to get an MBA for a couple of reasons. I noticed that many of my colleagues at work either had their MBAs or were pursuing them. I’ve been able to advance pretty rapidly in my career with hard work and determination, but I feel that having an MBA from a top-ranked MBA program will be critical in order to help keep me competitive for future professional opportunities.
How did you come to choose Darden’s MBA for Executives program?
I chose Darden because of its reputation, case study method, professors and the flexibility of the program format. Darden was one of the few programs I found that seemed like it would actually fit with the demands of my career and life.
What was your favorite part of the Darden experience?
The people in the program — both professors and students — have been my favorite part of the Darden experience. The professors are knowledgeable and engaging. The experiences of the other students are a great supplement to our case study discussions. Plus, many of the other students have become great friends.
Can you describe how you apply what you’ve learn in the program back in the workplace?
For me, there are two different types of applications for knowledge gained in the program. One is tactical skills. In my case, this is building on my accounting and finance skills. The second aspect is more of a mindset change, I think this is especially applicable for information discussed in our leadership, ethics, communication, and decision analysis courses. The case studies and the class discussions expand your mind on how you think about things or approach situations in the workplace.
Across the entire EMBA industry, there are far fewer female students than male. What’s it like being one of the few women in the program?
My entire career has been in organizations where the number of men has greatly outnumbered the number of women, so the gender split in our class doesn’t seem unusual. Our class is about 25% female and I think we are a very impressive group and have an equal place at the table.
How do you balance work, study and life as you pursue your Executive MBA at Darden?
It is a challenge balancing it all, but there are a number of things that help me. First off, both my employer and my family and friends have been very supportive of my participation in the program. They understand that right now I might not be able to do all of the things that I did before I started at Darden.
The format of the program is also really helpful for managing all of my commitments. Our distance sessions are all recorded, so if I can’t make the scheduled day and time, I can re-watch them later.
Also, since we have the full schedule for all of our on grounds date for the entire program, I can plan work and personal obligations around those dates. Also, my learning team is terrific! We share the workload and work through assignments together, we also help each other out when a team member has a work or life demand that pulls their attention away from school.
Learn more about Darden’s alumni network on our website.