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: Corbin Norman
City: Washington, District of Columbia
Employer: kweliTV, Inc.
Years of Experience: 6
- What is your current job?
I am the Chief Marketing and Development Officer of kweliTV, an interactive, streaming platform dedicated to the stories, issues and culture of the global black community. kweliTV offer indie films, documentaries, web shows and news programming for the entire African Diaspora. I oversee all operational and strategic planning functions including sales and marketing, customer relations, partnerships, and management of marketing/communications/PR personnel.
- Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
According to CB Insights’ data from 2010 on VC investments in the U.S., only 1 percent of VC-funded startup founders are black, whereas black people make up over 11 percent of the U.S. population. Meanwhile, 87 percent of VC backed founders are white and 83 percent of all founding teams of these companies are all white. If the future of entrepreneurship is to be a culture of inclusion and diversity, then founders of color, specifically women, need access to capital. I want to change this paradigm and empower the very community that made me what I am today. An MBA will accelerate my progression as a serial entrepreneur and provide me the knowledge, skills, and network to launch a venture capital firm focusing on seed stage funding for black-founded startups in technology, healthcare and life sciences, and education in underserved communities around the world.
- Why did you choose Darden?
Ultimately, I came to Darden to receive the best education experience in the world. Over the past 6 years, I accumulated expertise in technology and operations but my knowledge gaps were in marketing, finance, and global economies. I felt the Darden MBA and more specifically the Case Method was the best way to fill those voids. With a Darden MBA, I will walk away with an enterprise perspective, global experiences, and access to valuable resources such as the Darden brand and alumni network, connections with world renowned faculty and the Batten Institute.
- What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA?
I could have not asked for a more convenient executive format than Darden’s Executive MBA formats in Charlottesville and Rosslyn. In addition, Darden’s ability to utilize the same core curriculum and faculty as the residential MBA program is really exciting. The initiation of the Rosslyn section is a game-changer and without a doubt enticed me more to choose Darden. The Friday, Saturday, Sunday format allows me to reduce the amount of time away from work while only expending 15 minutes to commute to Rosslyn for on-ground classes.
The integration of the core curriculum in the executive formats really provides a strong business foundation for those looking to learn leadership and management in a global context. The first on-ground residency (Leadership Residency 1 – LR1) was a great start to a 21-month journey because it really opened my eyes to a world where leading with an enterprise perspective is necessary.
- What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?
The diversity of my classmates is extraordinary. The differences not just in race, gender, color, nationality, etc. but the uniqueness of each classmates’ experiences, interests and attitudes is amazing. My classmates cut across many different age groups yet everyone is sharp, engaging, and very accomplished. An example of this uniqueness came during LR1 where the class participated in a discussion on how leveraging diversity in a global context give firms a competitive advantage. A respectful yet heated debate ensued; I was enlightened by my classmates’ views and opinions on the topic of diversity and how and why organizations should achieve diversity. To hear points of view from people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds provided level-setting for me and the entire cohort and carries over to my Learning Team and how we work with each other within this smaller group.
- What advice do you have for prospective students?
Your career, and ultimately your life, is a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on your needs professionally and personally. Where do you see yourself pre-MBA and post-MBA? Once you’ve identified this roadmap, how well does an MBA, specifically a Darden MBA, align to those needs and help you extract the most value during that journey?