Executive MBA, Executive Student Profile, Student Profile or Feature

Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA: Laura Pettus, GEMBA ’18

By Darden Admissions-

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.

GEMBA student Laura Pettus


Name: Laura M. Pettus
City: Washington, DC
Employer: U.S. Department of Commerce/National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Years of Experience: 15 years
Format/Section: GEMBA/Rosslyn

  1. What is your current job?
    I’m a Deputy Associate Administrator within the federal government. I have spent years establishing and managing programs dedicated to public safety communications and broadband. More recently, I’ve been focusing my time on managing the day-to-day operations of our division: supervising staff, leading hiring actions, managing contracts, and developing budgets.
  2. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
    I am looking for a change outside of the federal government. Not knowing exactly what will be my next step, I wanted to get some additional business knowledge to help translate my federal experience to the private sector.
  3. Why did you choose Darden?
    I applied to several schools and ultimately it came down a decision between Darden and another school. The Darden location and format fit better with my work-life-school balance.
  4. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA?
    Two things attracted me to the executive format. First, I’ve been working full-time for almost 20 years, and the thought of learning from other experienced executives was appealing to me. Second, after weighing the opportunity cost of exiting the workforce for two years, the math just didn’t work.
  5. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?
    My classmates are intelligent, diverse, engaging, and fun.  We bonded instantly and after only a week, I now have a whole new support system of people that will be on this journey with me.
  1. What are you most excited about accomplishing/doing during the program?  
    I’m really excited about the international travel of the GEMBA format and learning about business from a global, multi-cultural perspective with on-the-ground experiences.
  2. What advice do you have for prospective students?
    There is never going to be the ‘right time’ to work full-time and go to school full-time. The Executive MBA is a major commitment of time and money, but investing in yourself and in your growth are precious gifts.