Executive MBA, Executive Student Profile, Student Profile or Feature

Meet Darden’s EMBA & GEMBA – Christine McLean, EMBA ’18

By Isabel Adams-

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.

EMBA Student Christine McLean

Name: Christine McLean
City: Alexandria, VA
Employer: United States Air Force
Section/Format: EMBA/Charlottesville

  1. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

As a veteran, a mom, and a woman who wants to lead an organization, I viewed business education as an essential step to building an impactful career.  Although I’ve had quite a bit of leadership experience, I lacked the knowledge of finance, accounting, and general business management that are needed in the private sector.  There is no perfect time in life to get an MBA, and even though I have a lot of major life events going on, I ultimately decided to simply take the first step and make it work.

  1. Why did you choose Darden?

The Darden EMBA program perfectly suits my priorities and accommodates the competing demands in my life.  As a mother of small children, I value every minute spent with family.  My most valuable asset is time, and the structure of this program maximized my family time, while offering a top-ranked program taught by world-class faculty.  I was also impressed by the incredible cohort of females in the class who want to lead and take on new challenges in business.  I have always believed that if you want to improve, you have to surround yourself with people that can elevate you, and there is no better place for that than Darden.

  1. You just had a baby. What was it like having a child in the first couple months of the program? How did you balance the demands of being a new mom with school, work, etc.?

Starting the program while 9-months pregnant was challenging – no doubt.  However, all parents have to be masterful at prioritizing time and effort.  For me, this was just amplified by the addition of a new baby in the first semester of classes.  I have had a lot of help from a very supportive spouse, family, friends, and my learning team, who have all been incredibly helpful whenever asked.  The faculty have also been incredibly gracious and understanding that students have families, work demands, and lives outside of the program, all while expecting the same level of commitment to the program as the full-time students.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?

They are an incredible source of inspiration.  They come from such impressive backgrounds and have amazing experiences and insights.  We all have so much going on in our lives, but everyone is making it work and is so energetic and happy to be a part of the class.  Our diverse experiences make class discussion insightful, thought-provoking, and motivating.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about the program so far?

My classmates and the opportunity to learn a completely new skillset directly from the best professors in the country.

  1. What advice do you have for moms considering pursuing their executive MBA?

There is never an ideal time to pursue an MBA.  If you want to make this a priority, commit to the program and work with your family and loved ones to develop a plan to make it work.  You will have to be creative to manage your time, but the program will benefit you and your family for a long time to come.  This is an investment in your education, and you are well worth it.