We recently sat down with Patrick Weeks (EMBA ’18) to learn more about his experience as a student in Darden’s Executive MBA and how he’s making the program his own.
My name is Patrick Weeks and I’m in the Darden Executive MBA class of 2018. I live in Alexandria, VA and belong to the Rosslyn cohort. In my day job, I lead business development and business operations at Sandboxx, a military-focused social media startup. I’m a Marine Corps veteran, and father to two boys, 1 and 4.
Why did you choose the Darden Executive MBA and what has the experience been like so far?
As a leader at Sandboxx on the business side, my goal is to leverage the Darden EMBA to grow personally along with our company. Honestly, the experience has exceeded my expectations so far. The Rosslyn-based network and the executive format are an ideal fit for my work. Our faculty is more than available to us—they truly invest in coaching and building a relationship with the class. Happily, I’ve found our curriculum immediately useful to my personal development and across business functions.
What sorts of leadership roles are available to students in the Executive formats?
Whatever your interest or personality, you can find a way to serve in a leadership role here. Besides Section Representatives who liaise with administration, we have Social Chairs planning activities for our on-grounds weekends. Career Reps foster career search opportunities and development. Admissions Reps support recruiting activities and host visiting students. The Community Outreach representative engages the class in local service opportunities. Lastly, there’s the Honor Rep.
You are the honor representative for the Rosslyn section of EMBA. Can you tell us a little bit about this role and why it was something you wanted to take on?
As Honor Representative, I serve as a liaison between our class and the school on any Honor or disciplinary matters. I communicate Honor Code related matters to my classmates. As I got to know the University history and brand, I was impressed by the commitment to the Honor Code. With roots going back to Thomas Jefferson himself, the Honor Code still makes a significant impact at the school. With high expectations for student integrity, UVA lives a culture of generous trust in students and strict discipline in violations. Impressively, the entire Honor structure at Darden, and UVA more broadly, is student-led.
Why is Darden’s Honor Code important to you? What role did the Honor Code play in your decision-making process (if any), and how has it shaped your time at Darden thus far?
The Honor Code is very much a part of our common language and everyday culture. I remember how impressed I was with a campus tour the first week I visited Charlottesville. An underclassman ended the tour by sharing his belief and pride in the Honor Code. Today I’m proud to also serve in a small way by representing the Honor Code and contributing to the culture of integrity and trust here. It impacts us every time we work on a paper or quiz, or speak to ethical matters in classes. The self-policing take home tests, for example, immediately differentiate this program from other schools’.
Any advice to prospective students as they think about going back to school?
What do you want out of an MBA and what do you want to invest in it? In my opinion, the network and brand has been as valuable as advertised. However, I would encourage potential students not to underrate the value of the classes and peer learning. The leadership development classes have genuinely made me a better coach at work, and even the class many fear most (Accounting) has paid dividends. There’s nothing more exciting than leveraging new skillsets to make a positive impact on the people and processes around me.
If you’re thinking about the Darden MBA, please feel free to reach out to me. Happy to share. It’s the Darden way!