In this blog series, we take a closer look at the innovations detailed in our recent Executive MBA Program press release. Today, we discuss the important role that Charlottesville will continue to play in the updated program. Pro Tip: Be sure to also check out our podcast interview with Jim Detert all about the program innovations, as well as our previous posts about career curriculum enhancements, enterprise leadership course design and our new base location in Rosslyn.
Beginning with our Class of 2021, both sections of our Executive MBA class will be based in the Washington, DC area at Darden’s state-of-the-art facility, Sands Family Grounds. However, the main grounds of the Darden School and Charlottesville will continue to be important touchstones for EMBA and GEMBA students.
All students will begin and end the program with a week-long leadership residency in, you guessed it, Charlottesville. There will also be additional opportunities throughout the 21 months of the program for students to experience all that Cville has to offer. In other words, as an executive format student, you will get the best of both worlds (or all worlds when you consider students also participate in at least one, week-long global residency).
While things are still very much in the planning stages, the ideas being discussed for these signature Charlottesville experiences range from Shark Tank-styled pitch nights to UVA athletic events. The goal is simple: To ensure that every student feels a deep and abiding connection to the University of Virginia.
We recently caught up with Assistant Dean for the Executive MBA Program, Barbara Millar, to discuss how Charlottesville will continue to shape the Executive MBA Program experience.
What role do you see Charlottesville playing in this next chapter of the Executive MBA Program story?
Charlottesville is a very special community, and the Darden Grounds represent the deep commitment of our alumni and the University to the innovative work we do and the vision we execute every day: developing enterprise leaders who lead with integrity.
As we enter this next chapter in our Executive MBA Program, we are proud to offer students two world-class locations, with weekend residencies in Rosslyn and leadership residencies in Charlottesville, not to mention transformational global experiences around the world.
It’s early, but any updates you can share about what you and the Program team are planning for some of these Charlottesville-based experiences?
We want to provide students meaningful opportunities to connect with the broader University, Darden and Charlottesville communities. To support that goal, we are planning two to three weekends in Charlottesville that will offer students an immersive experience combining thought leadership content with social/networking opportunities. While these weekends will be optional, we think the programming will be sufficiently compelling to attract significant participation from the class.
When you think about student experience, what are your goals for the Executive MBA Program?
I am proud to say our student experience is transformational for many of our students. Being around so many other bright, talented colleagues who both challenge and support each other allows for the creation of a culture where assumptions and perceptions are respectfully challenged and true learning takes place. Students come out of the experience a different leader than when they started.
When we launched the Executive MBA Program, it was important to us that students share the strong culture of community that is a hallmark of the Darden student experience. Our executive MBA students are working full-time in demanding careers with full and active lives. Add to this mix a challenging MBA program, delivered by some of the best faculty on the planet – all of whom have a deep commitment to student-centered learning – and you’ve got the perfect recipe for developing an extremely strong student culture. Students work together in teams and support each other throughout their 21-month adventure. It is an extremely rewarding experience.