Academics, Admissions, Darden Community, Darden News, Full-Time MBA

P&Q Highlights Darden’s Compassionate Approach for Students, Applicants

By Maggie Dodson-

Darden recently announced measures being taken to ensure flexibility and compassion for applicants and students in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including new admissions processes for Round 3 and options available for the start of school for the classes of 2021 and 2022.

MBA-focused publication Poets and Quants recognized Darden’s recent steps in an article highlighting the School’s student-centric approach to these decisions.

Dean Scott Beardsley shared how his experience in the private sector has influenced his leadership during the global crisis.

In common with business school deans all over the world, Beardsley finds himself grappling with the most severe crisis to confront society in this generation. Unlike many of his peers, however, the former McKinsey & Co. senior partner has made Darden an exemplar in how to lead and manage an institution of higher education through the present-day catastrophe.

Additional scholarship funding was also announced, in addition to more resources dedicated to enhancing Darden’s renowned student experience.

The school also said it would deploy additional need-based aid to MBA students through a hardship fund, add more money to back new scholarship resources, created an administrative team to work with students on their housing needs, and to even give students free lunches each day of class for all first-year students throughout the core curriculum to build community.

Dean Beardsley also expanded on the thinking behind the recent admissions and academic year updates .

 “We have just come off one of the most robust job markets of the post-World War II era and now there is a greater degree of uncertainty for some people,” explained Beardsley at the time. “Maybe now is a good time to go back to school. Education has been countercyclical and we want to make sure we are providing an opportunity for people to fulfill their full potential.”

Applications are up year over year and we admitted a very strong class so our recent innovations are coming from a position of strength and caring and trying to do what we think is the right thing,” Beardsley says. “Some of the people we admitted to live in countries that cannot even get a visa appointment. I have great sympathy and compassion for them. We are trying to be responsive. We are seeing a very strong surge in applications right now. We’re quite optimistic.”

Though Darden is on track to begin classes in August, included in the academic year updates is an innovative January alternate start for a select group of students who may be facing extenuating circumstances or are having trouble gaining a student visa.

Beardsley expects 60 to 70 of Darden’s incoming MBA class of about 340 students this fall to take advantage of the January start. “We think it would be one section,” he says. “It could be a little bit more but it will not be more than two sections. Most students we think will start as scheduled in August. Some students will face difficulties that make it impossible for them to start then, and we are committed to diversity and inclusion.

Read the full Poets and Quants article.

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