Academics, Admissions, Darden Community, Executive MBA

Newest Executive MBA Students Kick Off Record Year

By Maggie Dodson-

With Darden’s Executive MBA Class of 2022 in the midst of Quarter 1 classes, we wanted to share some highlights about the newest class of students. 

We are thrilled to welcome the latest Executive MBA students to Darden, and if you’re looking for even more insights about the 2022’s, be sure to check out the Meet the Executive MBA Class of 2022 webinar hosted by Admissions Committee members Brett Twitty and Katherine Alford.

This session is just one of many online events our team will be host in the coming weeks, including an Alumni Q&A, a conversation about entrepreneurship, an Ask Us Anything session with the Executive MBA Program team, a mock class and more. We look forward to seeing you online! 

Watch: Meet the Executive MBA Class of 2022 Webinar 

Finding Purpose in the Noise

The Class of 2022 officially kicked off with a short orientation on Sunday, 16 August, featuring a welcome session followed by team-building activities. While these activities would typically occur in person in Charlottesville, this year’s Orientation and LR1 were delivered virtually.

The highlight of the morning programming was the welcome keynote by Dr. Taison Bell (GEMBA ’20). In addition to being a recent Darden graduate, Bell is a Critical Care and Infectious Disease Specialist helping lead the UVA Medical Center’s response to COVID-19. 

Over the past few months, Bell has been involved with a number of other COVID-19-related initiatives, including Masks for Cville, a group Taison and two of his classmates, Tiffany Pillifant (EMBA ‘20) and Andrew Harris (EMBA ‘20), founded with other community members to help produce and supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for area medical providers. 

He has also been writing and speaking regularly about the coronavirus pandemic, including a COVID-19 Facebook Live series with Dr. Bryce Webb. If that wasn’t enough, during his time at Darden Bell launched a medical technology start-up — Owl Peak Labs — with his classmate Tim Harvey (GEMBA ‘20), focused on at-home colorectal cancer screening. 

Did we mention that Bell was almost late for his welcome speech because he stopped to assist injured motorists he passed while driving that morning? True story. For anyone considering Darden’s Executive MBA Program, this is essential viewing!

Watch: Executive MBA Program Welcome Keynote with Taison Bell

A Record Year

Darden’s Executive MBA 2019-2020 application was the most competitive admissions cycle in the history of the program, with a record number of applications. There was a 32% increase in started applications and 45% increase in the number of submitted applications. 

The Executive MBA Class of 2022 is 151 students strong, with women comprising 30% of the class and minority students accounting for nearly 20% of the total enrollment. 

Darden’s Executive MBA program has a unique integrated design with Executive MBA format and Global Executive MBA format students learning together. In fact, the only curricular difference between our executive formats is the number of required global residencies. 119 of the students in our Class of 2022 are EMBA format students, with 32 students selecting the GEMBA format. 

A Range of Experience

While our Executive MBA program has a preferred work experience minimum of 5 years, this hardly encompasses the full story of the individuals in our classroom. 

While the average age of the class is 34, with an average years of work experience of 11 years, the Class of 2022 has work experience range spanning from around 4 years to nearly 30 years. Fun fact: The class features a combined total of nearly 1703 years of work experience! 

Prospective students will often ask us about the word “Executive” in the name of our program. Is this program only for students who identify as “Executives”? Not at all! At Darden, Executive refers to a schedule or format, not a target student. However, it is worth noting that in the Class of 2022, 10% of the students identified as “Executive or C-Suite Executive.” 

Geographic Diversity

Where do most of our students live?

Most students considering a working professionals MBA program will look in their backyards before stepping on a plane or train to pursue their MBA. In a typical Darden Executive MBA class, roughly two-thirds of the students will reside in and around the D.C. Metro Area, with the remaining balance of students traveling from further afield. 

The Class of 2022 continues this trend, with around 60% of the students living within 40 miles of the program’s base location in Rosslyn. However, the Executive MBA Program, with its convenient once a month weekend residency schedule and hybrid design continues to attract students from beyond the capital region. Our newest class of executive format students includes residents from Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania. 

In terms of global diversity, the class also features citizens from a host of countries including the United States, Bahamas, Turkey, India, Peru, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico and Pakistan. 

 Poets and Quants

Prospective students often ask if they have the right background for an MBA program, and as our Class of 2022 clearly demonstrates, there is no single preferred background for Darden. 

As a general management school that practices the case method in the classroom, we want as much difference as possible in each class. This includes life experience, professional background, academic profile and more. Top undergraduate majors for the Class of 2022 include Engineering, Economics, Political Science, Biology, Finance, History, Communications, Business Administration and English. 

37% of our students arrived at Darden having already completed at least one Master’s or Advanced Degree. And in a truly unprecedented development, our Class of 2022 actually has more medical doctors (9%) than UVA undergraduates (7%). However, it’s worth noting that UVA remains the top undergraduate institution for our program. Let’s go, Hoos!

100+ Employers. 20+ Industries

You will often hear our students talk about being part of a curated class. As an Admissions Committee, our goal is to have as much diversity in the classroom as possible — after all, this makes for a truly vibrant, rich case discussion. 

As we assemble the class, we seek to have students from a wide range of employers and industries, and the Class of 2022 is a great example of this. The class boasts students from over 100 employers and over 20 industries. Top industries include: 

  1. Government/Military: 21%
  2. Pharma/Biotech/Healthcare: 14%
  3. Financial Services: 18 12%
  4. Technology: 10%
  5. Consulting: 8%
  6. Education: 5%
  7. Manufacturing: 5%
  8. Communications/Media: 5%

Employers with two or more students in the class include Capital One, Deloitte, U.S. Navy, Booz Allen Hamilton, Amazon, U.S. Marine Corps, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Vanguard, U.S. Army, S&P Global, Carilion Clinic, Marriott and Inova. 

Veterans are always important and valued members of our Executive MBA community, and 28% of the students in our Class of 2022 have a military background (veteran, active duty or other).

Interested in joining the Class of 2023? Our Executive MBA application is now live and our first deadline is 10 September. We offer monthly deadlines to give you maximum flexibility, and we encourage you to apply as soon as you feel like you can put together a strong application. 

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