Today on the blog we’re excited to feature a Q&A with Stephen Beaudoin, an EMBA format student in the Executive MBA Class of 2022. Keep an eye on the blog for additional student profiles in the coming weeks, but if you’re interested in even more student interviews, be sure to also add The ExecMBA Podcast to your weekly download. New episodes are published every Friday and recent interviewees include a husband and wife in our second year class, a veteran who launched his own tech venture post-Darden and leaders of our Network of Executive Women student organization

Pictured in header: The Washington Chorus makes its debut virtual performance with Josef Rheinberger’s Abendlied, under the direction of Christopher Bell. Watch it here.

Q: What is your current role? What is your professional/academic background?

Stephen Beaudoin just before the Washington Chorus performed at the Kennedy Center Honors event.

A: Currently, I serve as Executive Director of The Washington Chorus, a two-time Grammy award-winning chorus celebrating our 60th anniversary that is a longtime artistic partner of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts here in Washington, D.C.

In this role, I lead the business side of our $2.4M annual operation, including leading our fundraising, strategy, business development, and public relations work, as well as managing our staff leadership team and collaborating with our Board of Trustees.

I have over 20 years of experience primarily in the nonprofit sector, with some stops in the public sector (former publicly elected school board chair) and private sector (with several mission-driven businesses). I hold a Bachelor of Music with Distinction in Performance from Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music. I also worked for several years as a professional vocalist in opera and musical theatre.

Q: How did you decide to pursue an MBA?

A: I had been chewing on going back to school for an MBA for several years. As I approached the mid-career point, I found myself hungry for a serious learning environment to accelerate my growth and development. The arrival of the COVID-19 global health pandemic only underscored the need to expand my toolkit and range to lead boldly, and with purpose, in a time of extraordinary uncertainty, volatility, and change.

Q: What led you to Darden?

A: I spent months researching the best EMBA programs across the country and was grateful to have been accepted to all six programs to which I applied. But it was Darden’s Socratic, case method approach, sterling reputation, and the alignment of Darden’s institutional values with my own that made this an easy decision for me.

Q: What has been the impact of your Darden experience so far?

A: Powerful! Already I’ve been able to apply tools and learning from the first few quarters directly to my leadership with The Washington Chorus. One example: utilizing lessons from the Decision Analysis and Leading Organizations courses, I led our team to successfully develop and launch a new Cameo-style personalized musical video message service over the holidays that has since blown past all financial performance projections for phase one.

I should also mention something essential: the collegiality and care of the student cohort. The Darden Executive MBA 2022 class shines bright with talent and heart. It is humbling to learn alongside these terrific humans.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for prospective students?

A: Know you, be you, and do you. The extraordinary diversity of the Darden student cohort – diversity of background, gender, race, professional and lived experience, and much more – is an enormous asset. Darden is not looking for one type of student 150 times over: it’s looking for 150 uniquely talented, singular, and committed leader-learners. Don’t be afraid to show and tell your unique story in the application process.

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