Darden Admissions and the Network of Executive Women student organization recently hosted the latest installment in an ongoing event series exploring the UVA Darden Executive MBA student experience. The series has primarily focused on two areas that play pivotal roles in prospective students’ decision to pursue an Executive MBA program: time management strategies and career outcomes.  

Watch: Executive MBA Career Pathways

The virtual conversation featured two current students in our Executive MBA Class of 2021 and two recent alumni from a wide range of backgrounds — a journalist with a start-up venture, a prosecutor who was recently named a district court judge, a senior manager focused on ESG and financial communications and a healthcare organization vice president with a passion for venture capital. During the hour-long session, the panelists detailed their decision to pursue an MBA, how their career goals evolved during their time at Darden, how the program helped them explore potential career paths and more. 

Did you know that in a typical Executive MBA class, students hail from 20+ industries and over 100 unique employers? While the top industries represented vary from year to year, they frequently include Government/Military, Consulting, Financial Services, Technology, Pharma/Biotech/Healthcare and Non-Profit/Social Enterprises.

Here are a few more things to know about Career support available to UVA Darden Executive MBA program students:

  • Executive MBA community members often categorize students’ career goals along the categorical lines of climber (i.e. seeking to move up in current company), switcher (seeking to change function and/or industry) and entrepreneur (student seeking to launch own venture). Most students likely fall into the fourth category of explorer, meaning that they are considering two or more of the potential paths outlined above. Curious about the career life cycle for Executive MBA students? Check out our earlier podcast episode charting the phases of the career exploration process. 
  • As Senior Associate Dean Yael Grushka-Cockayne noted in her recent blog Q&A, students’ career interests evolve over the course of their 21 months of study, and one of the best things about being an Executive MBA program student is that you will be surrounded by colleagues who are all working and interested in learning about different career paths. Classmates are often the source of job leads, recommendations and even opportunities. 
  • Executive MBA students have access to a dedicated team of career professionals, and this support actually begins before classes even start. In the summer, students gain access to a self-paced, career-focused course, “Career Development WhyFinding (CDWhy).” They are also invited to schedule a Career Kick-Off meeting, a one-on-one conversation with a Career Coach. 
  • Career support in the Executive MBA program also includes a curricular component. In the very first quarter of the program students take the Professional Advancement Course (PAC) led by Connie Dunlop, Executive Director for Professional Advancement. In this class, the student is the case, and over the course of the quarter, students create a personal roadmap for the years ahead. Interested in learning more? Check out The ExecMBA Podcast interview with Connie all about PAC.   

Interested in learning more? Darden Admissions and NEW have partnered on several webinars over the past few months, including two conversations about balancing work, life and school. Curious about how students fit Darden into an already full schedule? Check out the session recordings below:

Watch: Balancing Work, Life and School with NEW #1

Watch: Balancing Work, Life and School with NEW #2

We also invite you to explore the Network of Executive Women with their recent blog post about time management strategies as well as their podcast interview from Fall 2020.  

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