MBA-focused publication Poets & Quants recently named two Darden Executive MBA students to its 2021 Best & Brightest Executive MBAs list.

2021 graduates Corinne Bishop and Michael Long were highlighted in the annual list, which features students for their “contributions to the class, academic performance, extracurricular involvement, personal intangibles and unique personal stories.”


Bishop is a former middle school teacher who cited Darden’s “interactive and dynamic” case method teaching style as a factor for her decision to attend. During Bishop’s time at Darden, she served as an Executive MBA Class of 2021 community representative and was also active in the Network of Executive Women student organization. She also won the Concept Competition at UVA’s E-Cup for pitching her venture idea, Cred ID, a virtual wallet providing individuals with free, instant, and verified access to their qualifying skills and credentials.

Q: Who was your favorite MBA professor?

A: Gregory Fairchild – I took his “Entrepreneurial Thinking” and “Business Ethics Through Literature” classes. In both of these classes, Greg pushed us to create and share new ideas. I think creativity is so important for business leaders, and he cultivates that in students.

Q: What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work?

A: I learned how important it is to truly understand your own strengths and weaknesses and to build teams around that. When bringing together a group of people at work, I find myself seeking out others who have different skills and perspectives than me to solve problems and challenges. This leads to much better results than bringing together like-minded people.

Q: What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program?

A: Understand your ‘why’ for getting an MBA. It is a huge commitment and you will find yourself juggling a lot at once. Knowing why you are doing it will help you stay grounded.

Q: What is the biggest myth about going back to school?

A: I had the impression that doing a master’s program later in life would be a more independent experience, and that you wouldn’t build as many close relationships as you do in undergraduate school. I was totally wrong about that. I could not have made it through the program without the support of my classmates, and I am honored to call them close friends.

Read Bishop’s P&Q feature here.

Long is an engineer working in cyber-security, and has both a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science. He is a self-professed photography enthusiast and Duke basketball fan who also serves on the board of a non-profit in Northern Virginia which enables stability and independence for families. During Long’s time at Darden, he was an active member of the Black Executive MBA (BEMBA) student organization, and a founding member of Darden’s EMBA Diversity Team.

Q: Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?

A: I am proud of my in-class room experiences, but it is truly the outside of class achievements for which I am most proud. Being a part of the Black Executive MBA (BEMBA) team at Darden and the EMBA Diversity team was truly rewarding. As part of being with both teams, we achieved great things together, not only for our cohort, but for Darden overall. We were able to leave the program in better shape than when we started. We achieved the following:

  • Establishment of an EMBA Diversity Committee
  • A required course on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)
  • Creation of a cohort welcome video made by BEMBA
  • Creation of a Darden MBA Oath
  • Creation of Diversity Dialogue Videos by our cohort, and
  • Raising ~$20,000.00 to make impact in communities of color with Amazon

Q: Who was your favorite MBA professor?

A: I must be that person who rebels and cannot follow simple instructions. I also must state I truly valued the teachings of all my professors, yet I still cannot settle on just one. I have two, Yael Grushka-Cockayne and Laura Morgan Roberts. They both are phenomenal professors for what they bring in the classroom. What cemented their induction in the Michael Long Hall-of-Fame (it’s a thing) is the space they were able to create in the classroom on tough topics. Their time, support, and flexibility in a challenging time from the pandemic to racial unrest during the cohort was a solid answer to “Why Darden?” for me. Their presence transcended my expectation!

Q: What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program?

A: Every person I spoke to about joining any program told me not go in with a mindset of what the program “will do for me.” Instead, I needed to find ways to be intentional in what you can do for the program. Our experiences do not need to be a one-way experience, but can be two-way.

Lastly, they told me it will be hard to do an EMBA by yourself in isolation, so engaging with your peers in your program and being able to lean on them and contribute with them is key. I learned in one of my courses how effective teaming can be, especially when all members feel apart of something. The program is tough, but it does not have to be a challenge faced alone.

Read Long’ P&Q feature here.

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