We are thrilled to share highlights from our first podcast interview with two students from Darden’s newest MBA format – the Part-Time MBA!

Parker Lapeyre and Max Godwin (both Class of 2025) serve as co-presidents of the Part-Time MBA Student Association (PSA), and they recently joined us on the podcast to talk about their backgrounds, what led them to Darden, their goals for the PSA, advice for prospective students and more.

Read on for excerpts from the full conversation, and if you’re interested in learning more about Darden Part-Time MBA student experience be sure to check out our new webpage about the Part-Time MBA community.

What is your background? What led you to Darden?

Max: I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Maryland. I graduated with a B.S. in Economics and was on the varsity baseball team. My path to Darden started in the financial investment industry where I was a Financial Advisor / Retirement Plan Analyst. I decided to pivot to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (JHU/APL), and I am currently a Financial Manager in the Air and Missile Defense sector.

Maxwell Godwin (Class of 2025)

Higher education in the form of an MBA was always part of my plan and is a key reason why I landed at JHU/APL. I discovered that the lab has an incredible benefits package, which included educational support. My vision was to apply the lessons of an MBA in real-time to my job. The professors and curriculum at Darden have transformed my approach to everyday work. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn at The University of Virginia and for the amazing group of students in the inaugural part-time cohort.

Parker: I was born and raised in New Orleans, which was a fantastic place to grow up, and the city had a huge influence on me. I was recently talking with a few of my colleagues about how they chose their college and everyone applied to like 15 different schools. I applied to one school, which was Louisiana State University because I grew up an LSU football fan. That was the only thought that went through my mind!

Parker Lapeyre (Class of 2025)

So, I went to college at LSU, had a fantastic time there, and I majored in Economics. Towards the end of my time in undergrad, I realized I wanted to pursue finance. Growing up in New Orleans, it’s mainly oil and gas and hospitality, but not a lot of finance, so it wasn’t until college that I realized what the financial industry was. That led me to a master’s degree in finance, and I started my career with JP Morgan in the private bank. As time went on, I realized I wanted to work in investment banking, M&A specifically, and I currently work at Clearsight Advisors in Tysons where I mainly focus on sell-side M&A in the tech and tech services sector.

An MBA has always been part of my plan, and I had soft circled Darden as the program I wanted to attend. I’m probably on the older side for our class, and I’d started to think that my time to do an MBA had slipped by me. That is until I realized Darden was offering a Part-Time MBA. I had to do a double take when I saw the ad on Instagram. Everything just fell into place from there.

Tell us about the Part-Time MBA Student Association (PSA)

Max: The PSA is a group of 10 students from our cohort who volunteered to be the student leaders for the Part-Time MBA Program. We have been tasked with setting up the infrastructure within the student body and fostering collaboration with the program team, and the PSA endeavors to build a feedback loop that advocates for students to ensure long-term success in several areas. Whether it is something as important as career outcomes or a social subcommittee that organizes fun events. The PSA has quite a few things on the agenda to make the program everything it can be for each and every student.

Parker: The first thing we did as a committee was draft a mission statement. We felt it was important to have something that is a touchstone for us as a committee, and as we went through this process, some pillars began to emerge, things we wanted to make sure we got out of the program at the end of the day.

The first one was “Worth it.” The Part-Time MBA program experience has to be worth it. Everyone is coming to this program with a goal in mind – whether that’s to pivot a career, to get promoted, to gain a new network, learn a skill, maybe just make new friends. Whatever that is, at the end of the day, it has to be worth it.

The second pillar was “Part-time program, full-time experience.” We are incredibly fortunate that we are all local, so that experience that a residential program has with the parties and traditions and all of that, we’re layering that into the part-time program here as well, because it’s that important to us that we get that full time experience at the end of the day.

And then lastly, “Set it up and give back.” I think a lot of my classmates are like me when I say that the fact that we are the first cohort was a major plus to this program. We wanted to be the ones to set this thing up and make sure that it’s headed in the right direction. And then to also give back. When it’s our time to recruit part-time students or evangelize the benefits of the Darden part time program within our own organizations, we want to be able to do it and let people know how amazing of an experience and learning environment this is.