Students in the Executive MBA Classes of 2023 and 2024 have just taken off for global residencies to Spain, Morocco and Vietnam. The program’s global residencies are a fan favorite among students, and we recently caught up with Director for Global Executive Programs Ladi Carr, to discuss this popular component of Darden’s Executive MBA program.

Ladi Carr, Director for Global Executive Programs

Carr organizes the global residencies and other global programming (for example, global client projects) for Executive MBA students, and as you will quickly gather from this Q&A, she has tremendous passion for her work. Her commitment is celebrated and recognized by many in the community — Carr received the annual “Friend of the Student” award from the Executive MBA Class of 2022.

She is truly a global citizen — originally from the Czech Republic, Carr has lived in the United States for over 25 years. Fun Fact: She holds dual citizenship, and her U.S. naturalization ceremony took place on 4 July at Monticello, the historic home of Thomas Jefferson.

Learn About Global Experiences

On Tuesday, 7 March, join Darden Admissions and the global residency program team for a webinar all about the global experiences available to Executive MBA and Part-Time MBA students at Darden. Sign up here.

Students on a global residency in Tallin, Estonia. Photo credit: Ladi Carr

About Global Residencies

Global residencies are week-long programs that take place during defined travel periods, and there are up to three concurrent trips offered during each travel period. For example, the Executive MBA Class of 2024, the travel periods are scheduled for after Quarter 3, Quarter 5, Quarter 7 and Quarter 9, and there is no other required academic activity during these weeks. If you are not traveling on a global residency during these weeks, you will have the week off, but there are often opportunities to take short, week-long electives for students who wish to get ahead on their credits.

There are up to 12 global residency locations offered per Executive MBA class, but the actual number of trips depends on student interest and demand. Incoming students submit their global residency preferences during the summer prior to the start of school, and they are informed of their global residency assignment during Leadership Residency 1 (LR1).

The residency locations vary by class, but the offerings for the Executive MBA Class of 2024 span all major continents: Chile, Morocco, Spain, Australia, Germany, South Korea, Argentina, Finland/Estonia, Ghana, Israel, India and Vietnam.

Activities during recent global residencies have been informed by three key questions

  1. What is it like to do business in the country?
  2. With the country?
  3. And for the country?

Global residency weeks are typically filled with company visits, speakers, cultural activities, and students often have downtime during the evenings to explore on their own. Students typically visit two cities, spending the first half of the week in one city before traveling mid-week to the second city.

Q&A With Director for Global Executive Programs Ladi Carr

Q: What do you enjoy about your role?

A: I think I have the best job in the world! I interact with people from all around the world, learn about different cultures and traditions, work with Darden’s amazing faculty, and interact with our smart and interesting Executive MBA students. It is an adventure in learning every day, and I love making connections and helping others to discover the world.

Q: How would you describe a global residency to a prospective student?

A: It will likely be one of your most memorable experiences at Darden. During a global residency, you will visit places you can’t go as a tourist. We will introduce you to people you probably wouldn’t meet any other way. You will grow your professional network and gain understanding for an incredible range of internationally important locations.

During your week abroad, you will meet with leaders from different organizations and go “behind the scenes” at a host of companies. And yes, you will have an amazing time with your classmates, getting to know them much more deeply, while enjoying and experiencing the culture of your location. It’s a very full week!

Behind the scenes during a global residency company visit. Photo credit: Ladi Carr

Q: How does the team choose the global residency locations?

A: There are many factors that shape our selections – availability of business visits, number of professional contacts we have, Darden alumni presence, but also time of the year, national holidays, weather and faculty availability. It is a complex puzzle, but we always try to pick locations students will find interesting.

There are typically a few residencies in places students will have traveled to previously, but it’s quite a broad list, and, as noted, even if you’ve visited a city or country before, a global residency will have a different feel than that visit. Many students will use the global residencies as an opportunity to visit locations they may be less likely to visit on their own. It’s also often the case that once a student goes on one global residency, they want to travel again.

Q: Tell us about some recent global residencies? Any highlights?

A: One recent global residency that stands out is the Executive MBA Class of 2023 global residency in Australia. The diversity of the business visits was absolutely amazing –visiting with an Australian Ballet board member inside the Sydney Opera House, to spending time at a nonprofit providing educational support and vocational training to indigenous boys, and meeting with the management of a well-known Australian surfing company, Rip Curl (which also included time on Bells Beach). And yes, we also tasted some amazing local wines and saw koalas and kangaroos.

Q: What are you looking forward to in the coming months?

A: I will be traveling with a group of Executive MBA Class of 2023 to Vietnam. This is a new location for Darden, and it has been wonderful making all the arrangements. Who knew that this year’s Lunar New Year in Vietnam is actually the year of Cat and not the year of the Rabbit? One of the cool things we’re doing during this residency is visiting the production line and meeting with the CEO of VinFast, known as the “Tesla of Southeast Asia.” They’ve just entered the U.S. market with their EVs, so this visit is really timely.

Executive MBA Class of 2023 Global Residency in Vietnam, February 2023
Photo credit: Ladi Carr

Q: You have always been such a powerful advocate for Darden’s GEMBA format – Why? 

A: GEMBA students have a unique opportunity to visit four locations during their time in the program, and I have noticed that after students participate in even two or three global residencies, they start making connections about the things they are seeing and experiencing on a deeper level, often relating experiences across global residency locations. The more locations you visit, the broader view and understanding you will have about the world, and your mind will open to other ideas and ways of doing business. You will truly gain a “global mindset.”

View the recording from Carr’s webinar all about global programming for Executive and Part-Time MBA students: