Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA: Albert Mirzoyan, EMBA ’18

Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.

Name: Albert Mirzoyan

EMBA student Albert Mirzoyan

City: Washington, DC
Employer: Corning, Inc.
Years of Experience: 7
Format/Section: CHO/EMBA

1. What is your current job?

Business Development for Corning, Inc.

2. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

I wanted an MBA for several reasons. First and foremost, I wanted to advance my career and I knew that there would be limitations for growth within my corporation without this degree. I also wanted to strengthen my business acumen in areas such as accounting, finance, corporate strategy, and analytics.

3. Why did you choose Darden?

The case method. In my opinion, it is simply the best way to learn and push yourself professionally and personally. Though it might be intimidating at first, I feel it is, by far, the most effective method of learning. Yet an effective case method would not be possible without a world class faculty and that is exactly what you get with Darden. Additionally, the Darden community has a way of making you feel at home and part of a very large family. As an example, I reached out to several alumni, via email, for program feedback and their own take on Darden. Out of the 7 inquires, 6 of them replied within a day with highly insightful advice and perspective. Prior to becoming a student, I was also invited to a dinner party where I had a chance to meet several alumni that provided another layer of perspective of what to anticipate and how to prepare for success in this program.

4. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

The level of experience of the section along with the flexibility that the format offers. Classes with a seasoned group of students gives you a unique advantage to learn through their deep experience and knowledge. During the first leadership residency, it was captivating to hear perspectives on diverse issues such as ethics in business, leadership, accounting methodology, and financial reporting from an individual working as a Forensic Accountant at SEC, a physicist and a physician, to name just a few of the professions represented in the class.

As a full time employee, the executive formats were a perfect match for me because I do not have to pause my career. At this point, taking two years off to go back to school would cause me to lose some of the momentum, mentors, and opportunities I’ve been working towards at my current company. Additionally, I really liked that I would be able to apply everything I would learn in class to my day to day operations at work.

5. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?

The level of diversity in experience, job functions, accomplishments, and drive to make a difference in their companies as well as the world. A particular story that really stood out to me involved one of the students recalling his interview experience, which may I add, differed vastly from mine. Given his military background, he described how it was conducted in a tent via Skype during one of his missions while being deployed overseas, in what sounded like a fairly hostile environment. Another involved a cardiac surgeon recalling an emotional story that he experienced on the job. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity learn alongside attorneys, physicians, navy seals, consultants and a nuclear physicist.

6. What advice do you have for prospective students?

Really evaluate what you are looking to get out of your MBA experience. I found it helpful to list top 10 priorities that I needed in a program and compare it to a particular program I was considering. Make sure to talk it through with your partner/significant other and ensure they understand the time and commitment the program will take. You will spend, on average, 25-30 hours a week preparing for class on top of your full time job. As such, you need to be extremely open with those that are close to you so that they are not blindsided by the nature of this new commitment. You will need their full support and help over the next two years, so it’s important that they are fully onboard.

Time management is also critical and I highly recommend planning your week or even month ahead of time to ensure you carve out slots for those that are important in your life.

I encourage every prospective student to sit in on a class, talk to the admissions staff and current students. This is important because literature, websites, or any other type of reading only provides you a fraction of what this program entails. Prior to becoming a student, I was able to sit down with several alumni that gave me really great advice about the school and the community, further solidifying my desire to join Darden. Additionally, you might have an idea of what teaching via case method means, but it will never give you a full perspective if you don’t experience it for yourself. I thought I knew all there is to know about this type of teaching style until I actually sat on one of Professor Ron Wilcox’ marketing classes. It was transformative. In just 60 minutes, and not having read the case, I felt extremely captivated by the classroom discussion. Up to that point, I have never experienced a classroom that provided this type of excitement and interactivity while learning about very important business topics.

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Join Us: Darden Admissions on Facebook

Mark your calendar! Darden Admissions will be Live on Facebook tomorrow, 9 December at 12 noon EST.

Join us as we chat with three current students about their Darden experiences so far and what advice they have to share with prospective students and applicants.

Simply visit our Facebook page at noon tomorrow to join in. We will see you there!

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Join Darden Alumni at a Coffee Chat in Shanghai

Prospective students in Shanghai are invited to attend a coffee chat with local alumni to learn more about the Darden MBA. Whether you are working on your Round 2 application or just beginning your MBA research, this is a wonderful way to get to know Darden.

Darden School Coffee Chat
Saturday, 10 December from 2:30 to 5:00 PM
University of Virginia China Office
55 West Fuxing Road, Room 101
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200031 China

There is no need to register in advance – simply show up to chat with alumni about the Darden MBA. We hope you’ll attend!

 

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B-School Panel Discussion in Herzelia

Members of Darden’s Israeli alumni chapter have teamed up with alumni from other top business schools to host an event for prospective MBA students on 29 December, 2016, in Herzelia.

Ilan Danieli (MBA ’00) and Shep Friedman (MBA ’13) will be speaking on a panel with other alumni from top-ranked US business schools such as Fuqua (Duke), Ross (Michigan), Kenan-Flagler (UNC), and Kellogg (Northwestern). Please join Ilan and Shep to learn more about the Darden experience.

For more information and to register please click here.

*This is not a Darden-sponsored event.

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Upcoming Executive Formats Deadline – 28 November

Our next application deadline for the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA is quickly approaching on Monday, 28 November. In the below video, Brett Twitty shares some resources to help you complete your application over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Watch: Executive Format Application Resources

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Meet Darden’s EMBA & GEMBA: Sarah Rand, EMBA ’18

Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.

EMBA student Sarah Rand

EMBA student Sarah Rand

Name: Sarah Rand
City: Washington, DC
Employer: National Retail Federation
Years of Experience: 12
Format/Section: EMBA ROS

  1. What is your current job?

I’m the vice president, digital communications at the National Retail Federation. I spend my days figuring out how to use the digital tools (websites, social media, advertising, etc.) to activate our grassroots base, share research and news with retailers, promote educational opportunities, reach policymakers and tell the industry’s story.  That sounds like a lot, but at the end of the day, I’m simply helping retailers – small and large – by making sure they have the tools and information they need, as well as the support of their representatives, so they can focus on what they do best.

  1. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

I love what my organization does and why. We support an industry that supports 1 in 4 American jobs. I was looking for an opportunity to make a bigger contribution to our mission and realized an MBA would give me the skills to do that.

  1. Why did you choose Darden?

This is my second master’s degree, and I know a good professor makes all the difference. Darden’s faculty are really highly regarded. I knew that learning from them would be a challenging, fruitful and more-than-worthwhile experience.

  1. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

At this point in my life, being a residential student wasn’t an option. I have two young kids, commitments in my community and a job that I can’t quit. The executive format fits into the parts of my life that I wasn’t willing to step away from.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?

Hands down, the diversity. I expected an EMBA program in DC to be a lot of “Beltway” types tied to the government in one way or another. I was surprised to find that there are scientists, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, non-profit professionals, engineers, active military and many more in my class. Listening to their experiences has immediately broadened my perspective.

It’s also an incredibly supportive group. We are a team, not competitors. When a classmate was especially nervous about a short speech, the entire class rallied around that individual. When someone shares something very personal to illustrate a concept, there’s a feeling of safety and an immediate show of support for that classmate.

  1. What are you most excited about accomplishing/doing during the program?

Putting what I learn into action immediately. I found myself on day one rethinking how I am approaching various challenges at work. I’m learning how to see things from different perspectives in order to find the best way forward. I’m thrilled that I don’t have to wait two years to benefit from the program.

  1. What advice do you have for prospective students?

Don’t hesitate. Don’t hesitate to do research the program – watch Darden’s videos, read testimonials, seek out the information that paints a picture of life as an executive student. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the admissions team – they are a wealth of information. Don’t hesitate to talk to friends (especially Darden alumni) who have been through an EMBA program – wrapping your head around life as a student gets easier with their insights. And absolutely don’t hesitate to bounce the idea of your boss, your family, your friends – getting support from square one is critical.

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A Note on Inclusiveness and Dialogue

We shared the below message with our applicants and also wanted to share it with all of our readers as a reminder of Darden’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Yesterday afternoon, our community gathered for a dialogue on inclusiveness. Today and every day, we know that people are experiencing a wide range of emotions and grappling with many complex opinions and thoughts.

As we move forward from here, we wanted to take a moment to remind you that Darden — and the University of Virginia as a whole — is and will continue to be mission and value driven. Our Dean, Scott C. Beardsley, tells us that “the Darden community’s commitment to global diversity and inclusion of people from all walks of life is steadfast.” At Darden, we value a safe space to share our opinions, as well as the opportunity to learn from our peers and their opinions. Nothing will change that.

Please reach out to us for anything you need or with any questions you may have.

Best wishes,
Darden Admissions

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Interviewing Tips from Admissions Dean Sara Neher

Darden interviews are by invitation, and we will begin to send interview invitations for Round 1 over the coming weeks (interview invitations will continue up until the decision release day). In the below video, Admissions Dean Sara Neher shares some helpful tips for Darden’s interview process.

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Watch: Sara Neher’s Interview Tips

If you found this video helpful, you can watch the rest of Sara’s application tips videos here.

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Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA: Chris Barchet, GEMBA ’18

Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.

Chris Barchet, GEMBA '18

Chris Barchet, GEMBA ’18

Name:  Christopher (Chris) Barchet
City:  Philadelphia, PA
Employer:  JPMorgan Chase
Years of Experience:  8+
Format/Section:  GEMBA/Rosslyn

  1. What is your current job? I am in the Military Officer Executive Development Program at JPMorgan Chase, a three-year rotational program that operates across the firm.  Now in my second rotation doing Marketing Strategy and Analytics for Chase.
  2. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?  I have always been enamored by business innovation, and a career in business appealed to me. My rotational program at JPMC provides the time-sponsorship to pursue my MBA and with 100% GI Bill eligibility, it made perfect sense. I am also just objectively interested in the pursuit of higher education and the business knowledge and skills needed to be successful in my career.
  3. Why did you choose Darden? I’m a 2008 graduate of UVA so I suppose there’s a bit of Wahoo that now runs through my blood!  But all biology aside, I love Darden’s approach to learning.  Darden is consistently rated incredibly on its student experience and faculty, who teach exclusively via the case method.  I am a hands-on learner and know that I thrive best when I dive into the material.  Being challenged to engage in class constantly is something I know will make me a better student and professional.  As well, Darden has an incredibly innovative format between the various formats – GEMBA and EMBA – and locations – Rosslyn and Charlottesville – and is an MBA program on the rise, with a value that will only increase over time.
  4. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far? The ease of friendship.  Everybody is excited to meet each other and be in the fight together.  Every meal, coffee break, walk to/from class, and beer at the pub was an opportunity to meet somebody new!  I made countless friendships and left the week wanting more time to meet people,
  5. What are you most excited about accomplishing/doing during the program? Diving into business overseas and broadening myself through the global residencies. Also, diving with sharks in South Africa!  I am planning to travel there a week early and explore the country and book an excursion to jump in the water with some Great Whites (albeit with the likely barrier of a cage of course).
  6. What advice do you have for prospective students? Be excited to learn!  Honestly, it’s worth saying that this should be about much more than your network and a block on the resume.  Come to Darden to broaden your mind, build a better business community and expand your professional network, and in that order.
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Meet Matt Miller, Class of 2018

If you’re thinking about applying to Darden, you may have wondered what your Darden classmates might end up being like — where they come from, what they enjoy, how they spend their free time. Darden’s classrooms are full of students with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, goals, and more. You never know who you might end up sitting next to and what you might learn from him or her.

In this video, get to know Matt Miller (Class of 2018). He’s a Darden First Year and an Olympic Athlete who participated in the Rio Olympics this past summer. And he’s just one of the 345 incredible students in this year’s class who each bring unique experiences to the Darden community. We hope you enjoy learning more about his journey!

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Watch: Matt Miller Profile

Want to get to know more of our students and hear about their experiences? Our student ambassadors are happy to answer your questions. We encourage you to reach out to them!

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