Darden Application Tips Webinar

Admissions Directors Catie Yeilding and Haley Whitlock-Gyory hosted a webinar answering audience questions about Darden’s application process. In case you weren’t able to join it live, or wanted to review the information covered, you can watch the complete webinar recording.

In this webinar, you’ll hear questions about how to best respond to the essay question, what types of work experience to incorporate into the application and how to best do that, what happens after you submit your application, details about the interview process, and much more. Catie and Haley do an excellent job of explaining what Admissions Committee members want to see in an application and how to best represent your complete self in your application. You can read specifics about the 2017-2018 Application Deadline here.

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Webinar with Darden’s European Society

Four members of Darden’s European Society recently sat down to talk about why they chose Darden, what intrigued them about a global experience, and their experience thus far at Darden and in Charlottesville. You can read Felix, Ilja, Alexis and Josep’s bios below.

Moderator and Admissions Director, Katherine Alford, asked the four what they have enjoyed or found surprising about Charlottesville. They all agreed that even though it’s a small town, there’s tons of culture – arts, music, food, vineyards, sports and more.

When asked about their experience in the classroom and with their classmates, the group discussed how they have learned and grown in every class, even when their expectations were that the class would be covering content they already knew. Felix said he gets three days’ worth out of every day because there is so much to do and so much to learn.

The four discussed the wealth of clubs and extracurricular options that abound at Darden – everything from the student government, to Darden Capital Management, to the outdoor sports club.

Finally, the group suggested some great tips for anyone going through the application process with Darden. Check out the full webinar to hear all of what they say. You can learn more about Darden’s European Society on their website.

Meet the Panel Members:

Ilja Orre:

Ilja was born and raised in Helsinki, Finland. He’s spent the last 10 years in the US, earning his Bachelor’s degree at College of Willam & Mary and working for Ferguson Enterprises, an industrial giant in sales and marketing management roles. Ilja’s next career step will be to join Bain & Co. in the Nordics, where he hopes to build a career in Bain’s Customer Strategy & Marketing group.

Felix Artmann:

Felix, 30, from Munich/Frankfurt Germany. He had undergraduate studies in Business and Mechanical Engineering. He chose to go for the entrepreneurial path after school right away and started as an entrepreneur in residence, became cofounder of Bonaverde and has been working in a seed venture capital company for the last 4 years. Felix wants to do something along the “entrepreneurial” value chain – from founding his own business to VC/PE.

Alexis Moulin:

Alexis from Lyon, France. He studied Business Administration at the University of Lyon and at the University of Marseille. He has a strong experience in analytics and managerial accounting. As a managerial accounting manager, Alexis helped the company he worked for 4 years to recover its profitability after a threatening slowdown and he is now eager to solve new financial challenges as intern for the next summer. After graduation, Alexis wants to work in a corporate finance role in a large corporation.

Josep Martinez:

Josep is from Barcelona. He studied Business Administration, Bachelor and Master, at ESADE Business School. Before Darden, he worked in turnaround consulting for 6 years, focusing in strategy and finance. He worked at a Corporate Development and Strategy department of an industrial company in London. After Darden, Josep wants to work in corporate development or corporate strategy for an industrial company in Europe.

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Podcast Interviewing Greg Fairchild, Associate Dean for DC Initiatives

Darden’s Executive MBA Podcast

The second episode of our podcast is now available! Check it out.

In this episode, we profile class visit opportunities, and interview Greg Fairchild, Darden Faculty member and Associate Dean for DC Initiatives, about the work he does with our executive format students. This episode includes part one of our interview with Greg. Stay tuned for the second half of our conversation in a later episode.

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The Sounding Board at Darden

An interview with Ruchir Ghildiyal, an executive format student at Darden’s Charlottesville location. 

Ruchir Ghildiyal, MBA for Executives 2018

What is the Sounding Board? What is the purpose of this informal group?  

The Sounding Board is a platform that encourages students to voice ideas, opinions, and thoughts they have on a problem they think can be solved. This group is a safe place to discuss such ideas that have the potential to be something worthwhile.

What prompted you to start this group?

Early in the program, we had a Professional Advancement Course with Connie Dunlop, and I observed that more than half of the class expressed an interest in entrepreneurship. Of course, we were all at different points in acting upon this interest, but I thought if we could create a platform for discussion, it might help at least a few of us move forward with our ideas. And The Sounding Board was born.

Is this resource available to students in Charlottesville and Rosslyn?

The Sounding Board started in Charlottesville, but it will be launched in Rosslyn during our next residency there. We are also looking at options to make it available virtually so that it is not limited by location.

How do you think Darden’s executive formats prepare students to launch their own businesses?

The availability of bright and experienced minds is a requirement for any idea to flourish. One of the reasons I chose Darden was the collaborative nature of its learning environment. When collaboration happens amongst bright minds who come from a variety of backgrounds, amazing things happen. Sounds abstract and vague, but at Darden, it’s actually very real. In my time as a Darden student, I have seen repeatedly how students, faculty and staff can shape each other’s thoughts and ideas in truly profound ways.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about Darden’s Executive MBA Program?

The best thing is the people – students, faculty, the Program team, Admissions team, everyone. I am not sure how it happens, but when a student needs an answer or help, everyone comes together to lend a hand. This support has particular impact for executive format students because we are all balancing a number of different things – work, family, personal and professional commitments, etc. – in addition to school. No one gets through a program as challenging as Darden without the help of others.

What advice would you offer a prospective student considering the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

Be open and be free. Darden is not just a school, it will soon be an extended family that will be a part of you forever. Be sure to make the most of every opportunity Darden presents. Be active in class participation, network with classmates, form friendships, and, most importantly, have fun.

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An Interview with Darden’s Veterans’ Student Association

Darden’s Veterans Executive Students

What is the name of your student organization? What is the purpose of your student organization?

Our group is the Veterans Executive Students at Darden (VESD), we serve the Executive MBA community as an affinity group by leveraging former and current military experiences to enhance career opportunities, build esprit de corps, and camaraderie within the entire Darden Community.

Why did you start your organization?

We felt this organization would be a great resource for Veterans in the Executive MBA Program. There are certainly unique challenges Veterans face as they transition from the military to a world class program like Darden’s executive formats, and we wanted to help support these students before, during, and after their time as students.

Darden is already such a close-knit and supportive community; one of the hallmarks of Darden is the incredible student body, faculty, and administrative staff who all work together and support one another. The VESD wants to add to that general sense of community, but from a veteran perspective.

What are your goals for your organization? Are you planning any programming or activities in the upcoming year?

We are planning a Class of 2019 welcome event, a joint Happy Hour with the Darden Military Association and extended joint networking opportunities with the Veterans in Darden’s full-time format. We also plan to co-host a community service and a charity event during the 2018 holiday season.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about Darden’s Executive MBA Program?

As previously mentioned, Darden does a fantastic job of fostering a genuine spirit of community within the Executive MBA Program.  Everyone genuinely wants to help each other succeed, whether it’s in the classroom or with a job search. It’s truly amazing how willing our classmates are to help each other, and the people and the sense of community really make Darden a truly special place to learn.

What advice would you offer a prospective student considering the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

A few different things come to mind: Do it, and don’t look back. Jump in with both feet, and give it your all. People always wonder how they will be able to juggle this program with everything they have going on in their life, but you will find a way to make it work. You’ll get more out than you put in, and in the end you’ll have greater understanding of the business (and civilian) world, and a strong network to leverage as you chart the next chapter in your career.

How can an interested prospective student connect with your organization?

Email the Veteran Exec Students at Darden at VESD@Darden.virginia.edu or the VP for Admissions at coppoj18@darden.virginia.edu.  The other plug I would make is that we can be our own recruiters and help the Darden Admissions team with referrals.  Please encourage any veterans who may be good candidates or interested in one of the best EMBA programs in the world to consider applying and reaching out to find out more information.

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Summer Stories from the Tech Club

The Darden Technology Club (DTC) is one of over 50 student-run clubs and organizations here at Darden. With over 200 members, DTC is dedicated to connecting its members with opportunities at tech companies, providing industry knowledge from thought leaders, offering hands-on skills training, and providing mentorship and recruiting support.

This summer, members of the DTC are hard at work at internships around the globe, and are sharing their intern experiences with us. Last week we heard from Kelly Sullivan (’18) who interned at Beverage Analytics™ by WeissBeerger. This week Breana Fife shares about her internship experience at Airbnb!

Breana Fife, ’18: Airbnb

Breana Fife ’18












“What’s the best aspect of interning at Airbnb?” I cannot count the number of times I’ve been asked this question over the past few months. I think people expect me to talk about the unique office, in-house chefs, or Airbnb credits; but I see all of those things as icing on the cake. For me, it’s the people.

I had three main criteria going into recruitment: I wanted to be in the tech space, to work for a company that truly values its employees, and perhaps most of all, I wanted to contribute in a meaningful way to said company. I knew Airbnb was a good fit from my first interview with the recruiter. During this interaction, she walked through the entire process from first interview to first workday. These included a typical phone screening, a couple of function-specific interviews with managers, and one additional interview I didn’t expect. It was a core values interview. She said cultural fit was equally important as the ability to perform on the job.

On my first day, I saw exactly what she meant. I met so many brilliant people from extremely diverse backgrounds who were also very humble and excited to be working towards Airbnb’s mission of everyone belonging anywhere. It actually felt like I was back in the Darden classroom. At Airbnb, like at Darden, everyone brings something new and unique to the table. I saw first-hand how synergizing diverse strengths helps Airbnb push closer to its goal.

I feel very fortunate that Darden and my prior working experience prepared me for my internship within Product Management of the Growth Team at Airbnb. My main project for the summer was to take an ambiguous concept, make it more concrete, and conduct a competitor analysis surrounding this concept. I constantly found myself thinking back to similar cases or discussions we had in class, and I realized how invaluable some of those takeaways are. More than that, how valuable it is to embrace ambiguity and figure out how to manage it.

I have two pieces of advice for incoming First Years:

1. Absorb as much knowledge as you can during your time at Darden

2. Prioritize what you’re looking for in an internship and stick to it throughout the recruitment process. It may end up that you’ll find your dream job or that you’ll realize the things you thought were important to you really aren’t. Both are equally as valuable.

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What’s it Like to Attend Darden? Find out on September 25

Come experience what it’s like to be a Darden student on Monday, 25 September! Darden Admissions is excited to host an open house for all prospective applicants interested in learning more about our full-time MBA program. Each open house consists of a class visit, tour, lunch with students, and admissions and financial panel. In the afternoon, we will dive more in to the particular area of focus with a panel discussion and faculty talk. The afternoon portion on Monday will focus on asset management. Even if this isn’t your particular area of focus, you will learn more about life at Darden and how students are using what they learn to propel their future.

Associate Professor of Business Administration Rich Evans will share more about teaching at Darden, his research, and the Darden Capital Management Club. This student-run club impressively manages the Darden Fund, Jefferson Fund, Cavalier Fund, Rotunda Fund and Monticello Fund, totaling approximately $10 million in assets.

Learn more about the Darden Capital Management Club in this video.

Check out details about Monday’s open house and register by 8 pm on Thursday, 21 September.

If you can’t make it to Darden on the 25 September, we’d love for you to attend one of our other open house events this fall!

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An Interview with Darden’s Black Executive MBA Student Association


BEMBA Student Association President, Arica Booker, and Vice President, Corbin Norman

What is the name of your student organization? What is the purpose of your student organization?


The Black Executive MBAs (BEMBA) mission is to enrich Darden and the broader UVa community by piecing together the minds, experiences, and resources of past, present, and prospective Darden executive format students to discuss issues of African-American business, economics, culture, and history.

Open to all, BEMBA is one of the first student associations chartered in Darden’s Executive MBA Program, and we plan to serve executive format students with a variety of programming – including leadership development, fellowship activities, community service, and conversations on topics of diversity and inclusion.

Why did you start your organization?

We wanted to play a key role in Darden’s increased focus on diversity and inclusion in the classroom and the Darden community. We believe a student-led organization that engages senior leaders and executives in conversations around topics difficult to discuss yet necessary to uncover is the best avenue for us to make meaningful contributions to our school, business, and society.

Are you planning any programming or activities in the upcoming year?

This year, our programming will focus on three primary areas:

1) Professional development through both networking and career planning;  

2) Supporting Darden’s admissions team in their efforts to continue to grow the number of African Americans interested in the Executive MBA Program. In fact, on 15 September, we’re co-hosting a networking breakfast for African-Americans interested in the executive formats of the Darden MBA. Read additional details, including registration information.

3) Influencing the Darden curriculum to include more cases on diversity and inclusion issues in business.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about Darden’s Executive MBA Program?

It is extremely difficult to identify just one thing positive about the Darden’s Executive MBA Program so we will mention two.

The diversity of our classmates is extraordinary. The differences not just in race, gender, color, nationality, etc. but the uniqueness of each of our classmates’ experiences, perspectives, interests, and attitudes is amazing.

Secondly, the personal and professional network among classmates, alumni, faculty, and staff here is unmatched. In many ways, this network of global leaders and influencers will be one of the most significant takeaways from our time on grounds.

What advice would you offer a prospective student considering the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

Your career and ultimately your life is a marathon, not a sprint. Reflect on your needs professionally and personally. Where are you pre-Darden? Where do you want to be post-Darden? Once you’ve identified those gaps, it is time to put together a roadmap for success. Does an MBA fill in those gaps? Why Darden? This period of reflection and planning will really help you to extract the most value from the Darden experience.

How can an interested prospective student connect with your organization?

Reach out to the President or Executive Vice President of the Black Executive MBA group (see emails below) and join us for breakfast on September 15!

Arica Booker, President BookerA18@darden.virginia.edu

Corbin Norman, Executive Vice President NormanC18@darden.virginia.edu

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Darden Hosts Networking Breakfasts in the DC Area

In addition to scheduling a class visit in September or October, there are several upcoming opportunities in the DC area to learn more about Darden.

We will host a series of networking breakfasts – one for women and another hosted by our Black Executive MBA organization. These informal gatherings are a great way to connect with current Darden students and staff, meet other prospective students and ask any questions you have about the executive formats of the Darden MBA. We hope you will be able to join us!

Darden Networking Breakfast hosted by our Black Executive MBA Organization
15 September – Arlington, Virginia (Rosslyn)
7:30 – 9:00 am
Click Here to Register

Darden Women’s Networking Breakfast
29 September – Arlington, VA (Rosslyn)
7:30 – 9:00 am
Click Here to Register

Can’t make one of these breakfasts? Be sure to keep an eye on our Events page for updates in the coming weeks!

Ready to take the next step? We encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee. We offer both phone as well as in-person (Office Hours) conversations.

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We’ve Got a Podcast!

Do you like podcasts? Are you interested in the executive formats of the Darden MBA? Well, you are in luck!

We recently launched our Darden Executive MBA Podcast. On this podcast, we explore our Executive MBA (EMBA) and Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) formats, tackling a host of topics ranging from Admissions questions to the student experience and everything in between. Episodes are hosted by Brett Twitty, Director of Admissions for the executive formats of the Darden MBA and feature interviews with current students, program staff, faculty and more!

Check out out our first episode! In this episode, we introduce the podcast, as well as our Class of 2019, and highlight a few upcoming application deadlines. Exciting!

Have an idea for a podcast segment? Please email your comments, suggestions and ideas to ExecMBA@darden.virginia.edu

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