Today, in Shanghai, China, I announced that Darden will launch a new program, the MBA for Executives—Global or “GEMBA.” This is an extension of our very successful educational programs and will advance Darden’s mission by serving a new and global field of prospective “leaders in the world of practical affairs.” The program will aim to serve professionals with 10 or more years of work experience. Classroom instruction will be delivered in six intensive classroom modules “on the ground” in places such as China, India, Washington D.C., and Charlottesville. And we will add other venues consistent with the ongoing development of the global business economy.

By an historic unanimous vote on September 7th, the Darden faculty approved the launch of this new program.  This is quite a compliment to the many people who have been working to advance Darden’s global reach. And it bespeaks our serious commitment to having world-class impact.

We have many reasons for embarking on this new program:

· To advance our mission. Our mission statement expresses the aim of the Darden School “to improve society by developing principled leaders in the world of practical affairs.” The relevant arena of business is no longer restricted to just a country or a region. Business leaders must compete in world markets. Therefore business schools must grow closer to the world of business and develop views about global practices.

· To serve our vision. We envision that Darden will have world-class impact and stature. Carrying our degree program outside of the United States enables us to serve a wider geographic range of talented business professionals and to carry our insights about global best practices to a wider range of firms. It will also build the global recognition of Darden’s brand.

· To diversify our program offerings. GEMBA adds another leg to our table. The demand for the MBA degree is exploding in countries such as India and China. We can promote the stability and sustainability of Darden by advancing into this new arena. GEMBA will be a wonderful complement to our other highly successful programs, including our MBA Program, MBA for Executives Program, Ph.D. Program, and our Executive Education Programs.

· To enrich our “academical village.” We will develop new global case studies, games, digital media, exercises, teaching techniques, and technical notes to support the launch of GEMBA. Almost certainly, these new materials and insights will spill over into our other programs and enrich all of our activities. GEMBA will pay dividends to all of Darden’s students.

· To have fun. Where there is joy in the work, every task is light. Time and again, I have seen how Darden’s faculty and staff members drew energy and enjoyment from a teaching challenge. Every one of our high-performance programs became magnets for spirited teams of faculty and staff. The unanimous vote and numerous expressions of teaching interest suggest the appeal of this new program.

The many discussions within the faculty and staff have reaffirmed what will not change. For instance, we remain devoted to student-centered learning through methods of high-engagement teaching. The Honor System, leadership, general management orientation, and working with integrity remain core elements of our identity. And we will continue to offer a transformational learning experience that is rigorous.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will reach out to our extended family of students, alums, corporate partners, and the University of Virginia to help promote this exciting new program. We go forward with the enthusiastic wishes of so many stakeholders. Join with us in this transformational advance.