Darden Bringing EMBAs To Washington, D.C.

Dean Scott Beardsley of the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business

Dean Scott Beardsley of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business

A FOUR-FOLD INCREASE IN LOCATIONS FOR STUDENTS IN THE MBA FOR EXECS

“Both cohorts,” adds Beardsley, “will have a set of experiences in Charlottesville and in D.C. so even if you are in the cohort in Charlottesville, you will have an experience in Washington and vice versa. We are making sure that everyone will have a Washington experience and a Charlottesville experience. The faculty will evolve the program over time. There certainly will be events in D.C. tied to policy and key decision-making entities there, but we are not redesigning the curriculum (for D.C.).”

Besides the new location, the school is making a number of other changes. “We’re improving the overall executive offering to be more global, more flexible, and much more convenient,” says Beardsley, befitting Darden’s strategy to make itself more global and student-centric. Darden will increase the locations for global study four-fold for its MBA for Executives program and nearly 2.5 times for its GEMBA program. “That is partly because in the past EMBA format, most students did one international experience and in the GEMBA they would do four international experiences at two weeks each,” explains Beardsley. “We have changed it so that an EMBA can do more than one. They can do two, plus we added the option to do global consulting projects, global business experiences, plus job treks to Silicon Valley, Hong Kong, New York, and London. They were not previously available in this format.”

Beardsley says that EMBA students will now get to choose among more than 30 locations for these experiences or projects. “If you are an ambitious globetrotter,” he adds, “you could do 15 locations in ten countries over the two years. The menu of choices you have is vastly superior. This will create further integration across the different formats. This is more about being student centric and trying to offer the best possible experience to what students want. They want global, flexibility and convenience and they want to be integrated into the UVA and Darden community.”

‘IF WE WANTED TO JUST GROW, WE WOULD INCREASE THE SIZE OF OUR COHORTS’

Beardsley says that the objective for the changes is less about growth and more about serving student needs. “If we wanted to just grow, we would increase the size of our cohorts, but we have not gone down that path. The main driver is to provide a truly exceptional experience and to strengthen our connection to Washington D.C. At the end of the day, no one has a crystal ball on demand but for me this is a national and international program.”

The dean says he believes there are three groups that should find the D.C. location more convenient. “No. 1 is the people in Washington who can miss work one day a month, but couldn’t miss work for two or three days and have to drive to Charlottesville,” he says. “A second group consists of those who live in any major city east of the rockies. It is pretty easy to get to this as well from New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago. The flights and trains are super easy and frequent.

“And finally we designed the format to be attractive for an international who might want to live in the U.S., but not have a fully residential experience. You can get an F1 visa and participate in the program and incubate a new company you are trying to develop while taking this format. That is another option. You could come improve your English, live in the U.S. take the executive format and have global experiences while you are doing that. That was not a segment we addressed in the past.”

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