The Executive Program: Strategic Leadership at the Top

  • What’s Possible? For executives to engage in business at the highest levels of risk and reward, they need to become true leaders of leaders by integrating personal power with keen management skills and mastering proven processes and tools designed to build the future. The Executive Program: Strategic Leadership at the Top (TEP) inspires exceptional leaders to think strategically, lead strategically and influence strategically, and in the process, answer the question What’s Possible? in your organization and beyond. 

  • At a Glance

    Prepare yourself for the role of a lifetime with The Executive Program: Strategic Leadership at the Top.

    You'll leverage all of your executive talents through three intense weeks of professional and personal development to emerge with the strategic expertise in leadership, thinking and influence necessary to command every level of business.

    The Program

    Crystallize your vision, self-awareness and holistic leadership capabilities with Darden's flagship advanced management experience for senior-level executives. Now in its 57th year, The Executive Program, also known as TEP, offers a comprehensive immersion into the principles, habits and lifestyles of next-generation leaders. Through courses that build on and compliment one another, you'll learn the core tenets of powerful business direction-strategic thinking, leadership and influence - in a context of personal enrichment and communal growth.


    Led by global economies and markets teacher Alan Beckenstein, a team of award-winning faculty experts in strategy, ethics, corporate finance, behavioral psychology and leadership, systems thinking, marketing strategy, and wellness will work across their functional boundaries and show you how to do the same. In case studies and simulations, you'll be asked to make difficult decisions with the same limited information as the leaders who faced those challenges in real life. You'll further hone your strategic thinking and communication skills in small teams of executive peers. Together, you'll prepare and defend responses to daily learning activities and debate the choices of classmates. You'll also consider the application of new concepts to your current position, and you'll identify a "back-home challenge" for which you'll develop a customized plan of action to launch upon your return.

    Your leadership development will continue off-campus during enrichment activities and workshops chosen by you and your peers. You'll expand on classroom concepts with topics like design thinking, financial management, entrepreneurship, or government and politics. You'll also improve your peak performance through a stamina-building wellness program that includes a course on cognitive fitness, structured exercise opportunities and a personalized wellness profile with risk ratings and recommendations for health improvement, so you can ensure that your physical, mental and psychological strengths serve you well during the program and the rest of your life.

    Where You'll Excel

    • Envision different futures for organizations from both leadership and management levels.
    • Use strategy mapping to align departments and establish corporate coherence and governance.
    • Examine financial strategies, including capital budgeting and operational structures.
    • Conduct conversations that navigate politics and inspire diversity of thought, inclusive dialogue and a high-performance culture.
    • Nurture cross-functional relationships and create leadership teams to more effectively manage change.
    • Question personal assumptions and mental models to enhance critical thinking and balance the tension between short- and long-term results.
    • Study branding for competitive advantage, building a value proposition and pricing for value.
    • Practice sustaining growth through systems, entrepreneurial thinking and innovations like business-to-business collaboration and leveraging customer and internal team insights to identify new markets.

    Schedule & Topics

    The curriculum is designed to help you develop an enterprise perspective, the ability to see the big picture and to take the C-level point of view. You will develop a deep understanding of how different disciplines within business interact. Professors from different areas often guide a single class conversation to demonstrate how points of view between disciplines interact and even conflict.
    Global Acumen:
    • Using fiscal and monetary policy tools
    • Investing in emerging markets
    • Exploring the political economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China
    • Enduring the global financial crisis
    • Understanding the economic report of the U.S. president
    • Navigating the Euro and Eurozone

    Organizational Growth:

    • Tapping into organic growth
    • Sustaining growth through systems, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking
    • Leveraging customer insights and supply chain to create new markets
    • Defining a value proposition and pricing for value
    • Unleashing business-to-business collaboration
    • Integrating business ethics into decision-making
    Strategic Acumen:
    • Understanding strategy, purpose and execution
    • Enhancing strategic capabilities
    • Using strategy mapping as an alignment tool
    • Establishing corporate coherence and governance
    • Developing financial, capital budgeting and operational strategies
    • Branding for competitive advantage
    • Creating, managing and valuing real options
    Personal Growth:
    • Leading, learning and change
    • Leading through engagement and choices
    • Leading transformational change
    • Managing personal and team energy
    • Influencing and persuading
    • Gaining cognitive fitness
    • Owning your future


    You'll walk away from The Executive Program with:

    • A C-level enterprise perspective that integrates connections, patterns and key issues throughout your organization and industry to inform your systematic plans for business development
    • Stronger, smarter and more ethical decision-making skills
    • Expanded influence and improved negotiation skills, including the ability to invite, include and inspire teams that balance autonomy and direction
    • A detailed understanding of your company's "value creation zone," which pinpoints its ideal position in the marketplace
    • A customized plan for moving the needle on a specific corporate challenge
    • Techniques for managing individual and team energy during organizational evolution and change, including a personal learning strategy to continue your personal growth
    • The shared expertise and support of a global network of senior executives and business leaders


    This program is designed for senior-level executives with more than twelve years of experience in significant management roles. Of the more than 4,000 executives who have graduated from this program, many represent Fortune 100 companies. Their diverse industries include aerospace, consumer services, banking/finance, consulting, defense contractors, insurance, mining, nonprofit, oil, telecom, bio/pharma, chemical, construction and the U.S. military.

    Executives in The Executive Program are selected for their outstanding leadership capabilities. As you share perspectives in the classroom, you will gain insights that will provide more breadth and depth to your own point of view.  As a graduate of TEP, you will join Darden's worldwide network of nearly 4,000 alumni of the program and 10,000 alumni of Darden's MBA program in 87 countries, whose sense of commitment, camaraderie and connection is globally recognized.




    Alan R. Beckenstein

    The Global Economy - Faculty Leader
    Head of Darden's Global Economies and Markets area, Beckenstein teaches executives about open-economy macroeconomics, policy tools and the politics associated with them, emerging markets and global investing. His courses look at the past, present and the future. He has been the leader of significant learning activities in the public and private sector in New Zealand for 20 years.



    S. Venkataraman

    An internationally renowned scholar and educator in the field of entrepreneurship, "Venkat" teaches courses in strategy, entrepreneurship and ethics. He began his career as co-founder of a successful Indian technology spin-off. He consults with Fortune 500 firms and advises companies, universities and governments on strategy.

    Jolene H. Bodily

    Bodily's "Sleep. Eat. Exercise. Rejuvenate." framework helps executives enhance physical and mental energy, focus and stamina. Executive capacity, endurance and health are increased through coaching and practice tools designed for real life. A registered dietitian with a Master of Public Health, Bodily develops and delivers health, fitness and nutrition programs to private and corporate clients.



    Robert M. Conroy

    Conroy's classes on corporate finance, valuation in financial markets and derivative securities prepare executives to navigate a  global economy. Conroy serves as chair of the full-time format of the Darden MBA. He has published numerous articles and cases on capital markets, and his research focuses on the Japanese financial markets. He has held a CFA charter since 1996.



    Alexander B. Horniman

    Behavioral Psychology and Leadership
    Horniman's "Leading, Learning and Change" framework has inspired thousands of leaders to think differently about how they lead and influence others. His classes aim to heighten your self-awareness and help you better understand your strengths as an influencer and a leader. Horniman served in the U.S. Army and as a special consultant to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

    Robert D. Landel

    Landel brings realism to the "Four Ps" framework - Purpose, People, Processes, Performance - and provides an integrated, systems-thinking approach to business. He teaches courses in innovation and operations strategy, systems thinking and operational effectiveness. Landel consults with companies to develop high-performance work systems and coaches mid- and top-level executives in operations.

    Marian Chapman Moore

    Marketing Strategy
    Moore emphasizes marketing as a system to design, deliver and sustain the customer value proposition. Moore designed the MBA for Executives format of the Darden MBA and has conducted pioneering research on consumers' emotional responses to advertising and marketing managers' strategic decision-making processes. She consults with major law firms, providing expert testimony on several marketing-related issues, such as brand infringement and dilution.

    Location & Accommodations

    During The Executive Program, you will stay on Grounds at the Inn at Darden. Consistently ranked among the world's best for food and accommodations by  Financial Times, Darden's facilities include individual accommodations, rooms for discussion groups, a fully equipped exercise room, a recreation area and a casual gathering spot for evening conversations.

    The Abbott Center Dining Room offers a wide-ranging menu of local and organic cuisine prepared by professionally trained chefs. 

    Participants will have access to exercise facilities at the Inn at Darden and at the North Grounds Recreation Center, immediately adjacent to the Inn, which features a modern, multi-purpose sports center with two squash courts, cardiovascular and strength training machines, day lockers and towel service.

    Application Process & Policies

    Admission is by application only. 

    Tuition: $29,500 includes materials, meals and accommodations at the Inn at Darden.

    Participants represent a broad range of backgrounds - industries, geographic locations, organizational size and professional responsibilities are considered. Although the number of participants from any one organization may be limited, firms are encouraged to send more than one executive. Admission is based on consultation among the three parties concerned: the nominating company, the applicant and a committee of the TEP faculty that evaluates the candidate's application. Notice of confirmed admission to TEP will be sent as soon as the process is complete.

    Application Procedures

    A candidate's suitability should be discussed with Katie Wiesel prior to internal company discussions and participant's application.

    • A company may request a reservation before nominating a specific applicant.
    • Nomination of a participant must be originated by the participant's organization.
    • For additional application forms, contact Jennifer Hicks, director, at +1-434-924-4922.
    • Completed applications will be handled on a "first come" basis. Enrollment is limited. Early application is encouraged.
    • Online application.

    A 25% deposit is required to secure your registration for the program. Please see the postponement and cancellation terms specific to  The Executive Program.

    Schedule & Cost

    TEP runs from Sunday evening, 5 June to noon on Friday, 24 June 2016. Registration is from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, 5 June. The program will open with a reception, followed by dinner at the Abbott Center dining room. Classes and events on the final day will conclude by noon.

    The cost of TEP is $29,500. This includes tuition, study materials, lodging, most meals and certificate of participation. The Guest Program participant's meals and the sharing of the TEP participant's accommodations are also included in this fee.

    TEP Cancellation and Transfer Policy

    • Cancellations after 11 April 2016 are subject to a $14,750 fee.
    • Cancellations after 6 May 2016 are assessed the entire program fee. If necessary, the sponsoring company may, by agreement with the Director of Executive Education, substitute a replacement prior to 9 May 2016.
    • All transfers will incur a $5,900 transfer fee. One transfer per accepted applicant to the next subsequent offering is allowed. Transfer requests received less than 30 days before the start date will incur a $8,850 fee.
    • A transfer request followed by a subsequent cancellation will be subject to the applicable cancellation fees noted above.

    All cancellations and transfers must be received in writing.  Submit your request via e-mail to Katie Wiesel, Senior Director (, or call +1-610-574-9323, or mail to:

    Jennifer Hicks
    Darden Executive Education
    Darden School of Business
    University of Virginia
    P.O. Box 7186
    Charlottesville, VA 22906-7186