Brian MitchellAssociate Director, Marketing & Customer SolutionsMerckUniversity of Virginia Darden School of Business Executive MBA (EMBA) Class of 2010Why did you decide to get an MBA?To further develop my leadership capabilities, broaden my general management perspective and sharpen my decision analysis skills.How did you go about getting company support for the EMBA program?First, getting an MBA/EMBA was an established part of my short-term and long-term developmental plan. Alignment to your development plan is critical to garnering support.Second, I provided specific examples as to how the Darden EMBA could be applied to everyday work, while uniquely preparing me to lead a larger organization and strategic change.Finally, I also committed to pay back financial support if I were to separate from the company during a specified period of time. As it relates to time away from work, I predominantly used my own vacation time.How did you apply what you’ve learned directly to your job during the program?As an outgrowth of the Strategy coursework, I have applied the Diamond Framework, case studies and coursework insights to shape strategy on multiple occasions.How has the Darden EMBA helped advance your career?While going through the Darden EMBA program, I held the position of Customer Team Leader. Within two months of completing the program, I was promoted to a position of increased responsibility as Associate Director, Marketing & Customer Solutions. Importantly, the competencies I developed in marketing, strategy, and decision analysis aligned to the required skills needed for my new position.How did your company benefit from your involvement in the program?The coursework I completed in classes like Innovation, Strategy and Unleashing Organizational Potential enhanced my contributions to my company’s strategic objectives. Separately, I am part of a team that hires top-tier intern talent from Darden's MBA program.