MBA for Executives

Frequently Asked Questions: Executive MBA

General    |    Admissions    |    Financial Aid    |    Career Services    |    Sponsorship

General 

How is the MBA for Executives format different from the full-time MBA format?

The Darden School offers one world-class MBA program in three formats: MBA, MBA for Executives (EMBA) and Global MBA for Executives (GEMBA). In all three formats, students earn the same Darden MBA degree and are taught through the case method by the same top-ranked faculty.

The MBA for Executives is designed for professionals with demanding schedules and allows students to work full time while earning their degree. The EMBA format is taught using a combination of monthly on-Grounds residencies, four one-week leadership residencies (one of which is international), and distance learning

How long is the program?

Classes begin in August of each year and run for the following 21 months.

Do you offer majors or concentrations?

The Executive MBA offers an integrated curriculum designed to develop cross-functional, enterprise thinking. We believe this is a defining attribute of strong organizational leaders. Students take six electives in the program that are offered based on faculty availability and student interest; however, these do not constitute a major or concentration.

Who are the MBA for Executives faculty?

The same top-ranked professors who teach in our full-time MBA and Executive Education programs teach in the Darden Executive MBA formats. These faculty members are thought leaders in their fields. Their expertise, coupled with their experience with a wide variety of executives and industries, bring a real-world dimension to your learning environment.

How much of the program is completed online?

Approximately one-third of the core curriculum is delivered through distance learning. To provide a highly engaging learning experience between residencies, you will participate in live online classes each week with your classmates and professors. These online classes are recorded so if you are unable to attend live, you are able to view the material at a time convenient to your schedule. Additionally, you will work on individual assignments, participate in small group projects and learning team meetings, and meet one-on-one with faculty.

How many students are in the program?

Fifty to sixty practicing managers from diverse industries and functions are invited to join the MBA for Executives format each August.

Is there a required international trip?

Yes. The third leadership residency "Leading in Emerging Economies" is delivered outside of the United States. Recent cohorts have traveled to Beijing, China, where we partnered with the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.

How are students evaluated?

Students are graded on a number of criteria, depending on the particular course. Darden uses case-based instruction, so an important component of student evaluation is class contribution  both virtual and face to face. Other elements of assessing student performance include completion of papers, exams and other written assignments.

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Admissions

What are the requirements for admission?

We review three dimensions of your background when considering an offer of admission:

  • Professional  breadth and depth of your professional background and level of management responsibilities and demonstrated leadership. [Note: a minimum of seven years of professional experience is preferred.]
  • Intellectual  potential to succeed academically as demonstrated through your undergraduate/graduate academic record, GMAT score, letters of recommendation and work experience.
  • Personal  the unique traits you will bring to the Darden learning community; your ability to work in a diverse group as part of a learning team; leadership potential; your commitment to others; your interpersonal communication skills, etc.

Is an interview required? 

Interviews play an important role in our assessment of candidates and are required prior to acceptance into the program. An evaluative interview is conducted by invitation only after your application has been submitted and reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Candidates living in the United States typically interview on the Darden Grounds with a member of the Admissions staff. Candidates living abroad are welcome to interview on the Darden Grounds, but are not expected to do so. International interviews are conducted by Admissions Committee members traveling overseas or by phone or Skype.

Do applicants need to take the GMAT?

Executive MBA applicants are required to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or GRE. We encourage you to prepare in advance for this exam (self-study, online tutorials, etc.). You can self-report your unofficial GMAT scores on your online application. The Darden code for our executive MBA program is KC7-OX-30. You can also fax a copy of your unofficial score to us at +1-434-243-2332. Note: we will accept a GMAT score up to five years from the date you took it. 

In a very few exceptional cases, a waiver of the GMAT may be granted to candidates who hold an advanced degree in an analytic discipline. To request a waiver, please e-mail your résumé, academic transcripts and standardized test scores to EMBA@darden.virginia.edu.

What is the range of GMAT at Darden? What is the average score?

Our 20%80% range is 560720. We are particularly interested in the balance between your quantitative and verbal score, along with your previous coursework and professional experience.

Do students need to be employed full time?

Yes. Our expectation is that students are in managerial-level positions or can demonstrate strong leadership potential. Our curriculum is based on applying classroom knowledge to individual work situations, and is based on the give-and-take among faculty and every person in the class.

Is there a minimum requirement for years of work experience in the EMBA format?

The preferred minimum years of professional experience is 7. The typical EMBA student has between 6 – 25 years of work experience. In the Class of 2014, the average years of work experience was 13 years.

What are the deadlines for applying? Can I apply before the deadline?

Visit the EMBA Application Deadlines page for details. You can submit your completed application at any time before the final deadline, but we encourage you to submit early, when the maximum number of class seats and scholarship awards are available.

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Financial Aid

What types of financial aid are available to Executive MBA students?

Financial aid is available to students in the MBA for Executives in the form of federal and private loan programs. These loans are not "need-based"; therefore, students with an acceptable credit rating will be eligible. For details on the three types of financial aid available, please see the Financial Aid and Fees page. 

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Career Services

What career services are available to the Executive MBA students?

EMBA students have access to relevant and compelling career information and education. Students learn how to effectively manage their careers through a combination of face-to-face workshops, one-on-one coaching and online career modules. See a full description of Career Services.

Can I interview with companies that come to recruit full-time MBA students?

Yes. After completing the core curriculum, students may attend career fairs and networking events in Charlottesville and several major U.S. cities. In addition, students may submit résumés for invitations to interview on-Grounds for full-time, entry-level MBA positions. To learn more about on-Grounds recruiting opportunities, view Darden’s Employment Reports.

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Sponsorship

What kind of support do students need from their employers?

For some companies, sponsorship means providing students with complete tuition assistance and days off to attend classes. For others, it is an endorsement of the student’s future value to the organization. Ideally, sponsoring an employee in the Darden MBA for Executives program is part of his or her career development plan.

At a minimum, sponsorship means that an employer endorses the student as a valuable member of its management team who is expected to make even greater contributions in the future, along with a statement that the company recognizes the student must be away from the office to attend classes. Visit the EMBA Sponsorship website for more information.

Are employers required to provide financial support for students to attend the program?

No. While we encourage employers to make a financial contribution, allowing students to participate is the only investment on their part that we require.

Can sponsors talk with someone during the admission process?

We encourage employers to contact our Assistant Dean, Barbara Millar, at +1-434-924-4822 or via e-mail at MillarB@darden.virginia.edu. For more information, please visit our Sponsorship web page.

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