During their first days on grounds, First Year students from all three formats of Darden's MBA program - MBA, MBA for Executives and Global MBA for Executives - gathered for the inaugural "one Darden" welcome. More than 400 excited students filled the Abbott Center Auditorium to hear from Robert F. Bruner, dean of the Darden School, and Peter Rodriguez, senior associate dean for degree programs and chief diversity officer. Trip Davis, president of the Darden School Foundation and senior associate dean for external relations, also greeted the students via a video recording from a business meeting in Iceland.
To get the event under way, Michael Woodfolk, executive director of Alumni Services at the Darden School, asked the audience members to raise their hands if they had ever been contacted by a Darden graduate.
Almost every individual in the auditorium raised a hand. "We feel very strongly about our alumni community. It's powerful. It's bold. It's worldwide. In fact, I would venture to say it's one of our greatest resources," said Woodfolk, who then introduced Davis' short welcome video.
"You're joining an incredible community - the most tight-knit community in the world for high-engagement education," said Davis. "I'm excited to get to know each and every one of you."
Rodriguez followed Davis' remarks by discussing the value of earning a Darden MBA. He began by quoting Mark Twain: "Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty." He also shared the story of Santiago, the protagonist in Ernest Hemingway's novel The Old Man and the Sea.
According to Rodriguez, students undergo a transition between undergraduate and graduate studies. The more they know, the more they realize how much they have to learn.
"If you are never confused and you never face uncertainty, then you never learn," added Rodriguez.
Dean Bruner brought the full week of learning and networking activities to a close as the event's final speaker.
"A friend of mine interviewed some Navy SEALs. You may know that Navy SEALs train relentlessly. They go out and they do these operations under extraordinary and stressful conditions, and it's never in the field like it is in training. There's a big disconnect. You train for this and it turns out to be like that," Bruner said. "So my friend asked why SEALs train for situations that are so different from what occurs in the field. The Navy SEAL responded that it was precisely because of their training in those kinds of conditions that they are prepared for a wide variety of possible outcomes."
Dean Bruner cold-called Jason Lamb, a Navy SEAL and new student, to confirm the rigors of SEAL training.
"The key idea is that you are here to rehearse leadership," Bruner told the students. "Trust the process, be present and seek support," advised the dean.
Area leaders announced the makeup of the three formats of the MBA.
Sara Neher, assistant dean for MBA admissions, highlighted the demographics of the incoming MBA class, which is comprised of 320 students:
- Percentage of women: 35
- Percentage of domestic minorities: 20
- Percentage of those born outside the U.S.: 34
- Average age: 27
- Average class GMAT score: 703
- Grade point average: 3.48
"These numbers reflect Darden's continued focus on the quality of the incoming class," said Neher.
MBA for Executives
Barbara Millar, assistant dean of the MBA for Executives program, shared the demographics for the EMBA Class of 2014:
- Average age: 36
- Age range: 27-59
- Average years of work experience: 13
- Percentage of women: 20
- Percentage of domestic minorities: 27
- Percentage of international (born outside U.S.): 17
- Percentage of students with an advanced degree: 32
- Average GMAT score for 80 percent of the class: 560-720
This year's class is Darden's seventh EMBA cohort.
Global MBA for Executives
Larry Mueller, assistant dean of the Global MBA for Executives program, provided the demographics for the incoming class:
- Average age: 35
- Age range: 28-48
- Average years of work experience: 13
- Percentage of domestic minorities: 17
- Percentage of international (born outside U.S.): 44
- Percentage of students with an advanced degree: 37
- Average GMAT score for 80 percent of the class: 540-720
This is the second year of the GEMBA program.
To hear more about Darden's incoming class, listen to a recent episode of the Darden BusinessCast. For questions or more information, contact email@example.com or a member of the Communication team.