Batten Institute

Batten Institute - MBA/MSDS Dual Degree

MBA/MSDS Dual Degree

The Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Data Science (MBA/MSDS) aims to provide the robust training and cutting-edge tools ideal for students who plan to pursue a variety of career fields, from technology to entrepreneurship to consulting. The MBA/MSDS dual-degree program at the University of Virginia provides a Master of Science in Data Science degree from UVA's School of Data Science and an MBA from the Darden School of Business. In just 24 months, students are immersed in the School of Data Science's rigorous academic and applied research program and Darden’s top-ranked general management program, graduating with two advanced degrees from one of the top universities in the world.

If you have Darden admissions-related questions, please refer to the admissions website or contact Merav Frazier.

If you have questions about admissions for the MSDS program please visit the School of Data Science website or contact School of Data Sciences Admissions

  • Program Timeline
    • The MBA program is run by quarter (7 weeks) and the MSDS program is run by semester (14 weeks). MBA quarter 1 and 2 is equivalent to the MSDS fall semester and the MBA quarter 3 and 4 is equivalent to the MSDS spring semester. 
    • Darden Dual Degree students are required to complete ONE Darden Worldwide Course over two years. However, some of the MSDS classes overlap with the Darden Worldwide Course, so that has to be planned appropriately. 
    • There are two online MSDS courses and two on Grounds classes that will be taken in the first summer before the first fall semester at Darden. 

  • Proposals & Capstone Projects

    Through the MSDS program, MBA/MSDS dual degree students begin by acquiring a foundation in languages, computation and linear modeling and then build on those skills to begin the practice and application of data science. Dual degree students address important data science challenges with their capstone projects. Before presenting their projects, students will create a proposal outlining their objectives and will be mentored and evaluated by faculty members from the Darden School of Business and the School of Data Science.

    Capstone Project Examples

    Predict Customer Growth

    Build a model to identify high growth customers or brands.

    The project would build a tool for COMPANY to predict which of its current small customers or brands are likely to grow rapidly in the future. Such a tool can be used to prioritize sales efforts to potential high growth customers.

    Financial Inclusion

    This project will identify factors that affect an individual's decision to pursue and obtain traditional banking, including barriers to entry.

    SKU Optimization

    Build a model to optimize the number of designs (i.e. different widths) of paper rolls shipped to conversion facilities.

    The project would need to consider demand trends to identify the optimal number of widths to produce in order to obtain the right balance between production costs and wastage at conversion facility. Having a large number of SKUs reduce waste at the conversion facility, but increases the cost of production.

  • Corporate Support

    MBA/MSDS capstone projects would not be possible without corporate support. Through Darden’s corporate partners program, companies have the opportunity to present a business problem and work with faculty and students toward a solution. We are grateful for the generous support of our corporate partners who make this offering meaningful and memorable. Capstones receive sponsorship from a variety of clients from different industries; some past examples of corporate sponsors are as follows:  

    • In 2017, WestRock served as the lone corporate partner, working directly with students and providing data for two capstone projects.
    • In 2018, the cohort doubled and 4 companies* committed to capstone projects.
    • Companies work in partnership with Darden faculty to craft the project question(s) and with students
      throughout the lifetime of the capstone (18 months).

    * All participating companies are represented on the Corporate Advisory Board.

  • News & Webinars

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the MBA/MSDS dual degree?

    This program allows students to earn a Masters of Data Science (MSDS) degree and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 24 months, instead of the 32 months that would be required if each degree were pursued independently. The program is a partnership between UVA’s School of Data Science and Darden School of Business.

  • Who might consider the dual degree?

    Dual degree students come from a variety of backgrounds but often share common career interests (data, analytics, etc.). MBA/MSDS students graduate with a skillset that is highly valued across industries, including consulting, finance and technology.

  • How does the program work?

    Students in the dual degree program begin their coursework in June of their enrollment year. Over that summer, they take three credits of online classes (June) and six credits in-person of coursework in person (July) that apply to the MSDS program. In their first year, they enroll in Darden’s core curriculum, as well as some classes at the School of Data Science. In their second year, they take classes at both Darden and the School of Data Science and graduate from both programs in May with both degrees.

  • Does the program have any prerequisites?

    The MSDS degree does not require a specific undergraduate major or program of study, but a common knowledge base is essential. The School of Data Science requires four prerequisite courses prior to matriculation: single variable calculus, linear algebra or matrix algebra, introductory statistics and introductory programming. At the time of applying, applicants will be asked to provide proof of completion and/or a listing and description of the courses in which they plan to enroll to satisfy this requirement (institution, course, planned date of completion). All prerequisites must be met before the start of the program but do not need to be completed at the time of application submission.

    Applicants can fulfill a prerequisite with a traditionally taught class (either within or outside of their undergraduate degree) or an online version. Any classes taken must be taught at the college level, and it is to an applicant’s benefit to consider versions that provide rigorous and thorough coverage of the subject matter in order to be fully prepared for the MSDS program. The prerequisites should not be thought of as admission hurdles but rather as essential tools for preparedness and success.

    See the MSDS/MBA site at the School of Data Science for more details.

  • How can I get information on the degree program from actual MBA/MSDS students?

    MBA/MSDS Student Spotlights

    Q&A With Class of 2021 Dual Degree MBA/MSDS Students
    Admissions Blog (21 December 2020)

    View a panel from December 2019 in which MBA/MSDS students discuss program timing, format, student experience and address other frequently asked questions.

  • Who should I contact if I have questions?

    Darden Admissions, contact:
    Merav Frazier[email protected]

    Program Director and School of Data Science faculty advisor, contact:
    Rafael Alvarado - [email protected]

    Darden faculty advisor for the MBA/MSDS, contact:
    Robert Carraway[email protected]

    School of Data Science Admissions, contact: 
    [email protected]

    Capstone Projects through Darden’s Corporate Partners Program, contact:
    Christine Hollins[email protected]