Learning Experience


MBA - Academics - Learning Experience

Learning Experience

Guided by Darden’s world-class faculty, you will strengthen your communication and leadership skills and learn to make difficult, real-world business decisions with limited information.

The Power of the Case Method

At Darden, your learning experience is spontaneous yet deliberate and contrasts sharply with a lecture-based approach. The thoughtfully orchestrated curriculum and classroom promote deep engagement and develop your leadership voice.

  • First Year Experience

    The First Year of a Darden MBA doesn’t just prepare you for Second Year. The core curriculum immerses students in a rigorous, case-based learning experience that steadies students in the face of imperfect information. The focus of the First Year is to offer students breadth — breadth in academic preparation, breadth in global understanding and breadth in diversity of thought. Through the core curriculum, students gain an integrated perspective on the fundamentals of business through rich case discussions expertly facilitated by Darden’s faculty. After the core, students take electives in the spring that will help prepare them for their internship. Most students cap off the year with a global experience through a Darden Worldwide Course. Collectively this First Year experience lays a strong foundation in business while developing students’ global mindset, leadership skills and confidence to take on complex organizational challenges.

    Collaboration and teamwork are hallmarks of the Darden experience. A critical part of the case method and the First Year experience is working with a learning team — a group of five to six students from across the different First Year sections — that provides students with support to work through and understand each case. Students stay with their learning team and in their First Year section throughout the core curriculum, further strengthening their relationships with their peers and sharpening their communication skills. Learning with their First Year section offers students the opportunity to dive deeper in to case discussions and challenge each other to listen and think critically in a collaborative environment. 

  • Second Year Experience

    The Second Year gives students the chance to sharpen their professional interests, personalizing the Darden approach to career paths and in-demand skill sets. This is when students choose their unique path. Through the electives, students shape their academic experience through the wide-range of courses taught by amazing faculty. Electives continue the focus on experiential learning and practical application — from consulting projects to seminars to live action cases, students continue to immerse themselves in real-world problems and develop skills to tackle these issues. Students can pursue a concentration to develop industry expertise and deepen technical skills through the management science specialization. They also learn to manage in the world — how to navigate the global environment, understand different cultures and develop an appreciation for how business is done — through Darden Worldwide Courses. The Second Year is the chance for students to set themselves apart by customizing their academic experience as well as holding leadership roles in numerous clubs and organizations.

    The First Year Experience at Darden gives students the breadth they need to be global leaders. The Second Year Experience gives students the opportunity to customize their experience and develop specializations in their chosen path. It provides students with a great opportunity to meet other people and build a network that they will draw upon in the future.