EXPERIENCE THE DARDEN CASE METHOD

University of Virginia

Darden School of Business
Program Strengths

Designed for professionals with seven or more years of work experience, the MBA for Executives (EMBA) format of the Darden MBA program allows EMBA students to earn the same degree as full-time students without interrupting their careers. EMBA students:

  • Students study in a format convenient to their schedules — a combination of monthly weekend residencies in Charlottesville, Virginia; four one-week leadership residencies, including one international residency; and distance learning.
  • Students report experiencing immediate ROI when they apply the concepts and ideas from classes, even in the earliest months of the program.

Like all Darden students, EMBA students benefit from the unique combination of these three elements:

World’s Best MBA Teaching Faculty
Darden professors are known for being highly accessible to students and teach in all three formats of the Darden MBA program.
 
Case Method
Rather than lecture, Darden professors engage students in active, content-rich discussions in class about real business problems and solutions.
 
Tight-Knit Community
EMBA students strengthen their professional networks while in the program. Classmates are experienced managers, and upon graduation EMBA graduates join more than 14,000 Darden alumni.

Curriculum Highlights
In contrast to a lecture-based approach to education, Darden’s case method challenges students to discuss and debate real business problems and possible solutions. 

Given a specific business challenge, students discuss and debate what they would do, how they would do it, and how they would persuade their classmates and others to understand their point of view.

During the course of the 21-month program, EMBA students explore hundreds of business cases — both with their learning teams and through lively classroom discussions. Guided by expert faculty, students take their leadership and communication skills to new levels. And in Darden’s EMBA program, classmates who are also experienced managers bring unique perspectives to the high-engagement case discussion.

Darden bases its case method learning approach on a four-step learning process, which allows for complete understanding, integration, and application of the materials.

  • Individually, students read and consider each case.
  • Students share their ideas with their learning team, a study group of five or six fellow peer managers.
  • Students discuss the case during an online class meeting or in an on-grounds class.
  • Students reflect on how initial ideas changed as a result of the input from the learning team, class, and professors. And after each class, students can apply these concepts on the job, creating real-time ROI for them and their organizations.
Leadership Development

Throughout the course of 21 months, EMBA students participate in four weeklong leadership residencies, with three residencies taking place at Darden and one at the international location. These intensive, experiential residencies provide new perspectives on the management challenges that students face every day. Students enhance their leadership skills through workshops, coaching, and reflection.

The Professional Advancement Course (PAC) in the EMBA curriculum is designed to help EMBAs adopt new behaviors and reach their potential as managers and leaders. As part of the PAC, students work one-on-one with an executive coach.

Through experiences in the Leading Organizations and Management Communications courses, and in Leadership Residencies I and II, students will naturally begin to identify their leadership or management challenges.

The executive coaching component of PAC begins with helping students identify the skills that they need to hone to overcome those challenges. The process continues as students work one-on-one with an executive coach to master that leadership challenge – whether it be building a high-performing team, dealing with a difficult employee, or managing conflicting stakeholders – in the context of the business objectives, such as growing the business or introducing a new accounting system.

The leadership coaching experience consists of five executive coaching sessions and includes a graded deliverable, where students document their progress, takeaways, and future leadership implications.

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