UVA Darden’s New Half-Time MBA In DC: ‘It Was A No-Brainer For Me’

UVA Darden’s New Half-Time MBA In DC: ‘It Was A No-Brainer For Me’

Darden’s DC Metro Campus in Rosslyn, Virginia

Parker Lapeyre, 31, is in that area the place a full-time, residential MBA didn’t make very a lot sense. An i-banking affiliate at an M&A boutique in Washington, D.C., he already had the job that many MBA graduates would need, having spent almost 5 years in asset administration at J.P. Morgan, transferring up from analyst to affiliate.

However at the back of his thoughts, he at all times needed an MBA diploma ever since 2014 when he graduated together with his grasp’s in finance from Louisiana State College.  “My profession simply bought away from me,” says Lapeyre, who additionally has a bachelor’s in economics from Louisiana State. “I bought to the purpose the place if I give up and went to highschool for 2 years, I’d earn as a lot as I  earn now.”

Then, he seen that the College of Virginia’s Darden Faculty of Enterprise had simply introduced its first part-time MBA program on its satellite tv for pc campus in Rosslyn, Virginia, proper throughout the Potomac River from D.C. “When Darden got here out with this program, I had a double take. I might go to a high faculty, preserve my job, and do an MBA with the case methodology. It was a no brainer for me.”


Cindy Kang, 27, a senior supervisor at a protection strategic consulting agency, had the same response. “After I noticed Darden was opening a D.C. location for a part-time MBA, it was like an indication from the universe,” says Kang,

She graduated from George Washington College originally of the pandemic when most new jobs have been on maintain and ended up staying for a fintech certificates. Kang had labored for a human efficiency consulting startup for 5 and one-half years. “I hope to pivot into the fintech area with my MBA,” she says. “I at all times knew I needed to go the entrepreneurial route however I didn’t know when.” She explored a number of packages, together with NYU Stern and MIT Sloan. “I spoke to the admissions folks there, and I couldn’t get off the decision quick sufficient. It was a very completely different expertise at Darden,” says Kang, singling out Brett  Twitty, managing director of admissions for Darden’s skilled diploma packages.

Each Lapeyre and Kang at the moment are classmates within the very first cohort of 68 college students in Darden’s part-time MBA program that started final month with a week-long residency at UVA’s campus in Charlottesville. The brand new program permits Darden to faucet into the Washington, D.C., market past its already current Government MBA performs there. It additionally makes Darden solely the sixth faculty ranked within the high 12 to supply a part-time MBA possibility.


Yael Grushka-Cockayne, senior affiliate dean for skilled diploma packages at Darden

The D.C. metro space can also be a no brainer for Darden. The biggest single group of UVA alumni reside within the area, a pure supply of potential graduate college students for the enterprise faculty. “An element-time program provides flexibility and optionality to the MBA,” explains Yael Grushka-Cockayne, senior affiliate dean for skilled diploma packages at Darden.  “It permits some college students who previously couldn’t take the break day to have an MBA expertise.”

The UVA Darden DC Metro campus, which opened in 2018, additionally allowed the college to ascertain a powerful base within the space. “We’ve been working out of Rosslyn for a couple of years so we perceive the dynamics of their jobs,” provides Grushka-Cockayne who additionally teaches information science and challenge administration. “We really feel extra at house. With that, we will afford to broaden {our capability} within the space. The place we discover ourselves in the present day, people need flexibility. The job market is such that not everybody feels they’ll stroll away from it. There are loads of alternatives. Folks need to proceed their momentum and develop. And that’s nice. The part-time program permits them to get an MBA, put money into themselves and likewise keep on their profession trajectory. The pandemic had loads of negativity that affected all of us in unlucky methods. However on the upside, we’re extra versatile, on-line studying is healthier, and the expertise to ship it’s higher so extra college students can embrace it and be part of us.”

That line of reasoning resonates with a number of of the newly enrolled college students. Katie Housel, a senior accountant at The Carlyle Group in D.C., has largely labored in accounting since graduating along with her grasp’s within the discipline from Villanova College in 2010. “With the pandemic,” she says, “I had one thing of an existential disaster. I felt I used to be beginning to discover my manner in enterprise and I needed a extra holistic background in enterprise.”


Equally, Onur Kapucu has spent all of his skilled profession in software program engineering, first at Whirlpool Corp. after which at an aviation and aerospace element maker. “I knew that I tend to take a look at the larger image,” says Kapucu, who earned his grasp’s in mechanical engineering from Michigan State College in 2014. “I need to oversee the interactions in product administration, technique, or operations, and I used to be ready for the suitable time however knew that will by no means come. My supervisor thought I used to be prepared after which I discovered that Darden was launching a part-time MBA. I needed to go to a top-ranked faculty, and I just like the case examine strategy to studying.”

In designing the brand new program, the Darden college needed to leverage the important thing parts of the college’s MBA which have allowed it to be ranked first on the planet for general academic expertise by The Economist for a few years. “It’s necessary to us that college students who graduate from the part-time program have an MBA that seems like a Darden MBA expertise,” says Grushka-Cockayne. “So we saved our cohort mannequin the place people march via the core curriculum of this system, be taught from one another and are impressed by their classmates. They’re taught by a Socratic case-study methodology by the identical college who educate in our full-time and Government MBA packages.”

She notes that the “contact hours” with college are precisely the identical for the part-time program as they’re with the full-time program. “Now we have a core that lasts a couple of yr and one-half with the identical core courses in the identical sequence because the residential program, simply slower paced,” she provides. “And the final yr and one half is extra versatile. College students can take extra or fewer electives at any time. They will take an additional yr if they should or they’ll pace it up. You get the cohort expertise within the core, and within the electives, they’ll have a extra customizable path, catering it to their wants.”

Katie Housel

Katie Housel, a senior accountant at The Carlyle Group, is within the first part-time MBA cohort at UVA Darden


Darden permits part-timers to finish the diploma in as little as 28 months or so long as 48 months. The usual pacing for this system will possible be roughly 33 months. The schedule alternates between in-person and digital weeks, with in-person courses delivered at UVA Darden DC Metro. Class classes will happen on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6–9:30 p.m. College students will usually have two, 75-minute class classes per night. Basically, college students ought to anticipate two weeks of in-person instruction and two weeks of digital supply monthly within the educational calendar. Total, roughly 60% of this system is delivered in individual when you add in two in-residence weeks in Charlottesville.

“We gave critical thought to the cadence inside a particular quarter, with twice-a-week courses in two programs at a time. The format is named part-time but it surely’s something however that. It’s a full-time job and research for the scholars and it’s necessary for us to consider that once we make selections.  We have been making an attempt to rearrange for a cadence so it’s predictable and versatile on the identical time and college students can plan round that. If people have jobs that require journey, they’ve per week when it’s all on-line and so they can take their courses from anyplace on the planet.”

Grushka-Cockayne says Darden needed to create a program that permits college students to stability their private {and professional} lives however it’s hardly a cakewalk. “There’s nothing mild to this. A core class meets 14 classes within the residential and has the identical assembly occasions within the part-time program. It’s delivered within the night as a substitute of the morning. And we thought very arduous about connecting them to the Charlottesville group and likewise getting a world perspective. So this system begins right here for per week right here after which on the finish of their core, about 30 months into this system, they may come again for an additional week. And that’s an non-obligatory alternative for a world journey overseas.”


College students on this first-class have a mean age of 27, with 5 to 6 years of full-time work expertise, not dissimilar to most high full-time MBA packages. Most college students stay inside 15 and 20 miles of the area, making it straightforward to attend these face-to-face class classes. Among the many preliminary group of 68 college students are an anesthesiologist, authorities staff, non-profit staffers and your commonplace bevy of consultants, funding bankers, and engineers.

After the primary residential week, college students have been giving the beginning a thumbs up. “They care about your bodily and psychological well being, not simply teachers,” thought Housel, who admittedly arrived on campus feeling anxious however excited and left believing she couldn’t have requested for a extra optimistic expertise. “I now have 68 new mates and colleagues to lean on and undergo this. It’s thrilling to be again on campus.”

“It was enjoyable and precisely what I used to be anticipating from this expertise,” provides Kapucu.

“It was dynamic with a number of ah-ha moments,” says Lapeyre after popping out of a case dialogue on Sparta Glass Merchandise that delved into pricing selections. “Each single individual right here is sensible and personable. They did an excellent job in placing this class collectively.”

He gave Darden the last word praise: “It doesn’t really feel that is the primary time the college is doing this program. It feels very nicely put collectively, and it’s been very clean.”



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