Darden Announces Dual Degree With UVA Data Science Institute to Train Next Generation of Technology Leaders

By Dave Hendrick

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has announced an innovative dual-degree program with UVA’s Data Science Institute.

The new MBA/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.

By combining Darden’s top-ranked general management program and unparalleled education experience with the cutting-edge, data-intensive curriculum of UVA’s Data Science Institute, students will gain broad understanding of business leadership opportunities and challenges. They will also develop a deep knowledge of data science tools that can turn data to action-oriented business insights.

“This new dual degree represents an incredibly exciting development for the Darden School and prospective students,” said Raj Venkatesan, Darden professor and faculty lead for the dual degree. “There is a clear demand from students for this kind of analytics-driven curriculum and from organizations for employees who can harness the almost limitless power of Big Data to develop new business models. These graduates will be coveted hires and become indispensable leaders.”

The new dual degree, which will begin enrolling a limited cohort of students in summer 2017, with a fuller launch in 2018, will deliver both the Darden curriculum of core and elective courses and the 11-month MSDS curriculum offered by the Data Science Institute over a two-year span. Tuition fees for the new program will be the sum of the standalone MBA and MSDS programs.

The Darden core curriculum provides students with an integrated perspective on general management in the first year, focusing on key themes such as finance, marketing, decision analytics, strategy, ethics, accounting and leadership. Beginning in the final term of the first year, students choose from a diverse selection of more than 100 electives and begin to tailor the Darden education that most closely meets their interests and professional aspirations.

The MSDS curriculum, with core courses in computer science, statistics, and systems and information engineering, provides students of all backgrounds with a base in languages, computation and linear modeling before building on those skills to move to the practice and application of data science. The program also addresses the ethical implications of data and analytics and culminates in a capstone project focused on a real-world data science problem. The capstone project will address a business problem and how data science can be used to address those challenges.

“This new program will change the way that top business leaders of tomorrow are thinking about data,” said Don Brown, director of the Data Science Institute. “This game-changing dual degree will give students a deep understanding of data science along with a top-ranked management program that will allow them to unlock new ways of questioning, answering and thinking about today’s top business challenges.”

The new dual degree will be the seventh offered at Darden, which currently offers dual degrees with UVA partners in the fields of law, medicine, education, engineering, public policy, public health and East Asian Studies.

“Darden dual degrees show the power of collaboration at UVA,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “The new Data Science partnership shows that Darden and UVA are committed to coming together to provide the best and most relevant education opportunities for students.”

“Students from all backgrounds want to be equipped for jobs in technology and entrepreneurship,” said Sara Neher, Darden assistant dean for MBA admissions. “This new dual degree will be a way to differentiate yourself.”

For more information on Darden’s dual-degree programs or to learn about applying, contact darden@virginia.edu.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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