Darden Named Program ‘Students Love Most’

26 March 2018

By Jay Hodgkins

The business school-focused publication Poets & Quants recently spotlighted the “MBA programs that students love most,” and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business featured prominently.

Professor Ron Wilcox, Darden’s senior associate dean for degree programs, said an expectation of teaching excellence from every faculty member is key. “Teaching matters here a lot,” he said.

In one section of the story, the publication proclaimed that the secret to Darden’s success is “faculty and student buy in.”

Darden professors enjoy a degree of freedom as well. However, the curriculum is rooted deeply in the case method. That’s fine with the faculty, who value teaching and consider Darden the ultimate destination to test their classroom prowess, says Wilcox. However, these teaching abilities are amplified by a team teaching model in the core curriculum, which require faculty sit down together regularly to develop plans.

“You’re in a room for 3-4 hours at a time in a teaching meeting,” Wilcox details. “So there is a certain intensity and bonding to that among the faculty. There are also meetings across the areas so we can coordinate what marketing is teaching and how that relates to what finance and operations are teaching at the same time. Because of that, we get to know each other very well. This faculty is a tight knit group among ourselves and we learn from each other a lot, so I think basically we have a culture of reinforcing the excellence. If you’re not quite doing it right, you have colleagues right there helping you.”

That translates to a high level of satisfaction for the second years who leave the program each spring. “We don’t graduate a lot of students who regret coming here — very few do,” Wilcox says. “That is due to long-standing norms we have around here, where we evaluate faculty very seriously on the teaching dimension. We hold up that standard and what develops over the years is a cadre of faculty who self-select to come to Darden because of that and it produces outstanding results in our classroom and also very loyal alumni.”

Darden’s most recent accolades for student and alumni satisfaction include:

  • No. 1 — Education Experience, The Economist
  • No. 1 — Student Rating of Faculty, The Economist
  • No. 1 — Student Rating of Program, The Economist
  • No. 1 — alumni satisfaction with MBA education, Forbes
  • No. 2 — most satisfied business school graduates, Forbes

Read the full story from Poets & Quants.

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.


Press Contact

David Hendrick
Associate Director, Editorial & Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia