UVA Darden Offers Full-Time MBA Class of 2022 Flexibility, Options and Support in Response to Global Uncertainty
By Dave Hendrick
- Courses in the 2020-21 academic year on track to start as planned for the classes of 2021 and 2022 in August, either in person or virtually pending a decision by the University of Virginia
- Darden offers alternate start date for the Class of 2022 in January for select students who need additional time
- Additional support announced to safeguard and bolster Darden’s exceptional student experience
With the aim to offer maximum flexibility, compassion and accommodation in a time of global uncertainty for the incoming Full-time MBA Class of 2022, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business on 23 April announced a number of key updates, including an alternate start date option for select students.
The Darden School plans to begin full-time MBA classes in August as planned, and is ready for classes to take place in person, pending a final decision by University of Virginia leadership on how the University will treat the fall semester.
However, given uncertainty related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the School recognizes the possibility that public health recommendations could necessitate the University of Virginia to require a virtual start to the academic year or the need to move classes online during the academic year. In that event, Darden would be prepared to offer a live, synchronous remote experience and/or a hybrid solution.
To provide applicants with additional flexibility and time, Darden is still accepting applications for the Class of 2022, and recently extended its final Admissions round on a rolling basis through 15 July with additional standardized test flexibility.
Normal August Start and a January Start Option for Select Students
Recognizing that some students may not be able to start in August because of the ongoing global pandemic, the School will also offer a delayed start option for a limited portion of the incoming Class of 2022. This group will start First Year core classes in January 2021, but will begin other Darden activities such as career support ahead of their arrival. Those with a January start will take First Year classes into summer 2021, before completing an abbreviated summer internship or field project.
The delayed start option is intended for students who need additional time before they are able to fully join the Class of 2022. Many international students may not be able to secure a visa by August, for instance, and others may need additional time due to altered professional or personal circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Admitted students interested in the delayed start will be considered and selected after committing to Darden through the next deposit deadline, which has been extended to 1 May, and then submitting a short explanation, due by 1 June, for why they would like to be considered for a January start. Students who apply after 1 June and are interested in the January start should contact the Admissions team to discuss options.
“We recognize that many students began planning their MBA journeys and applying to Darden before the coronavirus pandemic and initial plans may have changed dramatically,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “While no one has a crystal ball about what the months ahead will hold, we hope the steps outlined today will reduce uncertainty and open additional pathways for the Class of 2022 while ensuring an uncompromised student experience.”
Through the staggered starts, the Darden School and its faculty will ensure a dynamic First Year experience that meets the recognized outstanding quality of the Darden academic experience. Upon returning to Grounds for the Second Year in August 2021, all students will merge onto the same schedule and graduate together.
Commitment to Academic Excellence
Despite the atypical approach to the upcoming year, Darden is taking a number of steps to ensure an unparalleled student experience and education. Instruction, whether delivered in person or in a synchronous virtual setting, will meet Darden’s exceptionally high standards for teaching. Darden has honed the craft of delivering learning remotely but “live” over a decade through its Executive MBA program, which paved a smooth transition to the virtual environment for the Full-time MBA. Darden is also using the crisis as a real-time education opportunity, adding new cases and course material related to the COVID-19 crisis.
If courses must be offered virtually for a quarter or more in the 2020-21 academic year, the School plans to offer additional opportunities to expand in-person learning when circumstances permit. These opportunities may take place during the MBA program or in the years after through Darden Executive Education programming, which is led by the same faculty that teaches in the MBA program.
Additional Support to Safeguard and Bolster Student Experience
Darden School leadership is also considering the potential impact of the ongoing crisis and virtual delivery on other key components of the Darden experience, including career advancement, financial aid, housing and meals.
Career — The industry experts at the Darden Career Center are well-versed in navigating uncertain terrain and will begin working immediately with all incoming students of the Class of 2022, providing early preparation for recruiting success through a powerful tool called CDWhy.
Financial Aid — The financial aid team will continue to work with Class of 2022 students to meet the full cost of attendance to Darden through scholarships and loans. The School is also deploying additional need-based aid through a hardship fund given the challenges many are facing, as well as new scholarship resources.
Housing — Although many admitted students have secured housing in Charlottesville already, Darden has established an administrative team to work with students on housing needs and is already communicating with property owners to advocate for increased flexibility to help prevent any financial duress.
Meals — To build community and help offset the cost of meals when students arrive on Grounds, a new student experience fund will provide lunch each day of class for all First-Year students throughout the core curriculum. Second Year students will also receive this new meal plan, allowing the classes to come together over meals in a refreshed and renovated Darden meal facility, due to be upgraded this summer.
“We are in the fortunate position that applications to Darden have increased year over year, and we are taking these steps to stand with our incoming students at a time of unprecedented disruption. We want to be flexible, innovative, compassionate, fair and student-centric — or in the words of UVA’s President Jim Ryan, to try to be both ‘good and great,’” said Beardsley.
More details on each topic may be found in the Darden admitted student portal, and School leaders will host a series of upcoming webinars to address questions and provide updates.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia