New UVA Darden Career Journey Maps, Elective Guides Help Students Forge Career-Focused Paths

By Dave Hendrick

Effort Builds on Momentum of  Stellar Career Outcomes for Class of 2021

A new set of career-focused journey maps and curriculum guides will help University of Virginia Darden School of Business MBA students navigate the School’s classroom and experiential opportunities to position themselves for some of the most in-demand careers.

The Darden Career Journey webpages and related Career Elective Guides display a suite of resources and offer suggestions for the most useful elective courses for students interested in careers in six popular career sectors — consulting, technology, investment banking , corporate finance, marketing and general management.

The new elective guides are not prescriptive, but are intended to help students focus on curricular options among the more than 100 elective Darden MBA courses. They were co-created by Darden’s faculty-led MBA program committee, Darden Career Center and leadership of student career clubs and incorporate feedback from alumni, recruiters and students.

“The Darden MBA experience is one of exploration and transformation, of breadth in the First Year and depth in the second, and every student’s path is different,” said Professor Tom Steenburgh, senior associate dean for the Full-Time MBA program. “We are always considering the potential for curriculum enhancement, and the Career Elective Guides are one way to put additional structure around the abundance of choice in the Second Year.”

Steenburgh said Darden faculty members and the Career Center team seek to ensure students are prepared to excel both at their first job after Darden, and the job 10 years into the future. As such, the Darden curriculum engages with the world of today and builds a sustainable path toward a lifetime of meaningful work.

Darden’s Customizable Second-Year Curriculum Builds on Core Strength

In the first three quarters of the First Year, all Darden MBA students take the same core curriculum, earning a solid foundation in global business leadership through courses such as “Operations Management,” “Leadership Communications,” “Global Economies and Markets,” “Accounting for Managers” and “Business Ethics,” among others.

Beginning in the fourth quarter of the First Year and throughout the Second Year, students customize their experience, choosing from a wide range of elective courses as they both explore new ideas and focus on potential areas of specialization.

Darden students who take 12 credit hours of selected courses with a quantitative and analytical focus qualify for the specialization in management science STEM designation.

The Career Elective Guides offer a potential pathway through the elective curriculum for students interested in one of the six popular career fields. Students interested in management consulting, for instance, can view more than 40 courses intended to help burnish key consulting functional and interpersonal skills, such as problem solving, logical thinking and analysis, ideas to action, leadership, presentation and persuasion, and creativity and teamwork.

The courses noted in the Career Elective Guides will be updated every year.

In addition to containing the Career Elective Guides, the new Career Journey webpages include career-relevant resources, including related student clubs, experiential learning opportunities, alumni leaders in the field and Career Center staff devoted to the area.

In addition to the six new Career Journey webpages, Darden will detail focused paths through the curriculum for other sought-after careers through a series of upcoming areas of special interest, including venture capital, among others.

Career Journey Resources to Enhance Strong Demand for Darden Graduates

The introduction of the Career Journey webpages and Career Elective Guides comes as Darden graduates continue to see exceptional interest from prospective employers. Preliminary figures for the Class of 2021 show that 94 percent of graduates seeking employment had received a full-time job offer and 93 percent of graduates have accepted an offer (as of 30 July).

Additionally, initial data indicates that the Class of 2021 earned a median salary of $145,000 and a median signing bonus of $30,000. The MBA Class of 2020’s average starting salary and bonus was ranked No. 1 among public schools and No. 5 overall in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Business Schools ranking of MBA programs.

Grouped by industry, 41 percent of the Class of 2020 — the most recent class with finalized employment figures — accepted jobs in consulting, 20 percent in technology and 19 percent in financial services. By job function, 39 percent of the class accepted jobs in consulting, 20 percent in finance or investing 17 percent in general management and 13 percent in marketing or sales.

Darden, which offers 10 dual-degree programs with other schools at UVA, recently released its application for admission to the Full-Time MBA Class of 2024.

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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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia