UVA Darden Welcomes Class of 2024, First-Ever Part-Time MBA Cohort
By Dave Hendrick
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business welcomed more than 550 First Year MBA students to Grounds in Charlottesville in mid-August, an annual event made even more momentous due to the arrival of the first-ever class of Part-Time MBA students.
The Darden School will begin the new school year with 349 Full-Time MBA students based on Darden Grounds in Charlottesville, and 134 Executive MBA and 68 Part-Time MBA students based at UVA Darden DC Metro in Rosslyn, Virginia. The new class of 59 Master of Science in business analytics students began their studies in Rosslyn on 13 August.
Welcoming students from all three MBA formats on Darden’s Flagler Court on 15 August, Darden Dean Scott Beardsley noted the “historic moment” of the three MBA formats coming together, as students begin on their “multiple paths to the same summit: the Darden MBA.”
Although the various formats will earn their MBAs at different paces, Beardsley encouraged the new students to see each other as part of one Darden community, and to get to know their new peers in what will be a lifelong network.
Darden Full-Time MBA students pursue a residential experience over 21 months on Darden Grounds in Charlottesville. Executive MBA students earn an MBA over 21 months while continuing to work, with a mix of in-person weekend residencies at UVA Darden DC Metro in Rosslyn, Virginia, and virtual class sessions. The Part-Time MBA, which is also based at UVA Darden DC Metro, offers a mix of in-person weekday evening and virtual classes, and a more flexible timeline for completion, with an expected range of 28 to 48 months
The 12-month MSBA degree, focused on data analysis and leadership and offered in partnership with UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, features a mix of in-person instruction and virtual sessions. The MSBA program also operates out of UVA Darden DC Metro and includes touchpoints in Charlottesville.
Full-Time MBA Students Drawn From Near-Record Applications to Reach New Levels of Excellence
The Darden Full-Time MBA Class of 2024 includes 349 students selected from near-record applications with unparalleled quality. The extremely competitive application cycle comes after two years of record-setting application volume.
The class set new academic records of excellence, with the highest average GMAT score in school history at 720 and a record number of students — 66 — beginning their Darden careers with an advanced degree.
The Class reached new highs in a variety of additional metrics, including 43 percent international students, many dual citizens from top universities around the world. The international class set a record for applications and follows the success of Darden’s STEM certified MBA program, which can provide a three-year OPT visa, and has resulted in strong international career outcomes.
Behind the United States, the top countries of origin for students were India, Nigeria, China and Brazil. The Class includes the most-ever students from Africa in a class, with 22 students.
Darden also made great strides toward fulfilling the vision of David Walentas (MBA ’64) to attract outstanding first-generation students through his historic gift that will support first generation and outstanding students at Darden in the future once endowed. This year’s class features 16 percent meritorious first-generation college students from around the world.
The class also includes an outstanding cohort of Future Year Scholars, Darden’s deferred admissions program.
“You shine for so many reasons, not only for your accomplishments and experiences but for who you uniquely are and for your character,” said Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions Dawna Clarke, who encouraged the students to make every effort to get to know each other and build the inclusive experience they hoped to be a part of over the next two years.
Similarly, Beardsley reminded MBA students that the case method worked best when conducted in a room with a rich debate fueled by a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, and said each student brings “something important to the community in your unique way.”
Beardsley reiterated that his goals for the new class were fourfold, saying he hoped students received a great global education, achieved a great career, built a great network and had a great time in the process.
“I hope those goals roughly align with your own,” Beardsley said. “I have very little doubt that you’ll achieve all four.”
The Darden Opening Week experience for Full-Time MBA students included a variety of programming intended to acquaint students with life at Darden, including panel discussions, a Career Journey Kickoff and learning team and section introductions, among other events.
Darden DC Presence Grows With Part-Time MBA Students Adding to Professional Degree Programs
Darden’s presence at the Sands Family Grounds at UVA Darden DC Metro has been boosted to new levels of excellence and dynamism with new cohorts in the Executive MBA, the new Part-Time MBA and the MSBA. Each of these cohorts take courses in Charlottesville and in Rosslyn.
The Executive MBA Class of 2024 includes 134 students from a range of backgrounds, with new students living in 16 different states and working at more than 100 different employers representing 26 industries. Of the 134 new students, 26 are pursuing the Global Executive MBA option.
The Executive MBA students have 12 years of work experience, on average, and 35 percent have advanced degrees. The class includes 33 percent women, and 22 percent are minorities.
The new Part-Time MBA, which can be completed in 28 to 48 months, includes 68 students with five-and-a-half years of work experience, on average, and represent 54 unique employers across 16 industries. Thirty-two percent of the members in the matriculated cohort have advanced degrees, and the Class includes 40 percent female students and 32 percent minority students.
The students in the Executive MBA and Part-Time MBA started their week-long residency in Charlottesville with community building activities during the opening day, and gathered together on Monday evening for a resource fair to hear from Beardsley, who reminded professional degree students of their “power to build community” and make the school a better place.
On 16 August, professional degree students dove into their MBA coursework with Darden faculty, with sessions on topics including Leading Digital Disruption, Organizational Change, Strategy and Decision Analysis, among others
Darden also recently welcomed 59 new students to the MSBA program, which the School presents jointly with the UVA McIntire School of Commerce. The new class for the one-year program has an average of eight years work experience, and 25 percent have advanced degrees.
At the end of Opening Week, Darden will host a community-wide dinner on Flagler Court, welcoming First and Second Year students, partners, faculty and staff.
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.
Associate Director, Editorial & Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia