University of Virginia Darden School of Business

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The University of Virginia Darden School of Business
Darden Business School.jpg
Darden Business School
Established 1954
Type Public
Dean Robert F. Bruner
Location Charlottesville, Virginia, US
38°03′08″N 78°30′50″W / 38.052096°N 78.513901°W / 38.052096; -78.513901Coordinates: 38°03′08″N 78°30′50″W / 38.052096°N 78.513901°W / 38.052096; -78.513901

The Darden School of Business is the graduate business school associated with the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Darden School offers MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The School was founded in 1954 and is named after Colgate Whitehead Darden, Jr., a former Democratic congressman, governor of Virginia, and former president of the University of Virginia.


Designed for students who seek to strengthen their leadership, business and communication skills, Darden’s two-year MBA program — ranked #1 in student satisfaction by Bloomberg Businessweek[1] — combines core and elective courses in Charlottesville, Virginia with opportunities to study abroad.


The required curriculum in the First Year is designed to provide students with an integrated perspective on general management. Beginning in the final term of the First Year, the curriculum is made up entirely of electives to allow students to develop more depth in chosen areas of interest. Students may choose two from among the following optional concentrations:

  • Asset Management/Sales & Trading
  • Consumer Marketing
  • Corporate Finance/Investment Banking
  • Business to Business Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Market Analytics
  • Corporate Innovation
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Business Development and Growth
  • Sustainability
  • Strategy Consulting

Global opportunities[edit]

Darden offers Global Business Experiences (GBEs) electives — one- to two-week courses that enable students to explore international business issues firsthand in a country other than their own — in ten countries. In the Second Year, students can also spend time abroad in one of 18 exchange programs around the world.

Career development[edit]

Darden is one of the few top MBA programs to integrate career strategy and planning into its curriculum. All students are also assigned both a functionally aligned career consultant and a Second Year student career coach whom they meet with regularly throughout the recruiting process. As alumni, Darden provides lifelong quality career assistance, free of charge.

MBA for executives[edit]

The MBA for Executives program allows experienced professionals to earn the same degree as the Full-Time MBA students, without interrupting their careers. Each MBA for Executives class is composed of experienced managers from a broad spectrum of industries and functions. The 21-month program combines:

  1. Once-a-month, on-Grounds residencies. Students will typically come to Darden once a month for sessions that take place Thursday through Saturday. Action-oriented classes include case discussions, simulations and individual and group presentations.
  2. Leadership residencies. Throughout the course of 21 months, students will participate in four one-week leadership residencies. These intensive, experiential residencies provide new perspectives on management challenges. One of the four leadership residencies takes place in a global business center outside of the United States (most recently this has been China).
  3. Distance learning. To maintain the intense pace of interaction and to stay in touch with the Darden community between residencies, students will use distance learning technology to interact with professors, hold virtual team meetings, work on team deliverables and submit exams. All online sessions are recorded.

Global MBA for executives[edit]

Similar to the MBA for Executives program, the Global MBA for Executives program is designed for experienced managers who seek to advance their careers by earning an MBA while working full-time. The program focuses on preparing students to thrive in globally distributed firms, across markets, across cultures and in emerging regions. The 21-month program combines:

  1. U.S. residencies: During the two two-week residencies in the U.S., students will divide their time between Darden and Washington, D.C. In the nation’s capital, students will visit political and financial organizations and cultural sites.
  2. Residencies in China, India, Brazil and Europe: The four two-week international residencies are spread evenly across the 21-month program. Each time students meet in person, they will attend classes, engage with local Darden alumni, visit influential firms, gain cultural knowledge and contacts, and learn to work across international borders.
  3. Distance learning: To maintain the intense pace of interaction and to stay in touch with the Darden community between residencies, students will use distance learning technology to interact with professors, hold virtual team meetings, work on team deliverables and submit exams. All online sessions are recorded.

Darden executive education[edit]

The inaugural Executive Education program was offered in 1955. Darden Executive Education offers both open-enrollment and custom programs, as well as consortia, corporate university design and development, and industry specific partnerships. Open-enrollment program focus areas include strategy, leadership and change, finance, sales and marketing, and general and advanced management. Year-after-year these programs are ranked in the top five of the Financial Times annual survey.[2]

Darden Ph.D. program[edit]

Darden’s doctoral program allows students to obtain a Ph.D. degree in management, specializing in either ethics, entrepreneurship, or leadership and organizational behavior. The program prepares individuals for careers in research and teaching at major universities and corporations.


Business School Ranking
Bloomberg Businessweek[3] 10
Forbes[4] 9
U.S. News & World Report[5] 11
Worldwide MBA
Financial Times[6] 27

Darden is regularly ranked as being among the Top 15 business schools in the U.S. and Top 30 in the world. Its current rankings (updated May 2014) are as follows:

MBA rankings[edit]

  • #3 (North America) - The Economist 2013[7]
  • #3 (Global) - The Economist 2014[7]
  • #9 - Forbes 2011[8]
  • #11 Bloomberg Business Week 2014 [9]
  • #11 U.S. News & World Report 2014 [10]

MBA specialty rankings[edit]

  • #1 Education Experience - The Economist 2011[7]
  • #1 Student Satisfaction - Bloomberg Businessweek 2010[11]
  • #1 General Management - Financial Times 2011[12]
  • #1 Best Faculty - The Princeton Review 2011[13]
  • #3 Corporate Social Responsibility - Financial Times 2011[12]
  • #3 Entrepreneurship - The Princeton Review for Entrepreneur magazine 2011[14]
  • #5 Placement Success - Financial Times 2011[12]

Executive education rankings[edit]

  • #2 Open-Enrollment Programs (USA Schools)/#5 Open-Enrollment Programs (Global) - Financial Times 2011[2]
  • #2 Course Design (Global) - Financial Times 2011[2]
  • #1 Course Design (Global) - Financial Times 2003-2010[15]
  • #1 Faculty (Global) - Financial Times 2004-2011[2]

Research centers[edit]

The Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability (ARCS) advances research on corporate sustainability issues by providing data, tools and networking opportunities to scholars. ARCS held its second annual research conference at Harvard Business School in May 2010. ARCS also co-sponsors with the University of Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business an annual PhD Sustainability Academy, which immerses young scholars in a multidisciplinary dialogue with leading sustainability faculty. In 2010, ARCS conducted a National Science Foundation-sponsored workshop on Data Needs for Accelerating Progress on Corporate Sustainability. Founded in 2009, ARCS is housed at the Darden School of Business. The Faculty Director is Darden Professor Michael Lenox and the Managing Director is Darden’s Manager of Sustainability Programs Erika Herz.

The Batten Institute was established with gifts now totaling over $100 million from UVA alumnus Frank Batten, Sr., a media pioneer, visionary, and founder of The Weather Channel.

The Behavioral Research at Darden (BRAD) Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory supporting behavioral research at Darden. Researchers affiliated with BRAD study organizational behavior, marketing, business ethics, judgment and decision-making, behavioral operations and entrepreneurship.

Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics, housed at the Darden School, is an association of chief executive officers.

The Center for Global Initiatives (CGI) gets students and executives ready for global opportunities by developing and implementing educational programs and research projects to enhance understanding of international issues. CGI also aims to increase global awareness of Darden and of the University of Virginia by promoting interaction between Darden and the rest of the world and currently has partnership agreements with over 20 international business schools in more than 15 countries. Overseas faculty and business leaders are brought to the university and the state to share their experiences, knowledge and perspectives, and in any given week Darden may have a distinguished global speaker, an international food festival, faculty members consulting abroad or the dean hosting a guest from outside the United States.

UVA Darden–Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education merges best practices from business and education administration to provide senior leadership of school organizations and their business and community partners with a new leadership perspective.

The Olsson Center for Applied Ethics conducts research, publishes books and other resource materials and sponsors the Ruffin Lecture Series.

The Society for Effectual Action (SEA) is a group of academic researchers, instructors, and entrepreneurs gathered for a single purpose: to fundamentally change the way entrepreneurship is taught and learned around the world. Co-founded by Professor Saras Sarasvathy and Darden alumni Chip Ransler and Ian Ayers, with support from the Batten Institute, SEA enables researchers and instructors to disseminate and discuss contributed papers, articles, teaching materials and techniques. Serving as a central hub for effectuation research, SEA invites the community to extend the principles presented in Sarasvathy’s book, Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise (2008), to new areas and practical applications.

The Tayloe Murphy Center forms alliances with communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia that are facing challenging economic conditions. In addition, the Tayloe Murphy Center conducts path-breaking and leadership-focused research projects that inform pressing policy and business issues central to the challenge of economic development and social progress.

Prominent alumni[edit]

Darden's list of prominent alumni (in order of graduation) includes:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beth Schmid, [1], UVA Today, 12 November 2010
  2. ^ a b c d [2], Financial Times, 2011
  3. ^ "Business School Rankings and Profiles: MBA". Bloomberg Businessweek. 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  4. ^ "Business School Rankings and Profiles: MBA". Forbes. 2013. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  5. ^ "Best Business Schools". U.S. News & World Report. 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  6. ^ "Global MBA Rankings". Financial Times. 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  7. ^ a b c [3], "Full time MBA ranking", ‘’The Economist’’, 11 October 2014
  8. ^ [4], "The Best Business Schools", Forbes, 3 August 2011
  9. ^ [5], 5 July 2014
  10. ^ [6] 5 July 2014
  11. ^ [7], “Best Business Schools 2010”, ‘’Bloomberg Businessweek’’ 2010
  12. ^ a b c [8], "Business Education", Financial Times, 31 January 2011
  13. ^ [9], “Princeton Review 2011 Ranking Names Darden Professors the Nation’s Best,” Darden School of Business, 14 October 2010
  14. ^ [10], “Top Entrepreneurial Colleges”, ‘’Princeton Review’’, 2011
  15. ^ Times Rankings.pdf, “Executive Education - Open”, ‘’Financial Times’’, 2010