UVA Darden Launches Part-Time MBA in Washington, DC

The rooftop of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business campus in Rosslyn, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business plans to expand its presence in the Washington, DC area with its first part-time MBA offering. The new program, which will welcome 65 students in August 2022, will be based on the school’s campus in Rosslyn, Virginia. Candidates can start applying for this first class as early as next August.

The announcement follows the school’s growing presence in the DC area, where the University of Virginia and the Darden School have their largest groups of alumni. Darden already has 300 Executive MBA students at Rosslyn, an office campus that also houses a new one-year Master of Science in Business Analytics program as well as a growing portfolio of executive education offerings.

Darden will enter a highly competitive part-time MBA market, with four existing business schools currently welcoming more part-time students than the expected size of Darden’s first cohort (see table below). The University of Maryland welcomed 231 students into its part-time MBA last year, while Georgetown University enrolled a class of 135 students. At steady state, Darden hopes to enroll two cohorts per year in the part-time program with a total enrollment of 130 students.


Darden Senior Associate Dean Yael Grushka-Cockayne

Darden Senior Associate Dean Yael Grushka-Cockayne

Encouraged by the successful transfer of his two Executive MBA programs to the DC area, Darden felt the time had come to enter the market on a part-time basis. “The momentum seems very positive and real, and it seemed like there was a need for a middle ground approach,” says Yael Grushka-Cockayne, Senior Associate Dean for Professional Degree Programs. “The EMBA format is almost like a full-time 21-month program with residences on weekends and fairly senior participants. The idea was to open our doors to a larger audience, perhaps not as senior, and also allow a bit more flexibility for those who wish to stay in the DC area.

The school will price its new offering at approximately $ 140,000, the same as its full-time residential MBA program in Charlottesville, Virginia. This will make Darden’s part-time MBA the most expensive on the market, although it will likely rank in the top five. part-time MBA options in the United States after University of Chicago Booth School of Business, UC-Berkeley Haas, Northwestern Kellogg, and NYU Stern School of Business. Georgetown’s part-time option is currently the most expensive at $ 127,260, while Virginia Tech’s part-time 17-course MBA is the cheapest at $ 49,200. The George Mason University part-time program based in Fairfax, Va. Is cheaper for state residents at $ 41,808 but is priced at $ 84,048 for those living outside Virginia.

Classes will be offered primarily on weeknights, with a mix of fully virtual and fully in-person classes at Rosslyn led by Darden faculty. Grushka-Cockayne expects about 40% of learning to be done online, with the remaining 60% in person. “The classes themselves will be almost 50/50, with a week in person and a week online,” she adds, “and then we have two residences. “


The format will also include two weeklong residences – with at least one if not two in Charlottesville – and global study opportunity options, allowing students to develop their classroom experiences with an immersive, high-impact trip to the classroom. ‘foreign. Part-time workers will complete the core curriculum – which will be about half of the credits required – as part of a cohort. Darden will grant an MBA to part-time students in as little as 28 months or students can take up to 48 months to complete the program. The school believes the most common path will likely take 33 months.

Darden is also putting a twist on electives, allowing part-time students to take elective courses with its Executive MBA students. “One thing that really gets us excited about this vision and this design is that there will be more opportunities for people to engage with students across formats and cohorts,” said Grushka-Cockayne . “If a student wants to take an EMBA course on the weekends or vice versa, there may be cross-pollination. We plan to build that presence and those relationships.

Darden expects to enroll a slightly younger MBA class in its part-time program, expecting most students to have at least two years of work experience prior to enrollment. The average age of its full-time MBA students is 27, while the average age of an EMBA Darden student is 34. But there will be no minimum professional experience required for admission. Among competing programs, the average age of part-time students ranges from 29 at McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University to 32 at Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, which also offers part-time courses. in the Washington area.


Darden’s case method approach to learning will be a central element of the new part-time program. “The underlying principle of Socratic case-based learning is still there,” adds Grushka-Cockayne.

The school’s decision to enter the market on a part-time basis came after doing a study of the needs of potential students. “We found that these programs are rich and robust in the region,” says Grushka-Cockayne. “They attract a lot of students. The demand is there. We’ve found this to be a great way to open our doors to a diverse set of students who would like to access a high-end MBA but couldn’t take two years off and move to Charlottesville. Manny Schools have a strong set of students and the market looks for as much flexibility as possible. From our research, we know that students love the in-person experience and don’t want everything online. So there is a strong demand for an in-person component to create those connections and relationships while remaining flexible.

Darden’s expansion into the DC market is happening just as more and more high-tech companies are relocating to Northern Virginia. “We’re excited about Northern Virginia,” adds Grushka-Cockayne. “It attracts a young audience with a more diverse set of needs to develop. Amazon is there. Microsoft is building a new facility. Google has offices in the area. The presence of high-tech companies is growing, attracting the attention of other actors in higher education.


The part-time MBA application will be launched in August, with the first application deadline in fall 2021. Testing flexibility options for admissions to the part-time MBA program should be in line with existing policies (see Darden Extends Test Optional Admissions for 2021-2022). About 13% of his next full-time MBA cohort this fall will have enrolled with an approved test waiver.

Part-time MBA acceptance rates are typically much higher than a school’s full-time admission rate. At NYU Stern, which has one of the largest part-time MBA programs, the acceptance rate is 66%, well above its admission rate of 29% for Stern’s full-time MBA. . At Darden, which accepts 35% of its full-time MBA applicants, it is likely that the admission rate for the part-time program will hover between 50% and 65%, the latter being the current acceptance rate for the program. part-time from Georgetown. MBA.

The Part-time MBA is the fourth format of the MBA at Darden, joining the full-time residential MBA based in Charlottesville, and the Executive MBA and Global Executive MBA based at UVA Darden DC Metro. The degree awarded in each format is the same Darden MBA.


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