Darden School of Business Creates Formal Concentrations

For the first time in its history, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business has created formal concentrations within its full-time MBA program, the school revealed in a recent news release.

Robert Carraway, professor and senior associate dean for degree programs at the business school, says developing leaders in general management and turning out expert specialists is not an either-or proposition. Carraway and other faculty members want the business world to know that Darden can do both.

“We’re not backing off our focus of preparing general managers for a long and successful career. However, we also don’t want businesses to have the perception that our students aren’t capable of being specialists too–particularly at the outset of their careers,” Carraway adds.

“We think that we develop students in areas of finance, for example, as well as anyone in the world and not just for the long term but for the short term.  Just because Darden is always ranked at the very top in terms of general management schools, that’s not at the expense of our ability to be really good in specialized areas.”

These concentrations are divided into career tracks and theme tracks, allowing MBA students to choose two from the following options:

Career Tracks:

  • Asset Management/Sales & Trading
  • Corporate Finance/Investment Banking
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Consumer Marketing
  • Business To Business Marketing
  • Supply Chain Management

Theme Tracks:

  • Corporate Innovation
  • Business Development and Growth
  • Market Analytics
  • Sustainability

Darden School of Business announced last year that students could choose formal concentrations beginning this spring. This month, Carraway and the others on the MBA program committee that launched this pilot program are eager to see the choices that the students will make.

“For some it’ll be easy,” says Carraway. “If you’re going into one of the finance areas or into a marketing area, then it makes a lot of sense. Why don’t I just fulfill this concentration? For others, like sustainability, it may not be obvious whether or not a student should acquire a concentration.”

After students have chosen, the committee will re-examine the concentrations on offer and make changes and adjustments as needed.

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