M.B.A. Academic Program

The Darden School two-year program leading to a degree of Master of Business Administration prepares men and women of high promise to act with determination, judgment, and integrity in responsible positions of leadership. This objective is achieved through a uniquely integrated program that provides an understanding of the fundamental areas of business while it develops the capacity to analyze managerial problems and present intelligent and resourceful solutions to these problems. Through the study of real business situations, the student is involved in a breadth and depth of analysis impossible to gain in years of on-the-job training. The M.B.A. Program compresses experience.

The Darden case-method approach places responsibility for self-development on the individual student. The content and methodology of the M.B.A. Program are carefully planned and coordinated by the faculty, but the students themselves determine the quality of the learning process in the classroom through their preparation and participation. The program is effective to the extent that both faculty and students share a commitment to make it work. The Darden School accepts as an essential function the goal of making clear to students their moral responsibilities as administrators, particularly those obligations to the business community and to society at large. The School's concern with moral values continues the ethical tradition of the University of Virginia as expressed in the Honor System.

The Case Method   Darden students learn by doing; they develop their decision-making skills daily in the case method. Each case presents a real manager with a real decision to make, Included in the case is information on the company and the environment in which it operates. Each case poses the same question: What would you do? Students are expected to define the issues they identify in the case, use sound analytical techniques in applying their knowledge to the available data, evaluate the alternatives, make a reasonable decision, and recommend measures to implement their plan. The procedure simulates the function of modern managers in a wide variety of different industries, products, processes, and styles of management.

At The Darden School, the learning process depends on the intense, daily preparation of each case by each student. Classroom time is spent largely in discussion, focusing on the definition, analysis, and a wide range of feasible approaches to a problem. To attain academic and personal growth in this environment, the student is required to participate in case discussions. During the first year, classes are limited to about 60 students to facilitate meaningful participation by all the members of the class. Courses in the second year vary in size, but case discussion is still the chief learning experience. The cases themselves are part of a planned sequence, and the growth that each student achieves is a result of the total experience, not of learning isolated techniques.

While the case-method philosophy dominates the program, other methodologies are used to provide as complete a reflection of reality as possible-role-playing, simulations, field trips, guest lecturers, and exercises of various sorts. The Darden School educational experience blends managerial reality with substantive knowledge and techniques of analysis to equip students to act confidently in a complex world.

Curriculum   All of the first-year and approximately one-fourth of the second-year courses are required; no credit is granted for previous course work, and no courses are waived. These courses are fully coordinated into a single program that becomes more than the sum of its parts. While the courses are formally distinct as outlined in this catalog, each one contributes more than the basic knowledge of a narrow specialty; it provides an opportunity to use and expand on knowledge gained in each of the other courses. For example, the problem of determining cost information for a particular product would normally arise in the study of accounting, but this information has important significance for marketing, for operations management, and for the interpersonal relations between people in these areas. The significance of the accounting decision for each function would be treated in accounting; but what might well be a satisfactory solution from the accounting standpoint alone will be modified in the light of its effect in other areas, and it is this modified solution that the program strives to reach, since it is the one most likely to work in a real-life situation.

The result of this program is a comprehensive, integrated view of business. M.B.A. students from The Darden School are expected to use their elective courses to provide depth in the general areas that reflect their career interests.

Graduates of The Darden School will also be well informed and conversant with the current thinking in the traditional functional areas of business; they will be able to use the quantitative methods of the modern business environment; they will understand business applications of the behavioral sciences; and they will have a command of oral and written communication.

With their knowledge and experience of the integrated curriculum, the graduates are qualified to assume leadership in the world of practical affairs at a more rapid pace than would be possible otherwise. They are better equipped to think analytically and imaginatively, to solve problems, and to make things happen, because they understand both the modern techniques and the broad environment of business nationally and internationally.

The First Year   Although the course descriptions that follow suggest a first year of study consisting of a number of independent offerings, The Darden School's first-year curriculum is unique in its blending of these ingredients into a program with a purpose and vitality of its own. The emphasis here is on "program." In a very real sense Darden M.B.A.'s are engaged during their first year in a nine-month course in the elements of managerial problem solving and decision making-a course that encompasses a knowledge of analytical techniques, and understanding of the several functional areas of business and their interrelationships, and an appreciation of the environment in which business functions. The different courses are so integrated that the many skills and attributes of business management are developed simultaneously.

The course of study assumes little background in formal business education; much of the entering student's initial exposure will acquaint him or her with the vocabulary and concepts of business-accounting, communications, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, quantitative analysis, ethics, operations, macroeconomics, and information technology.

From the very outset, however, the attempt is made to show interrelationships among subject areas, to apply concepts that are dealt with in related courses, to teach more efficiently by avoiding curricular compartmentalization. Many of the analytical techniques taught by Quantitative Analysis, for example, will be used immediately by students who face managerial decisions in Operations.

Class schedules reflect particular emphases during the academic year. During weeks in which Quantitative Analysis and Operations meet frequently, Marketing may not meet at all. In later weeks all courses may meet. Still later the emphasis may be on Marketing and Organizational Behavior, with no class meetings in Accounting. Such flexibility in scheduling supports and emphasizes the conceptual flow of the first-year program.

To ensure that the first-year program is integrated in such a way that relevant material from the various course areas is considered in the best possible sequence, the first-year curriculum is taught as a complete session rather than in two separate semesters. Under the session system, no semester grades are recorded; only an unofficial indication of current faculty evaluation is given to each student at the time of the normal semester break. Formal grades are determined at the end of the nine-month session, by which time the faculty should have a clear picture, based on the complete first-year experience of the student's ability to cope with business problems.

The M.B.A. Schedule   According to the traditional academic format, the first-year program may be said to contain 45 credits, to be divided among the following courses:

Some courses meet more often than others during the academic year, but all have equal weight for grading purposes.

All graduate business schools promise a challenging program and a rigorous work load; The Darden School is no exception. We advise potential students to be prepared to commit to their academic endeavors 60 to 80 hours each week. The following first year schedule is intended as an example only. However, it does indicate the degree of commitment expected of our students.

8:00 - 9:25First Class
9:25 - 9:50Coffee
9:50 - 11:15Second Class
11:35 - 1:00Third Class
AfternoonPrepare cases for next day. Read and analyze an average of 50 pages.
EveningMeet with discussion group (see below)
Final preparation
2:00 - 6:00 Prepare cases
8:00 - 10:00Meet with discussion group

At the beginning of the year, students are assigned to discussion groups of five or six students per group. Groups are fluid and usually change somewhat during the year because of geographic location of members, friendships and other factors. The purpose of the groups is to give each member a chance to "try out" ideas on a case before presenting them in class and to give or receive help as needed. Groups meet at the School or in the homes of members. Some students choose not to participate in the discussion groups, but most find them rewarding.

The Second Year   Second Year students at The Darden School work toward three objectives: (a) synthesis of the First Year material into a general management perspective; (b) deepening of experience in the areas of concentration in which they expect to work; and (c) making the transition between classwork and business experience.

While the Second Year curriculum is an extension and elaboration of the structurally-integrated First Year, it allows flexibility in the selection of courses. That flexibility can be used to develop depth in functional expertise or breadth in general management perspective.

In the fall semester students select from a group of courses designated Core Electives. These are designed either to round out a student's learning in a functional area ("capstone electives"), or to provide the framework for additional courses of greater depth and focus ("foundation electives"). These core electives are offered in seven areas: Accounting, Business and Political Economy, Finance, Marketing, Operations, Organizational Behavior, and Quantitative Analysis. All students also pursue a Directed Study, and take a required course which focuses on the role of the general manager in today's global environment, emphasizing strategic integration across functional disciplines.

In the spring semester students have the opportunity to select electives which build upon foundation electives or which address broader issues of general management interest.

Academic Regulations

Beginning with the students entering in the Fall of 1989, the academic standards are as follows:

Standards for the M.B.A. Degree   The Darden School requires a minimum performance standard for its M.B.A. graduates. In addition, the School has performance standards for the first year program, each semester of the M.B.A. program, and each course.

An M.B.A. candidate must ordinarily take the equivalent of 20 course units, receiving grades below "B-" in no more than 4.5 course units and no grades of F (certain makeup procedures exist for F grades).

A course meeting 40-44 sessions (each of 85 minutes) in the first year or 30-34 sessions in the second year is defined as one course unit. A course meeting 20-22 sessions in the first year or 15-17 sessions in the second year constitutes one-half course unit. An interim grade given at the end of a semester for a course that continues to the next semester will have the course equivalent units of the entire course for purposes of academic standards.

In administering these standards, the School uses six grades, defined by the faculty as follows: A, excellent; B+, very good; B, good or satisfactory graduate work; B-, minimum no-penalty grade; C, not satisfactory but marginally passing for a particular course; F, failure. In addition, occasions arise that necessitate assigning a grade that falls outside the standard range. The "I," incomplete, assigned in such cases implies that, for reasons known to the individual faculty member, an enrolled student has not completed the work of the course at the end of a specified academic period.

An important element of student performance at The Darden School is classroom participation. Depending on the appraisal criteria of the instructor and course, classroom participation frequently accounts for up to 50 per cent of a student's grade. This proportion reflects the central role and importance of active engagement by the student in the learning process.

While assessments about classroom participation are incorporated into grades received by students at the end of each term, the first-year program expects each student to be aware of and responsible for his/her participation on an ongoing basis. Although individual faculty, course faculty, or section faculty may find it appropriate to provide an assessment of student participation during a term, there is no requirement that they do so on a consistent basis. The focus of responsibility for being informed of the impact one is having on others resides with the student. Consistent with this philosophy, a student who is uncertain about the value added by participation in class is expected to initiate discussions with faculty and/or students who can provide an independent perspective.

Session and Semester Grade Requirements

First Semester, First Year   A student who, at the end of the first semester of work, receives final or interim grades below "B-" in three or more course units or a grade of "F" in courses that have had at least 15 meetings shall be required to submit an action plan for grade improvement acceptable to the Academic Standards Committee prior to registering for spring semester classes in order to continue in the program.

End of First Year   A student who receives grades below "B-" in three or more course units or a grade of "F" shall be notified by the Academic Standards Committee, acting on behalf of the faculty, that he/she has failed to meet the standards for continuing the M.B.A. Program. The student may petition the Academic Standards Committee for readmission.

Second Year   At the end of the third semester, a student who has received grades below "B-" in four or more course units or a grade of "F" shall be notified by the Academic Standards Committee, acting on behalf of the faculty, that he/she has failed to meet the standards for continuing the M.B.A. Program but may petition the Academic Standards Committee for readmission.

At the end of the fourth semester, a student who has received grades below "B-" in five or more course units or a grade of "F" will not be recommended for the M.B.A. degree.

In either semester of the second year, a student who receives grades below "B-" in three or more course units shall be notified by the Academic Standards Committee, acting on behalf of the faculty, that he/she has failed to meet the standards for continuing the M.B.A. Program but may petition the Academic Standards Committee for readmission.

Joint Degree Programs

Joint degree programs are offered by The Darden School in connection with other schools and departments at the University of Virginia. These programs are designed to enhance the educational experience beyond that which could be achieved if the two degrees were taken independently. Each joint-degree program is a unique program with significant and identifiable synergies that the two degrees taken independently would not offer.

Admissions   For all joint-degree programs except M.B.A.- Ph.D., students first must be admitted to The Darden School and the appropriate University graduate school or department through the normal admission processes. Admission to both programs should be simultaneous or occur during the student's first year at Darden.

Once the student is admitted to both programs, the student must be accepted for the joint-degree program by the joint-degree program's program committee. Admission to a joint-degree program should be prior to matriculation or no later than during the student's first year at The Darden School.

Curriculum Requirements   Students in joint programs must complete the Darden first-year program, required second-year courses, and 15 credits of electives (instead of the normal 24 credits). Other curriculum requirements are noted in the individual joint-program descriptions.

Receipt of the M.B.A. degree is contingent upon receipt of the respective non-MBA degree. However, in the joint M.B.A.-Ph.D. Program, the faculty will award the M.B.A. degree to a student who has completed all requirements for the regular MBA Program.

Grading Standards   Candidates for joint degrees must satisfy the grading standards of the appropriate school or department granting the non-M.B.A. degree and receive passing grades in their Darden School courses, with grades below "B-" in no more than 3.5 course units.

Transfer to a Single-Degree Program   At any point in the program, the student will be allowed to terminate plans for a joint degree and to continue towards a single degree at either school or department. The student will then be obligated to satisfy the normal requirements of the appropriate program, which may include credit for some of the work done in the other program, as determined by the appropriate officials of the school or department in question.

For more information about joint degree programs at Darden, contact: Director of Admissions, The Darden School, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 6550, Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550 (804-924-7281).

The M.B.A.-J.D. Program
The M.B.A.- M.A. in Asian Studies Program
The M.B.A.-M.A. in Government, Foreign Affairs, or Public Administration Program
The M.B.A.-M.E. Program
The M.B.A.-M.S.N. Program
The M.B.A.-Ph.D. Program

The M.B.A.-J.D. Program

The School offers a combined program with the University of Virginia Law School, in which the student may obtain the M.B.A. degree and the J.D. degree in four years instead of the five that would be required if each were taken separately. The program is designed to accommodate the interests of three types of students-(1) those who contemplate careers in public service and want to acquire the skills and attributes of the manager; (2) those who contemplate managerial careers and want to acquire the skills and capacities of lawyers; and (3) those who want to prepare for careers in specific areas of the law such as mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganization, legal aspects of marketing, or other relatively narrow fields.

The breadth that the M.B.A.-J.D. Program promises is likely to offer some degree of redundancy, and unless the student is clearly able to see the applicability of both degrees to future career plans, he or she should not assume that the chance to squeeze one year from a normal five-year sequence is in itself a persuasive rationale for undertaking the program.

Administration of the Program   The program is administered by one member of the Law faculty and one member of the Business Administration faculty, as designated by the respective Deans. The responsibilities of these faculty members extend to admission to the joint program, coordination of curricula for the students involved, resolution of problems that may arise, reconciliation of course and examination conflicts, and promotion of joint offerings by the two schools where that seems feasible. For convenience of reference, these faculty members are the faculty advisors for the program.

Students who have been admitted independently to both schools and who wish to undertake the joint program should notify the Registrar of both schools and apply to faculty advisors for permission to do so. Admission requires approval of both the Law faculty advisor and the Darden faculty advisor. No student will be admitted after completing the first year of either the Law School or the Darden School. Entrance into the M.B.A.-J.D. program will not be guaranteed by virtue of acceptance at both schools but will be judged according to criteria which is the responsibility of the faculty advisors.

Curriculum   The program takes four years to complete. In brief, it consists of the complete first-year program of each school, followed by two years of courses taken from the curricula of the two schools and, in appropriate cases, from other graduate offerings at the University. A student who has been admitted to the program will ordinarily be allowed to elect whether to start in the Law School or in the Business Administration School. The student will then spend the second year in the program as a regular first-year student in the other school.

Thereafter, the student will be required to earn 33 credits per year for the next two years, 12 each year in The Darden School and 21 in the Law School. The M.B.A.-J.D. candidate is obligated to take, as part of these credits, all of the required curriculum in both graduate business administration and law. The remaining credits will be elective credits and can be chosen from the respective law and business curricula after consultation with the Program Committee.

At the successful conclusion of the four years, the student will be awarded both an M.B.A. and a J.D. degree.