M.B.A. Academic Program
The Darden School’s two-year program leading to a degree of Master of Business Administration prepares men and women of high promise to be leaders in the world of practical affairs. Darden M.B.A.s are taught to be action -oriented, take an enterprise perspective, and lead with integrity, vision, judgment, determination, and social responsibility. The Darden curriculum is an 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. The M.B.A. program compresses years of experience through the study of several hundred real business situations or cases involving a breadth and depth of analysis impossible to gain in years of on-the-job training. The educational approach employed by the Darden School places significant responsibility for self-development on the individual student. Students are admitted not only for what they can learn, but also what they can teach their classmates in a discussion oriented setting. The curriculum is carefully planned and coordinated by the faculty, but the daily discussion revolves around student preparation and participation. This shared faculty and student responsibility for the classroom learning makes the Darden classroom experience highly dynamic and stimulating. The Darden curriculum also emphasizes the ethical nature of leadership through required course work and broad integrated discussions of the role of the corporation and its leaders in business and society in general. The school’s concern with ethical values continues the tradition of the University of Virginia evident in the Honor System.
The Student Body The Darden School matriculates approximately 320 highly qualified individuals yearly. New students come from around the world and virtually every profession. These students are then organized into learning teams of five to six students and sections of 65 students. Each learning team and each section are designed to have a diversity of functional skills, demographics, and international background. Darden students quickly learn that one of the most important assets of their education is the network of relationships built among classmates from all over the world. The first year sections are shuffled at the beginning of the second semester in January to provide maximum opportunity to meet, learn from, and form long-term relationships with a wide range of classmates.
The Case Method The Darden School uses business problem oriented cases in the vast majority of classes. In case method, students learn in four steps: individual case reading, preparation and analysis; learning team discussion; section discussion; and post-class reflection and integration. Each case presents students with a real business situation and related decisions to make. Most cases require the student to decide and present extemporaneously what they would do in that situation. 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. This process simulates the function of modern managers in a wide variety of different industries, products, processes, and styles of management. 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. Students’ grades are based in large part on the quality of their in-class contributions. Classes in the second year vary in size, but case discussion is still the chief learning experience.
While the case-method philosophy dominates the program, other methodologies (role-playing, simulations, field trips, guest lecturers, and exercises of various sorts) are used to augment students’ understanding of modern business practice. The Darden educational experience is a careful blending of theory and current practice designed to equip students to act confidently in a complex world. Academic Regulations
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. In administering these standards, the school uses six grades, defined by the faculty as follows: Distinguished Performance (DP); High Performance )HP) Standard Performance (SP), Low Performance (LP); Unsatisfactory Performance (UP); Fail/No Credit (F); the lowest no-penalty passing grade: LP. In addition, occasions arise that necessitate assigning a grade that falls outside the standard range. The symbol IN (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 is classroom participation. Depending on the appraisal criteria of the instructor and course, classroom participation frequently accounts for up to 50 percent 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, her or his participation on an ongoing basis. The grade categories HP, SP, and LP are relative performance indicators, and, as such, they depend on how other students in the class perform. The DP, UP, and F grades are based on absolute performance standards in every course; therefore faculty are not required to award DP, UP, or F grades. The UP grade is assigned to a student who has demonstrated an unsatisfactory level of understanding in a course. The F grade is assigned to a student who has demonstrated little or no understanding of the course content or the application thereof. Statement of Standards for the MBA Degree for the Full-Time Format Program The Darden School requires a minimum performance standard for its MBA graduates. In addition, the School has performance standards for the First-Year Program, each semester of the MBA Program, and each course. Academic standards are enforced on the basis of Academic Standards Committee (ASC) points. ASC points are computed on a credit-hour equivalent basis, such that a UP received in a 3.0-credit-hour course counts as 3.0 ASC points and a UP received in a 1.5-credit-hour course counts as 1.5 ASC points. F grades result in higher ASC points, such that an F received in a 3.0-credit-hour course counts as 6.0 ASC points and an F received in a 1.5-credit-hour course counts as 3.0 ASC points. Interim grades are also computed as ASC points. For example, an interim UP grade based on one-third of the classes in a 1.5-credit-hour course is considered as 0.5 ASC points and an F is considered as 1.0 ASC points:
|0.5 credit hours
||1.5 credit hours
||3.0 credit hours
||0.5 ASC points
||1.5 ASC points
||3.0 ASC points
||1.0 ASC points
||3.0 ASC points
||6.0 ASC points
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS A student will be dismissed from the MBA Program when any of the following conditions exists in the student’s grade record:
||Dismissal Condition #1 (cumulative grades)
||Dismissal Condition #2
||7.5 or more ASC points
||1 or more F grades
||9.0 or more ASC points
||1 or more F grades
| Third semester
|| 12.0 or more ASC points
||1 or more F grades or4.5 or more ASC points
| Fourth semester
|| 15.0 or more ASC points
||1 or more F grades or4.5 or more ASC points
An F grade remains on a student’s transcript and continues to be counted in the student’s performance record. An F in any course results in an automatic dismissal from Darden. If the F grade results in 15.0 or more ASC points, the student will have exceeded the points allowable for graduation and will not be allowed to petition ASC for readmission. So long as the student has not exceeded 15.0 ASC points, the student may petition ASC for readmission. If the F is a grade of record in a required course in the FY curriculum, ASC may rule to allow readmission conditional upon the student’s having satisfactorily completed a makeup exam prior to the beginning of the second year of course work. If the student does not receive a grade of Low Performance or better on the makeup exam, the student will not receive credit for the course and will be terminated from the program. Makeup exams will be given only for FY required courses. All FY courses must stand ready to administer a makeup exam to any student identified by ASC as being readmitted conditional upon satisfactorily completing a makeup exam, which should be a core-content examination covering the entire course. This makeup examination requirement will be administered by the course head of the relevant course, who must inform the Academic Standards Committee of the outcome Students who earn an F grade in a First-Year Program elective course will be required to earn at a minimum a grade of LP in an additional makeup First-Year Program elective course. This additional, makeup elective will count as a First-Year Program elective course, and it is to be completed during the student’s second-year studies at Darden. A student may choose to retake the elective course (with permission of the instructor) or select a makeup elective from (a) the First-Year Program electives offerings in Quarter 4 of the First-Year Program or (b) the First-Year Program electives offered in the Second-Year Program. No makeup activity is required for a student earning an F grade in a second-year elective course. An F grade remains on a student’s transcript and continues to be counted in the student’s performance record. First Semester, First Year A student who, at the end of the first semester of work, has received an interim or final grade of F in any course or has accumulated 7.5 or more ASC points shall, in order to continue in the program, be required to submit an action plan for grade improvement to the Academic Standards Committee prior to the beginning of the second semester. End of First Year A student who has received a grade of F in any course or has accumulated 9.0 or more ASC points shall be notified by the Academic Standards Committee, acting on behalf of the faculty, that he or she is dismissed from the MBA Program. The student may petition the Academic Standards Committee for readmission. Second Year Course overload programs will not generally be approved for students under ASC jurisdiction. The chair of the Academic Standards Committee, or his or her designee, must approve the final second-year selection sheets of students under ASC jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the overload constraint. At the end of the third semester, a student who has accumulated a total of 12.0 or more ASC points shall be notified by the Academic Standards Committee, acting on behalf of the faculty, that he or she is dismissed from the MBA Program but may petition the Academic Standards Committee for readmission. At the end of the fourth semester, a student who has accumulated 15.0 or more total ASC points is dismissed from the MBA Program and will not be recommended for the MBA degree. In either semester of the second year, a student who receives 4.5 or more ASC points or an F grade in any course shall be notified by the Academic Standards Committee, acting on behalf of the faculty, that he or she has failed to meet the standards for continuing the MBA Program but may petition the Academic Standards Committee for readmission.
The Readmission Procedure
A student who is dismissed from the MBA Program may petition the Academic Standards Committee for readmission, except under the fourth-semester condition in which the grade record is as stated in Section II-E-2-b (an accumulation of 15.0 or more ASC points). Readmission will depend on the presence of extenuating circumstances and the ability of the student to complete the remainder of the program satisfactorily.Students who, based on grades received at mid-semester, have failed to meet the standards of the Darden School will be permitted to complete the semester and may submit a petition to the Academic Standards Committee at the time mid-semester grades are available or at the end of the semester.
The Grade of Incomplete (IN)
The IN grade should be assigned and administered consistently with the following IN grade policy statement:
IN Grade Policy Statement
From time to time, occasions arise that necessitate assigning a student a grade that falls outside the standard range. An IN implies that, for reasons known to the individual faculty member, the student enrolled has not completed his or her work at the end of the specified academic period.
The IN grade can only be assigned by the instructor teaching the course, only after the student has informed the instructor of the problem area, and only after the instructor has specifically reviewed with the student the provisions under which the IN grade is granted.
In assigning an IN grade, a faculty member assumes the responsibility of determining the requirements to be met to replace the IN with a standard grade. In accepting an IN grade, the student must assume the responsibility for clearing the IN grade, normally, on or before the end of the semester immediately following the semester in which the IN assignment was made or, in unusual circumstances, by a time approved by the Academic Standards Committee. (Example: An IN grade assigned in June would normally have to be cleared by the end of the summer term in order for the student to begin classes in the fall. An IN grade assigned in the fall term would normally have to be cleared before the end of the spring term.)
An IN grade can only be cleared by a standard letter grade or a W (withdrawn), not by a second IN. An IN grade that is not cleared by the student within the prescribed period will automatically become an F grade.
Students who receive one or more IN grades will come under Academic Standards Committee jurisdiction and will remain under the Academic Standards Committee until the IN grade becomes a letter grade. At that point, normal rules regarding Academic Standards Committee jurisdiction will apply.
The Academic Standards Committee will take no direct (formal notification) action on an IN grade unless the student’s grades apart from the IN grade(s) warrant Academic Standards Committee action. In essence, the student who receives one or more IN grades will be monitored by the Academic Standards Committee until the IN grade(s) is removed.
No student can enter the second year or receive an MBA with an IN grade.