Carla Manno, Darden EMBA Class of 2014 In today’s guest blog, Carla Manno, EMBA Class of 2014, discusses the importance of faculty at an Executive MBA program and reveals exactly why she and her classmates clap after each class:
Ever seen a standing ovation for an Accounting or Finance class? If you come to Darden, you will. In fact, our cohort has reflected recently on why we clap at the end of every class. Truly — every class.
Best Teaching Faculty
Imagine an educational setting in which 60 experienced professionals — the Class of 2014 Executive MBA cohort — are inspired to clap at the end of a two hour class. You may think this would occur only after a particularly inspired case in business ethics or for a visiting CEO. And you would be correct: we clap for those as well. But you may be surprised that we also clap, and have had the occasional standing-ovation, after, say, discussing a case where corporate valuation or international exchange rates are examined. How is this possible?
If you are a prospective student who is carefully examining programs, then you know that the Darden faculty are consistently top-ranked. I did not examine the rankings too closely when applying to programs, knowing that Darden would be my number one choice for a variety of reasons, but I did heed those based on teaching faculty. As a long-time professional educator and former tenure-track professor, I wondered if what I had heard about the stellar faculty at Darden would be borne out to match the high rankings.
I visited Darden while applying, sitting in on a class to see the case method in action. I was very impressed, and would suggest to all prospective students that you take advantage of this invitation to visit a class or Open House. However, it wasn’t until I was accepted and attended my first intensive week in the program that I came to realize the level and depth of the faculty’s commitment to the highest quality teaching.
Superb Teaching Taps Cohort Strengths and Bridges Professional Diversity
The finest skills are demanded in bridging the wide variety of experiences each of the EMBA students brings to the cohort. In class, I am often amazed by the skills of a finance professor who can speak to those who are experienced investment bankers, as well as those who before coming to the program may have thought a bond was what you made with Elmer’s glue —or those of an accounting professor who can keep all of the students interested and engaged, whether they are a CFO or an experienced professional who routinely outsources accounting work. It is the awareness of this diversity and the wisdom to harness the best of this range that makes (as the kids say these days) ‘the magic happen’.
Where Diamonds are Polished
Colleges are places where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed.
— Robert Green Ingersoll
You may have observed something along these lines in your own experience as a student: coming up against a particular professor or classroom culture which encourages conformity of thought or otherwise stymies the individual strengths of each student. Darden is completely different: entrepreneurial spirits are inspired, disparate voices are heard and understood across disciplines and you are surrounded by diamonds in each class.
One of the aspects of the teaching faculty’s commitment to our overall professional growth as business leaders is their vigilance in attending to individual needs and interests. You come to Darden knowing you are strong in your career and educational background, and you leave with the gifts of wisdom and enhanced knowledge and experience that come from working with skilled business educators who are most interested in you reaching your career goals: C-suite aspirations in a multinational corporation, starting your own organization, or any of the myriad options made more attainable with a Darden MBA.
Carla Manno, PhD, is sole proprietor of Accord Consulting ( www.accord-consulting.net). She has over 20 years of experience in education and educational consulting, and has been a professor, program director, and consultant to international schools and agencies. She is active in the local Charlottesville community, where she lives with her son Giancarlo. Carla also serves as the Outreach coordinator for the EMBA class of 2014.