CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., April 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "I think the 'or' world is in the past. The present and the future is all about the 'and' world," says Robert Carraway, professor and senior associate dean for degree programs at the Darden School of Business.
In other words, 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. This is why, for the first time, Darden has created formal concentrations within its full-time MBA program. The concentrations are divided into career tracks and theme tracks. MBA students may choose two from among the following:
Asset Management/Sales & Trading
Corporate Finance/Investment Banking
Business To Business Marketing
Supply Chain Management
Business Development and Growth
"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."
In fact, Carraway says that Darden students have always chosen specialized electives to gain deeper knowledge in particular areas of interest.
"Through pre-cursors to concentrations called career-related electives, we always provided students with guidance on what they should take if they are going into a particular area. Now we're just making it more formal."
Last year it was announced 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. 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 being offered and make changes and adjustments as needed. According to Carraway, the effort to develop concentrations was an open one that received lots of input from Darden faculty. For those who have not yet weighed in, the opportunity has not passed.
"I think there may be a couple of faculty who didn't seize the opportunity and so they're thinking, 'Hey, you know what? This seems pretty cool, so I think next year I'd like to create a concentration in this area.'"