Darden School of Business Course Inspired by Two Celebrity Icons

Mar 18, 2011, 12:18 ET from University of Virginia's Darden School of Business

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- What happens when Donald Trump's "Apprentice" meets Oprah Winfrey's "Angel Network"?

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100916/DC66431LOGO )

The First Year students of the Darden School of Business's Full-Time MBA program will find out March 28 to April 1 as they experience a new innovation of the First Year curriculum called "Capstone Week."

Born out of efforts to enhance the curriculum of First Year MBAs at Darden, "Capstone Weeks" marks the end of the students' first 10 courses, when they will use all that they have learned during two, week-long experiential events.

"Students want to have more practical experiences sooner in their MBA careers," says Darden Professor Erika James, coordinator for one of the two Capstone Weeks. "This two-week period will allow students to apply the knowledge that they have gained during their first year and put it to use through two very exciting projects."

The first week's event, called Learning to Lead While Giving Back, will be part Oprah's "Angel Network" and part Trump's "Apprentice." Thirty teams across all five First Year sections will compete to earn funds that will benefit four Charlottesville charitable organizations and a school. These include the Charlottesville Free Clinic, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children and Greer Elementary School.

"The teams, just like the teams on Trump's show, will compete in business-driven tasks of their own choosing and must earn money from the community by delivering a product or service," says James. "We're expecting some really creative endeavors, and I am sure that the Internet and social media will likely play a big part in their money-making endeavors."

Other initiatives may range from car washes or bake sales, to providing handyman or transportation services. The goal is to maximize earnings, so entrepreneurial and creative thinking will drive this activity.

The second week's event will involve a collaborative effort by the Darden Marketing and Leadership and Organizational Behavior areas. The week of April 4 will provide students with a highly complex, strategic simulation experience. Competing teams of five to six students will make a host of major and minor decisions on behalf of companies or industries that they will pretend to manage. StratSim, a web-based, interactive simulation program will calculate the consequences of the students' decisions based on market activity. Professors will compare the different teams' results.

During the "Capstone Weeks," students will both collaborate and compete, and the experience will provide them with an opportunity to integrate everything they have learned to date in Darden's First Year Full-Time MBA program.

For questions or information, contact communication@darden.virginia.edu or a member of the Communication team.

SOURCE University of Virginia's Darden School of Business