Much like our residential students, the students enrolled in the Executive Formats of the Darden MBA come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers, goals, and interests. We have asked several of our EMBA and GEMBA students to answer a few questions about their MBA experiences, which we will post over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy getting to know them, and if you have any additional questions about our Executive Formats, we encourage you to schedule a conversation with a member of our Admissions Committee.
Name: Jonathan Vassil
City: Baltimore, MD
Employer: OrderUp, A Groupon Company
Years of Experience: 15
Format/Section: Charlottesville; EMBA
1. What is your current job?
Head of Sales and Operations, OrderUp/Groupon-to-Go
2. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
My goal is to run a large, complex organization and an MBA, specifically the Darden MBA, represents an opportunity to create a robust skill set and diverse array of capabilities that will help me lead across all facets of an organization, not just my current functional area.
3. Why did you choose Darden?
There are several reasons that led to my decision to attend The Darden School of Business. First, the case-method provides a hands-on, real world learning experience that yields immediate application in my current role. I will leave a residency or distance class and immediately put what I’ve learned into practice – which my team (and employer) appreciates. Additionally, the administration and professors are world-class – their experience, passion and ability to educate are obvious and energize me in and out of the classroom. Lastly, the Darden brand and network are exceptional – Darden’s alumni are open and welcoming and I’ve already begun to open doors thanks to the strength of the alumni network.
4. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA?
Really, two things attracted me to the executive format. First, while the program’s learning process is intense, the format allows me to continue working and apply what I’m learning in class in real world situations on a daily basis – thus reinforcing these lessons. Secondly, I knew I’d be surrounded by a talented, driven and diverse set of classmates. Our cohort is comprised of a strong group of leaders, and the byproduct is an exceptional learning environment and support structure.
5. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?
That’s an easy one – the diversity. Imagine an extremely talented group of people from all walks of life that serve many different sectors, industries and stakeholders coming together several times a week to learn, challenge and grow. It’s literally impossible to leave each and every class without learning something new – both abstract and practical.
6. What are you most excited about accomplishing/doing during the program?
I’m most excited to address my obvious experience gaps – finance among them – through the curriculum and learning methods that Darden offers. Additionally, I’m excited to broaden my network and create meaningful relationships with my classmates and Darden alumni.
7. What advice do you have for prospective students?
You’ll hear this advice over and over, but it can’t be emphasized enough. The output of the program is linear to your input. Your effort, preparation and engagement will determine how much you learn, who you meet and ultimately, what the program will yield. Treat this is as a serious investment or undertaking and you’ll be infinitely more valuable when you leave Darden at the conclusion of the program.