Monday, March 29, 2010

Darden Structure and International Experiences

In the comments section of my previous blog post, I received some questions regarding how Darden could increase international exposure, as well as what the benefits are of how Darden structures the year. Rather than replying in the comment section, I figured I would write a blog.

First, Darden and international exposure...

There are a variety of ways through which Darden gives an international exposure through the curriculum. As you may be aware, there are GBEs (global business experiences) to a wide variety of places: Barcelona, Brazil, Stockholm, Mexico City, Argentina, Bahrain, and a bunch of other places that I cannot currently recall. Students have the opportunity to attend up to two of these through their time at Darden. Beyond this, partnerships with companies like Danaher offer students the opportunity to go and do projects in their overseas divisions (this past spring break, some of my classmates did a Kaizen event in India). So there are opportunities for short trips abroad to get a glimpse of culture and business in foreign countries. If you want something longer, Darden has exchange programs with a number of partner schools. Off the top of my head, I can think of students who have gone to Sweden, Barcelona, Italy and Japan. There are more, though!

Another international flavour that Darden brings is international cases. By no means are the cases we study centered on American companies. I can't estimate the portion of the breakdown, but there are a lot of international cases that we study.

And finally, of course, there are international students. These students (of which I am one, though culturally, there isn't a significant difference between Canadians and Americans) bring their cultural knowledge and experiences into both the classroom and the extracurricular time. Just this past Saturday, I enjoyed Indian dancing at the Bollywood night. The richness of the international experience depends on how immersed you are with international students. Because I had the opportunity to attend international student orientation (well, not opportunity so much as requirement), I got to know a bunch of international students.

Structure of Darden Curriculum

Since there are changes on the horizon, all I can say is that the benefit of the Darden structure is that it allows for modular learning. If we only took five courses in first semester, I don't know that we'd be as prepared as we needed to be for interviews. Using shorter chunks of time for courses allows us to integrate learning across subject areas because there is more variety.

**Note: Just wanted to clarify that the change is not with the curriculum, but the structure (i.e. when each module is delivered). I think the move is toward six terms rather than four quarters.

Anyway, I am happy to answer your questions, so feel free to leave some in the comments. I generally check them fairly regularly.


Anonymous said...

Can you expand on the Darden curriculum changes you mentioned in a previous post?

Thank you

enny said...

Hi Julie,

I'm a Class of 2012 admit and really excited to be coming to Darden. I want through some of your early 09 posts during your prep to move to the US... and they were helpful. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

What more can you say about the upcoming changes to the curriculum?