How QS Helped Me Find the Right Executive MBA Program |

How QS Helped Me Find the Right Executive MBA Program

By Niamh O

Updated February 16, 2021 Updated February 16, 2021

What's it like getting an EMBA at UC Irvine? We spoke with Dr. Derek Dashti, Founder, Inventor, & CEO at D&P Bioinnovations about his experience - and how QS Virtual MBA events helped him choose the right program for him and his future career in the innovative healthcare space.

Choosing the right executive MBA program can feel like a long and gruelling task, with a whole host of factors each prospective business school student needs to consider.

However, there are a number of tools at your disposal to help you find the right business school and program for you.

Dr. Derek C. Dashti, Founder, Inventor, & CEO at D&P Bioinnovations (pictured below) spoke with TopMBA about his experience with the QS Virtual MBA events, his career so far, and why undertaking UC Irvine’s executive MBA program would take his career to the next level.

derek dashti uc irvine emba

Why an executive MBA?

Derek says he’d had some interest in getting an MBA in some form as he was interested in the business of medicine and understanding the gaps in innovation. He showed interest through the QS platform and was put on an MBA email list, and Leilah from QS reached out to him.

He said: “She brought up the UC Irvine program and that was of interest to me. It’s close to me in San Diego, but she got me in touch with a few MD and MBA students there as well.

“QS connected me with an admissions officer at UCI who told me that I had all this entrepreneurial experience, but an executive or managerial program makes a huge difference because of what you’re taught.

“It was the admissions officer that QS put me in touch with that explained how I could utilize the EMBA’s network to help guide me in my pursuits of building innovations [at my company]. That really stuck with me.

“One of my favorite classes is the Business of Medicine—understanding how certain key stakeholders like insurance providers come into play when translating innovations to market. The EMBA has gotten me one step higher in understanding the key stakeholders I need to know about and how to manage novel innovations to market.”

Virtual fair

Last year, the majority of the working world had to shift online – and so did QS events. Rather than holding in-person events as part of the QS World MBA Tour, candidates now had the opportunity to connect with schools around the world from their own homes.

Derek said: “It’s always different when you meet the person face-to-face, but I don’t think meeting all the different school admissions teams back-to-back could have been done in person. Especially if I was meeting schools out on the east coast and the west coast.

“I think the QS platform, pre-pandemic or even post-pandemic would have still been very, very helpful on my end just to get a broader depth of where I would want to pursue my education.”

“I would recommend students go through a similar type of process, because it was more seamless than going to a general fair.

“The MBA program is all about the network you get. I still stay in touch with some of the admissions officers from the other universities, and they check in from time to time asking how I’m doing and how’s my program going and that was all because of QS.”

Derek says the personal engagement he had with Leilah, was one of the best parts of the QS platform.

He said: “She was someone that I could email and let her know about my background. I think the individualistic, tailored outreach was very powerful.”

As part of the virtual event process, QS was able to speak with schools and find out which were interested in Derek. Although he wasn’t initially thinking about an MBA, with time, he decided it could be something for him, and it was something he should pursue.

Derek said: “It was the ongoing engagement and persistence that really gave me confidence. I think Leilah saw something in me to pursue and I found it in the executive MBA program at UCI, so, that one-on-one tailored relationship was really nice to have.”

The school’s perspective 

Lindsay Haberman, UC Irvine Assistant Director of Recruitment and Admissions for the full time MBA at UC Irvine, told us the virtual QS events were a learning curve at first as the school had to adapt to not interacting face-to-face with candidates.

She said: “The quality of events we have had over the months has been fantastic, and we’ve really gotten to meet a lot of very diverse, quality students in the virtual setting.

“Overall, I think it’s been very supportive; it always has been with QS. That’s why we continue year after year to have the partnership with QS. That only intensified in a virtual environment, they have really been very helpful and supportive.”

“They gave us lists of candidates that would fit our criteria and then we could view each one and check if we thought that was someone we would like to meet.

“[QS] were really hands-on on the front end to make sure we’d have quality conversations in our meet-ups. That was something we hadn’t had with other events we did with other companies.

“When we have a virtual meet-up, you want to make sure they’re fully attended and by people that are really interested in the program.”

This article was originally published in February 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (;, creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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