Darden on the Road: Upcoming Events in Asia and the US

The Darden Admissions Committee is getting ready to kick off their travel season and can’t wait to meet future Darden students around the globe.

Dean Scott Beardsley will be joining our team for events in Asia in June and we couldn’t be more excited. If we are scheduled to be in a city near you, we hope you’ll mark your calendars to come to our event, meet the Dean of the Darden School and learn more about our top-ranked MBA.

1 June – Singapore – Register

6 June – Hong Kong – Register

7 June – Shanghai – Register

15 June – Beijing – Register

18 June – Tokyo – Register

We hope to see many of you there!

For those in the United States, we’re also participating in multi-school events around the country throughout the month of June. Please visit our website to see when we will be in a location near you. These multi-school events are a great way to learn more about the MBA application process and connect with Admissions Committee members and alumni.

We will add travel dates throughout the summer and fall, so be sure to bookmark our Events page and check back often. We look forward to meeting you in the coming months!

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Reflections on Darden – GEMBA ’17

As graduation approaches, we asked members of the EMBA and GEMBA Classes of 2017 to share their thoughts on the Darden experience. Below you will find reflections from two GEMBA students. You can find the EMBA reflections here.

I decided to spend the day after our last class walking around Darden, and UVA grounds, with my best friend (who deserves an honorary degree for all his support during the program). I showed him our classrooms, the art on the walls, the Abbott Dining center, the Rotunda, and the Lawn. I felt so proud to tell him that on May 21st, I’ll graduate from Darden and UVA. It is an amazing feeling to be part of the Darden community, to walk the hallways that amazing people have walked and will walk.

I still remember my first day of class 21 months ago (which was also my birthday). I was eager, excited, and ready for the adventure. But I was also skeptical about the amazing journey everybody described. I remember talking to a dear mentor, and Darden alum, when I was looking for a place to get my MBA. I will never forget her words: “Darden was a transformational experience for me”. I had read a lot about Darden, the accolades, the rankings, the amazing Faculty, and I had attended three classes to experience the case method; still… I was skeptical. I was expecting a great education, but transformational seemed like a marketing word. As I walked the beautiful corridors at Darden towards Jefferson’s statue enjoying the breeze of a beautiful spring morning in Charlottesville after that last class, I realized I am a different person. My experience was indeed transformational.

Over the last 21 months I’ve learned everything I wanted to learn about business and numbers. I’ve learned 100 Excel  and how to use Finance and Accounting to analyze a corporation or a project. I’ve also learned the about the complexity of Operations, and I can read the Wall Street Journal and the Economist and understand what’s going on. I can dive into a Corporation’s Annual Report and see beyond the basics. But most importantly, I discovered my passion for Decision Analysis and its application to everything business. This revelation led me to make a big shift at work, which has brought joy and immense personal and professional satisfaction. It’s the job I would do even if I didn’t get paid to do it.

Darden exceeded my expectations. The global program exposed me to different cultures and perspectives. I’ve learned the importance of seeing people as people (sounds like a basic concept but it’s incredible how often we see others as pieces of a puzzle), and how all cultures (including those of organizations) are “flat and lumpy”.  When I changed roles, I realized that I had the tools to understand my new organizational culture. Many things were the same (flat) but others were not (lumpy). The art to navigating these twin realities is to become a cultural chameleon without losing who we are in the process. However, this concept goes beyond the organization. During our Leadership classes, we talked about the importance of learning some history to better understand culture. I’ve tried to apply that to my day to day, as a friend, a coworker, and a leader. I try to go beyond the superficial to truly understand each and every person with whom interact. This approach has allowed me see people as they are, to understand their objectives, and to appreciate what they bring to the table. In short, I’m a better leader, professional, and person because of everything I learned during the last 21 months.

I can talk for hours, and I’m happy to do so, about the experiences and lessons I’ve learned. But I also want to mention the fun. And the fun comes in the form of my classmates. I love my classmates, and I know we will be friends for life. I know I have the “six people we all need in our corners”. In fact, I have 29. I can’t even believe how much we’ve laughed together. We supported each other through countless cold calls, studied together until late at night, developed our own language to make fun of ourselves, and shared some beers around the world (well, wine in Paris). We explored the world together and supported each other when we got sick. We saw each other become a better version of ourselves.

My long walk around Darden finished in front of our pictures. I told my best friend. “These are my classmates. They are my friends and my family.” We talked about each one of them and what made them great. I know that I can pick up the phone and they will be there. I know the faculty will be there. I know Darden alumni network will be there.

-Janeth Gomez

Where do you want to go? Everywhere!

That’s how I felt in 2015 when I applied to join Darden’s GEMBA program. I’m not going to lie; I did not know what awaited me if I was honored with admission to this prestigious school. I only knew that it would be a journey worth taking.

I got the call that changed my life on my birthday.

Nearly two years later, I see the world differently. I’m in possession of skills that were previously unknown to me. I’m friends with people I never would have met otherwise and I’m part of a larger Darden family that spreads out from Charlottesville to São Paulo to San Francisco to Shanghai to Delhi to Paris and back again. I’d seen the world before. But I’d never seen it like this.

It all started with Thomas Jefferson, the intellectual visionary and foundational rock upon with the University of Virginia and, by extension, Darden School of Business is built upon. His spirit of boundless curiosity lives on through the school and fuels our drive to explore the world.

You would think that learning about economics, finance, accounting, decision analysis, marketing, operations, strategy, entrepreneurship and leadership from faculty who have lived the curriculum would be enough for a complete education. With GEMBA, however, you get more than you bargained for.

Theory and discussion are starting points. Talking with the president of Coca-Cola India in Delhi, McKinsey’s chairman for Latin America in São Paulo and the chief economist for the People’s Bank of China in Beijing, however, is an education without peer.

How do we meet the world and see it for what it is? How do we accept it, work with it and add value to it? These questions are best answered face-to-face with the reality of Mumbai and Shanghai. These questions are best answered on the Embraer factory floor in Brazil. These questions are best answered in a discussion about the business of luxury with executives at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris. You will come out the other side of this education with a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing global executives. You will be better equipped to succeed.

I can’t promise that you’ll have my GEMBA experience – let’s not talk about what happened in Lapa – but I can promise that you will have an experience that is without parallel. Enjoy.

-Wright Bryan

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Application Feedback Appointments Now Available

If you will be reapplying to Darden in the fall and would like to receive feedback on your application, registration is now open for a one-on-one, 15-minute feedback session with a member of the Admissions Committee during the month of June. At this time, we are not offering feedback appointments to applicants on the waitlist. 

This is an opportunity to find out how you can improve your candidacy for your Darden application for the coming year. Please note that reconsideration for the current admission cycle is not an option.

To schedule a phone appointment, please go to our Application Feedback page and select a time slot. We currently have slots available throughout the month of June. Within 48 hours of signing up for an appointment, you will receive an e-mail with the name and phone number for the Admissions Committee member you are to call at the designated time.

We look forward to talking with those of you that sign up!

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Darden’s Future Year Admissions Program: New Deadline Announced

Attention all graduating college seniors! If you were thinking about applying to Darden’s Future Year Admissions program but missed the May deadline, we have good news. We are adding an additional deadline for the graduating class of 2017. Watch the video below to learn more, and when you’re ready, start your application here.

Watch the video: New Future Year Deadline

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Reflections on Darden – EMBA ’17

As graduation approaches, we asked members of the EMBA and GEMBA Classes of 2017 to share their thoughts on the Darden experience. Below you will find reflections from two EMBA students. We will post GEMBA reflections in the coming days.

Pulling away from the Darden Inn gatehouse a few weeks ago, it was hard to believe this was my last Saturday afternoon drive from Charlottesville to Norfolk after an on grounds residency. The monthly pilgrimage to C-ville has become so ingrained into my schedule it’s difficult to imagine life without it. While I will be glad to reallocate hours from case prep and learning teams back to family, friends, and hobbies, I also lament that I will be losing my official role as a student. Learning is certainly a life-long pursuit but the privilege of learning as a member of Thomas Jefferson’s academical village is time bound.

Professor Lynn Isabella, our Leading Organizations professor, taught us the importance of “firehouse time” for firefighters. While the main work of fire fighters happens on the fire grounds, their time back in the fire house to debrief, recharge, and train is vital to their success when actually it is time to combat a fire. For many of us in the EMBA 2017 cohort, our monthly residencies in Charlottesville have become our fire house time. For some, these trips represent an opportunity to fully embrace the experience of being a student at the University of Virginia. For those that live in Charlottesville, residencies are a mini “staycation” – a few nights away at the Darden Inn. Many of us enjoy trying the plethora of restaurants, taking advantage of the nearby wineries and breweries, or incorporating outdoor activities like hiking or skiing to the weekend. But apart from all this, perhaps what I’ve enjoyed the most is the opportunity to develop friendships with the 60 amazing individuals who are my classmates.

The Darden network is often touted as a major strength of the program. I’ve certainly developed a network through the alumni, faculty & staff, and other contacts I’ve had the opportunity to meet through various Darden activities. At the end of my 21-months in the program, I’ve also gained a 60-person family. Congratulations to the entire Darden Class of 2017, and to the EMBAs, thank you.

-Meredith Donegan

This is the first thing I’ve typed into Word since completing my final assignment at Darden yesterday. Though I promised myself it would be a long time before I wrote anything again, when given the opportunity to write to students considering Darden, I opened my laptop.

I am just a few weeks from graduating, and I would not trade my experience for the world. I came to Darden to break into a finance role at an investment bank, and I have realized that opportunity. But, the job prospect is not the only thing I will take away from my Darden experience.

The relationships I’ve developed with my classmates, the faculty, and the Darden alumni network will long outlast my understanding of Accounting. Honestly, they already have. And when I remember my time in Charlottesville, it won’t just be the finance classes. It will be football games in the fall and baseball in the spring. It will be seeing Dave Matthews play at the John Paul Jones arena and spending time on the historic Lawn after eating a Gus Burger on the Corner. I’ll remember missing the school bus in China and taking an exam in a New York City hotel room. I’ll remember the businesses my classmates created in the lecture hall, and the professors who encouraged them to grow the idea. Ultimately, I’ll remember the people, and how Darden prioritized relationships over spreadsheets. And, if you take nothing else away from my reflection and want some academic advice, take Michael Ho’s Mergers and Acquisitions class, and don’t leave when he tries to get you to drop it on the first day.

-Ryan Burke

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From Near East Studies to Consulting: Alice Cassin (MBA ’17) Shares Advice

You may have heard that Poets & Quants recently ranked Darden as the top US feeder school for consulting jobs. If you’re interested in consulting, you may be wondering how students secure consulting careers and how they got to Darden.

Alice Cassin (Class of 2017) is one of those students: she has an offer with Accenture after she graduates. She also came from a non-traditional background, graduating from college with a degree in Near East Studies. She recently talked with Business Insider about how – and why – she ended up at Darden. You can read the interview here.

Want to learn more about the careers our students pursue? Our employment report can be found here. And we’ll be on the road this summer with Admissions representatives and alumni, so bookmark our Events page and join us when we’re in your area to learn how the Darden MBA will help you achieve your career goals.

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Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA – Marco Mendoza Saenz, GEMBA ’18

Name: Marco Mendoza Saenz
City: Lima, Peru
Employer: Scotiabank Peru
Years of Experience: 8
Format/Section: GEMBA / CHO

  1. What is your current job?

Head of Investment Strategy at Scotiabank Peru

  1. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

My focus has always been finance. However, now that I have a CFA certification, I think my finance knowledge is covered. As I thought about the future, I realized I needed to improve my leadership skills in the medium term, and I would like to open my own finance-related business in the long term. That’s why I decided to pursue an MBA.

  1. Why did you choose Darden?

The schedule and the case method. I wanted to get the most out of this experience, and I felt the case method would allow me to learn from all of the people in the classroom, hearing their perspectives and thoughts as we talked about business problems, not just the professor. In addition, as an international student commuting for the residencies, Darden’s schedule fit my life and commitments, allowing me to maintain a balance between my job and my student role.

  1. What attracted you to the executive formats of the Darden MBA?

Simply put, the opportunity cost of leaving my job for two years to pursue a full-time MBA was too high. I have the opportunity to work on a very interesting project for the next couple of years, and I didn’t want to give up this chance to go back to school when I could earn the same degree and continue working.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?

The sense of unity. My perception is that we all feel we are a part of one large group, and we want everyone in the class to succeed.

  1. What are you most excited about accomplishing/doing during the program?  

I’m pretty excited about the global residencies. I think a program like this can be a game changer in your career perspective. I think it will expand my horizons and change the way I do things. As a GEMBA student, I think this kind of change will come not only from my classmates but also from the places I will visit over the next 21 months.

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Career Advisor Spotlight: Ed Yu

by Sydney Sfreddo

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business consistently ranks in the top-tier for their career services among MBA programs. To continue introducing you to the career advisors at Darden’s Career Development Center (CDC), this week we are highlighting Ed Yu, Senior Associate Director of Career Education and Advising. Read more about Darden’s Career Development Center in the news here.

How long have you been a career advisor at Darden?
I have been in career advising at Darden for over 11 years now.

What did you do prior to coming to Darden?
Before Darden, I was a career advisor at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business. I also spent time in the investment banking industry working for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ)/ Credit Suisse in New York and worked in sales and trading for J.P. Morgan in Singapore and in mergers and acquisitions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Asia.

What is your favorite part about serving as a career advisor?
I really enjoy helping students who are facing challenges in their search find a good internship or full-time job that’s the right fit for them. I’m a very empathetic person and I use that empathy in my role to relate to students as they are going through the job search process and help them achieve success.

What career advice would you give to an incoming student to help them prepare for their career search before they arrive at Darden?
I would advise them to do their research and narrow down their focus to around three areas of interest or less. Everyone is in a different point in their career exploration, but having that narrowed down focus will help them get the most out of their MBA experience.

What are a couple of hobbies you like to do in your spare time outside of the office?
I enjoy hiking and playing tennis.

What is your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?
It’s great experiencing the four seasons in Charlottesville. It’s also a fairly peaceful place and there’s so much beauty with the surrounding nature and mountains in the area.

What do you think makes Darden’s Career Development Center unique?

The CDC team members are extremely passionate about their jobs and helping students. You see that passion translate into great outcomes for students in the recruiting process.

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Meet Darden’s EMBA & GEMBA – Jonathan Vassil, EMBA ’18

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.


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Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA – Mariana Santos, EMBA ’18

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.

Mariana is an international, executive format student studying at Darden on an F-1 visa. There are two pathways for international students in Darden’s executive formats – One in which students reside in the United States (like Mariana) and another in which students live abroad and travel to the United States for their residencies. For additional details regarding these pathways, please click here. Please note, international students who are residing in the United States and enrolled in our executive formats are the only executive format students who are eligible to participate in an internship. If you have any questions about any of our options for international executive format students, please feel free to email us at ExecMBA@darden.virginia.edu.

Name: Mariana Santos
City: Charlottesville – originally from Sao Paulo / Brazil
Employer: Summer Internship Walmart Ecommerce*
Years of Experience: 7 years of work experience
Format/Section: EMBA Charlottesville

1. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

I majored in Advertisement & Marketing, and after 7 years of work experience, I felt behind in my business skills. I really wanted to improve my business and analytical skills, and I knew that an MBA would help me to achieve this goal. I decided to pursue my MBA in the US, because I was interested in gaining a new mindset for approaching and solving problems, and I also wanted to experience a new culture. It has been almost one year since I started my executive MBA at Darden, and I already notice how much I’ve learned and grown.

2. Why did you choose Darden?

I chose Darden for many reasons – the faculty, the close-knit community, but the one that really stands out is the case method, which, in my opinion, is very similar to most business situations. You have to work and make decisions based on the information described in the case; sometimes you will have the right amount of information, and sometimes you have to make assumptions. And what’s even more interesting is that there is often no right or wrong answer. It’s all about how you make the case for your ideas. It always fascinates me how people with the same data can arrive at different solutions to problems.

3. What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?

We have a very diverse class with super talented students, and everyone has something to contribute in class. Since our program started, I have noticed how much my classmates have grown. Some have decided to start their own business, others have been promoted or started new jobs. I get excited about their achievements and I’m extremely proud of them.

4. What are you most excited about accomplishing/doing during the program?  

I came to the program knowing I wanted to work in the US, and Darden helped to achieve this goal. I had the entire support of the Career Development Center, which helped me with every aspect of the job search process, but I also had the support of Darden Alumni. They not only shared their work experience with me, but also shared advice with me on how I could improve my search.

5. What advice do you have for prospective students?

Darden will be a great experience, and you will be surprised at how time will fly. My academic advice for those that don’t have a strong background in accounting or Excel is to study and practice the basic concepts as much as possible before the program starts. In addition, try to prepare for all the cases before each residency so you can enjoy your free time with your classmates. Trust the process and be committed to your learning teams; they will help you prepare for classes.

My social advice is to enjoy every minute of this experience. It is extremely hard to balance work, family, and Darden, so when you spend your time with your classmates, try to be fully present and engage with them as much as you can.

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