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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Full Time Round 3 Application Deadline: 6 April

As a reminder, Darden’s Round 3 Application deadline for the Full-Time MBA program is next Thursday, 6 April 2017. This is the final deadline for the Full-Time MBA this year. If you would like to be considered for admission into the Class of 2019, please be sure to submit your application by this date.

If you are interested in Darden’s Executive MBA formats, our next exec deadline is Monday, 10 April.

We look forward to getting to know you through your application. When you are ready to apply, you can do so here.

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Career Advisor Spotlight: Margaret Weeks

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business consistently ranks as one of the best in career services among MBA programs internationally. To provide you with an idea of the depth and variety of experiences that the career advisors at Darden’s Career Development Center (CDC) bring, we will be introducing a few of them to you highlighting their professional backgrounds, advice for incoming students and a few fun facts about them. Read more about Darden’s Career Development Center in the news here.

Last week, we met Jim Collins. This week, we’ll introduce you to Margaret Weeks, Assistant Director of Career Education and Advising.

How long have you been a career advisor at Darden?
I have been a career advisor since 2012, but I have worn other hats at the CDC and been a part of the CDC team since 2004.

What did you do prior to coming to Darden?
My experience falls into several buckets. I spent ten years working in private school administration, two years as a disabilities advocate and seven years working in non-profits, including The Alzheimer’s Association and co- founding a non-profit, Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform.

What is your favorite part about serving as a career advisor?
Developing close relationships with students and helping them achieve their career goals. I get to serve as a student’s cheerleader, advocate and trusted advisor to help them become their best interview-self and land the job they’ve always wanted. It’s also rewarding forming long-lasting relationships with students and seeing former students come back to recruit after they’ve graduated.

What career advice would you give to an incoming student to help them prepare for their career search before they arrive at Darden?

There are many things an incoming student can do, but I’ll focus on some of the more granular things. I would encourage you to make lists of your personal, professional and collegiate networks (If you aren’t a member of your college/university alumni association, you might want to consider joining) now to accumulate a list of people you can call on to help with your networking efforts. Also, taking time to reflect on why you are coming to business school and the goals you want to achieve. To save time once you’re at Darden, it’s very helpful to have compiled your “career file” before you get here. Things for this file include old performance reviews from work that highlight strengths and weaknesses, and testing scores (including SATs) since some companies will require information from that far back when you apply for a position. Additionally, I recommend talking to people in your network that have jobs you may be interested in, and asking them questions about their work to gather as much information as possible.

What are a couple of hobbies you like to do in your spare time outside of the office?
Photography and archiving my children’s lives in books is a real passion of mine. As my kids are finishing up at the schools they’re attending, I’ve been developing personal yearbooks for them. I also enjoy researching and accessing data about my family’s life and my ancestry, and actually found a telegram from my grandfather from World War I, which was really cool! I also knit and have two dogs that I enjoy chasing around.

What is your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?

It’s a special place for me because I also grew up in this area. Charlottesville is a cosmopolitan small town that combines the democratic university atmosphere with a small town feel. There are a ton of great amenities, and I enjoy living in a place that has a lot of culture and people who are thoughtful and kind. For incoming students, Charlottesville gives them a chance to get off the treadmill for a few years and live in a place where you have time to breathe and time to think.

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

The people. How much we care about our students, how much we engage with students and that we hang in there with our students from start to finish in their job search. The CDC is a relational place and not a transactional place, and whatever level of support students need, they will find it here.

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The Forté Foundation Celebrates 15 Years

By now, many of you have probably heard of the Forté Foundation – a consortium of top business schools and leading companies working together to help launch women into successful and fulfilling careers in business. In 2017, Forté is celebrating 15 years of dedication to this mission. As one of the founding members of the Forté Foundation, Darden is so proud to have been a part of the last decade and a half and can’t wait to see what’s next. Read more about this exciting anniversary and what Forté has accomplished so far here or drop in to our chatroom at the Forté Virtual Forum next Thursday, 6 April. We are so excited to get to know the next class of Darden and Forté women!

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You’re Invited: Darden at Forté’s Virtual Forum

Forté Foundation’s Virtual Forum
Thursday, 6 April 2017
12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Register Here

Join Darden and other top business schools at the Forté Foundation’s virtual forum for prospective MBA women. This online, chat-based forum is a great way to explore your business school options and get your questions answered without leaving home. Registration for this event is free.

Stop by Darden’s room any time from 12:00 – 3:00 pm to chat with members of the Admissions Committee. Whether you are planning to apply to an MBA program in the next year or are just starting your research, we would love to share more with you about the Darden experience.

We hope to see you there!

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Career Advisor Spotlight: Jim Collins

By Sydney Sfreddo

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business consistently ranks as one of the best in career services among MBA programs internationally. To provide you with an idea of the depth and variety of experiences that the career advisors at Darden’s Career Development Center (CDC) bring, we will be introducing a few of them to you highlighting their professional backgrounds, advice for incoming students and a few fun facts about them . Our first spotlight is Jim Collins, Associate Director of Career Education and Advising for the executive format students. 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 a career advisor at Darden for two years now. However, I have been working in career advising for eight years.

What did you do prior to coming to Darden?
I have a very broad background in organizational, executive, management, and professional development.  During the course of my career, I’ve worked with 3 consulting firms, and served as a senior executive with trade associations in the technology, manufacturing, distribution, and electric utility industries.  Prior to Darden, I had worked with over 2,000 professionals ranging from new graduates to C-suite level executives at a global consulting firm, helping them with their career transitions and job searches.

What is your favorite part about serving as a career advisor?
What excites me is working with individuals in either one-on-one or a group settings to enable them to establish clarity and direction for their careers and career transitions.  I also enjoy producing programs that allow students to explore their career paths and potential industries, and then help them develop the search strategies and networks that allow them to reinvent their careers.

What career advice would you give to an incoming executive format student looking to make a career change?
There really is no one piece of advice. Approximately 120 students enter the Executive MBA program here at Darden every year, and each has their own, very unique career quest.  However, those considering a significant transformation in their career direction will be going through a multi-phased process that takes time. We want to begin working with these students early on at the CDC to help define their career goals and the plans they will need to reach them.

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

What is your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?
What is there not to like about Charlottesville? I’ve lived in major cities all my life. Charlottesville has an affordable cost of living, no traffic congestion and the countryside is absolutely beautiful. It’s a very stimulating community with a strong arts presence, a lot of cultural and athletic events, a large volume of history and great restaurants. It’s also no more than a couple of hours from the beach or Washington, D.C.

What do you think makes Darden’s Career Development Center unique?
On the executive format career services side, we establish very personal relationships with each and every student, and work closely with them to develop customized programs that enable them to articulate and achieve whatever their career objectives are.

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Meet Darden’s EMBA and GEMBA – Arica Booker, 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: Arica R. Booker
City: Washington D.C Metro Area
Employer: SodexoMagic
Years of Experience: 10 years
Format/Section: EMBA ROS

1. What is your current job?

Senior Operations Manager, SodexoMagic

2. Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

I have been working in general management for a little over 10 years, and I started to feel my head hitting a “glass ceiling.” I looked into pursuing an MBA to provide a much needed boost to my career, knowing an MBA would differentiate me from a number of my colleagues within the industry.

3. Why did you choose Darden?

When making a decision about school options, I spoke to my mentor and family. By this time, I had already made the commitment to pursue my MBA, but I needed to determine which school was best fit for me. Both my mentor and family confirmed that Darden’s reputation amongst senior executives and top companies, far exceeded the reputations of other schools I was considering. The community seemed very strong and supportive. In addition, Darden’s focus on global management, both in terms of geography and a holistic, enterprise perspective, differentiated the school from the rest. The “cherry on top” was the vast network of successful Darden alumni.

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

When I thought about going back to school, I knew I wanted to learn alongside experienced, seasoned business leaders. Darden is case method, and I realized that class conversations, because of the people in the room, would go in many different directions that would benefit my learning. Furthermore, the flexibility afforded by the hybrid format of online and in-person learning best fit my desire to be in a traditional classroom setting while continuing to work full-time and raise my two girls.

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

This is simple: My classmates are an amazingly talented and diverse support system. We literally have laughed and cried together.

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

I am most excited about the global experiences that I have scheduled. I will be traveling to India and Uganda, and I know these trips will be life changing and offer a different perspective of my current industry as well as business as a whole. I’m particularly excited to visit Uganda as part of a Global Immersion elective and see healthcare, education and entrepreneurship through the eyes of an emerging market.

7. What advice do you have for prospective students?

Be ready for a personal and professional metamorphosis, above and beyond what you may even expect from the program.  This program has been tough, amazing, crazy and enlightening all at once…who knew!?!

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