Get to Know Current First Year Darden MBA Student, Ashton Daily!
Ashton Daily is many things: A husband. A father of a three-year-old daughter. A former US Army infantry Officer. A self-proclaimed Texas BBQ pitmaster. And a student in Darden’s Class of 2020! He recently took time out of a busy first year to tell us about himself, what drew him to Darden and where he hopes to go from here. Check out Ashton’s answers below!
Tell us a little more about your background.
I was most recently an Infantry Officer in the US Army. I graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and went on to receive a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far?
My classmates are genuinely authentic people, which allows us to build the trust necessary to learn through the case method.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you?
After separating from the Army, I knew I would need new skills in order to lead effectively in the private sector. I was also interested in learning about industries, roles and opportunities I had not previously been exposed to during my time in the military.
I was particularly attracted to Darden’s emphasis on academics and managerial education. As someone who is completely reinventing his professional life, I wanted a school that was equally committed to building my business skills and preparing me for the next step in my career. For me, Darden was that school.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school?
The Darden Military Association (DMA) has been a phenomenal community during my transition to civilian life. I’m particularly excited about being involved with the DMA and finding more ways to give back to the veteran community.
What was your approach to finding an MBA program that was right for you?
As a career-switcher, I was looking for schools with excellent academic and career development reputations. I started this process by researching online through Poets & Quants and schools’ websites.
Next, I attended each school’s dedicated, on-campus military recruiting event. At these events I was able to connect with Admissions staff and student-led veterans’ organizations, which was extremely helpful in getting an authentic feel for what my future life at that school might look like. I also asked about career resources and whether my desired employers were actively recruiting on campus.
Lastly, I tried to determine if the local community was somewhere my family and I actually wanted to live while raising our young daughter.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I envision myself living in Dallas, TX and working in a Case Team Leader / Project Manager role at a leading management consulting firm. Hopefully, my young family will have expanded with another child or two, and I will still be able to find time to smoke 13-lb briskets on Saturdays while watching college football.