We hope you are having a great MLK Day! Ximena Velez, ’19, is from Santa Cruz, Bolivia (by way of  Washington, D.C.), and she recently accepted a Product Manager role at Starbucks. We recently caught up with Ximena to chat more about her job search and why she chose Darden. 

What job did you accept?

Product Manager at Starbucks.

What was your background before coming to Darden?

Strategy consulting at Kaiser Associates, a boutique firm in Washington, D.C..

Why did you choose Darden?

Visiting Darden made my decision an easy one. I knew that wherever I decided to attend business school I would get good career opportunities, interesting courses and global experiences. The sense of community I felt when I visited Darden was different than other schools. You see it inside the classroom and beyond—the community is strong and I wanted to be at a place where I could feel at home and build new relationships.

How has your experience been?

Amazing! I’ve learned more than I ever anticipated, learned from amazing professors, traveled and formed friendships that will last a lifetime. Darden is truly a transformative experience.

How do you think Darden prepared you for the role you accepted? Anything you think helped differentiate you in the application process?

I’ve told my friends that without Darden’s core curriculum, I would have failed at my internship. I was applying things I had learned in finance, operations, marketing and more, and my role really required that I understand all of these areas.

What advice would you give prospective students considering Darden?

Come visit and experience the classroom, join First Coffee, walk around grounds, talk to students. Business school is more than just the job you’re going to get after graduating. It’s an opportunity for immense personal growth as well.