Today, we catch up with Second Year student, Lorena Quezada Zaragoza. Lorena is from Peru, and she will be joining Hilton at their McLean, Virginia Headquarters as a Finance Manager after graduation. Check out Lorena’s answers below. And be sure to review our previous entry from Second Year, Teddy Fay!

How did you decide to pursue an MBA?

Pursuing an MBA in the U.S. had been an important long-term goal of mine since graduating from college. For me, it was more of a decision about timing and balancing my personal and professional life. Before coming to Darden, I spent seven years working in financial institutions (in treasury and capital markets roles); and in April 2017, I married my college sweetheart. Four months later, we moved from Lima, Peru to Charlottesville and started this journey together (Editor’s Note: Lorena’s husband is also a Second Year student!).

How did you choose Darden?

I wanted to be in an environment where I could learn from different perspectives and get out of my comfort zone. Since I didn’t engage much in class discussions during my undergraduate years, Darden’s case method sparked my interest. I also wanted to get involved in a wide array of activities and enhance my leadership skills. Finally, I wanted to be in a place where I could feel like home and form lifelong friends. Darden was exactly what I was looking for.

What has been your favorite thing about your experience?

The opportunity to meet amazing people from around the world and learn from many different cultures in and outside of the classroom. I love being a part of the Darden community. The faculty and staff as well as my classmates have been very engaging and supportive when I needed them the most.

What has been the most surprising thing about your experience?

How intense but also rewarding this experience has been. Every day is different, and you are usually very busy with academics as well as recruiting and social activities, so time goes by really quickly.

How do you think Darden prepared for the next chapter in your career?  

Darden has allowed me to take the next step in my career. This will be my first time working in the U.S., and Darden gave me not only exposure to American culture but also the tools to enhance my analytical skills. The case method has allowed me to tackle business issues from a different perspective and look for business solutions in a holistic way.

What would you want prospective students to know about Darden?   

Being at Darden involves great commitment, effort and time. If you are an incoming student, consider taking some time off to recharge before classes start in August. But more importantly, Darden challenges you in different ways, and that is why Darden will give you the skills and knowledge to grow in your professional career.