The Future Year Friday series continues with Zak DePasquale (Class of 2022), a Future Year Scholar who is wrapping up his first year as a full-time Darden MBA student. DePasquale spent two years working with a disaster-recovery contracting firm in the Washington, D.C. area before enrolling at Darden with the Class of 2022.

Darden’s Future Year Scholars Program invites outstanding college students to join the ranks of a Top 5 business school, before ever gaining work experience. Admitted scholars may choose to begin their MBA after gaining two, three or four years of work experience.

When asked in a recent panel discussion for admitted Future Year Scholars what stood out about Darden when considering MBA programs, DePasquale shared, “Darden is constantly bringing in top-tier faculty, innovating in terms of courses and other opportunities for us to be involved as students. Darden keeps pushing the needle forward in what can be accomplished in business school and they really take an interest in the students individually so it seemed like a great fit for someone coming out of undergrad to eventually come back to.”

Undergrad School: UVA (Go Hoos!)

Undergrad Major: Psychology and Cognitive Science (with a minor in Entrepreneurship)

Undergrad Graduation Year: 2018

Q: What stood out to you about the Future Year Scholars Program and why did you decide to apply?

A: What stood out to me was the ability to get a top-level MBA earlier in my career than the average candidate and have a strong boost toward achieving my career goals early in life. Applying enabled me to take an early career position I wouldn’t have necessarily taken with the knowledge that I could pivot industries and job functions after graduating from Darden.

Q: What did you do between graduating from your undergraduate institution and joining Darden?  

A: I worked in project management and business development for a small government contracting company in northern Virginia. I managed teams of field staff who were working on natural disaster sites in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida, serving as a liaison between our staff and FEMA while pursuing new contracts and forming new strategic partnerships.

Q: What advice do you have for someone thinking about applying to Darden’s Future Year Scholars Program?

A: Go for it! Our MBA class is full of students from diverse industry, educational, and geographic backgrounds, so the Admissions Committee will always be excited to learn about you and see how you could be a fit for the class.

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