Peter Nwaoba (Class of 2023) is a First Year student who was accepted to Darden through the Future Years Scholars Program, a deferred enrollment pathway for college seniors or final year master’s students. Nwaoba graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2019, and decided to pursue his MBA after getting to know MBA students at the school and began considering how the degree could open doors for him in the future. During his deferral period before enrolling at Darden, Nwaoba led health and well-being initiatives for Walmart Inc.
Q: What was it about the Future Year Scholars Program that stood out to you?
A: I prioritized programs that used the case method. I attended Darden’s Diversity Conference in 2019 to experience this learning method firsthand. Additionally, some of the attendees of that conference are Second Years at Darden now and the support from them over my two-year deferral period and now that I have started my MBA have been nothing short of exceptional. Lastly, after having judiciously studied employment outcomes (!)) and engaged with numerous chats with the Career Center, I felt confident that I could successfully recruit into my desired field.
Q: Why did you apply to the Future Year Scholars Program?
A: I never took a finance or accounting class in college, and I was aware I had that knowledge gap. My line of thinking then was “I want to be a holistic well-versed leader and an MBA in 2-4 years could further accelerate that goal.” This was also a way to do away with the uncertainty. Future Year Scholars would give me the confidence to take more risks; I would feel more confident at work, I could pivot, and I was even more marketable to my firm and other firms.
Q: What did you do between graduating from Penn and enrolling at Darden?
A: Health and Well-Being Strategy at Walmart Inc. I led initiatives for the company’s well-being practice under US Benefits.
Q: What advice do you have for students admitted to Darden’s Future Year Scholars Program?
A: 1) Look for experiences that will allow you to add value to classroom discussions. We teach each other here so keep that in mind. 2) Reach out to Future Year Scholars already in the MBA program to find out how they are faring with recruiting, socializing, academics, family, etc.
Q: What were you most excited about in your deferral period?
A: Charlottesville, VA. I could not wait to get here and start doing all these ‘outdoorsy’ stuff. And yes, it is a lot of fun!
Q: Do you have a favorite class or professor so far?
A: I came here to fill that quant (Finance and Accounting) gap but I must say that Leading Organizations is one class I look forward to always, and that is mostly due to Melissa Thomas-Hunt. She is amazing!
Shout out Tami Kim, Rus Abuzov, Max Riggs and Marc Lipson too, though! I am in Section B and I have a world-class line-up of professors.
Q: What’s your favorite part of your Darden experience now that you’re here on Grounds?
A: SOCCER CLUB BY FAR! I live and breathe soccer so any chance I get to score a few goals, I am taking it.
Meet the Class of 2023 Future Year Scholars (including Peter!) this Wednesday, 27 October at 2 p.m. Eastern. Sign up here to attend the student panel.
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