Megan Fitzpatrick is a current student in the Executive MBA Class of 2024. An Account Manager at Nestle, she is based just down the street from Sands Family Grounds in Rosslyn. With a degree in finance from the University of Indiana, she worked for Macy’s corporate in New York City and Whole Foods in Austin, TX before moving to the DMV area for her role at Nestle in May of 2020

How did you become interested in pursuing an MBA?

It had been on my mind for a while. I knew I wanted to get my MBA, but I didn’t know how it would fit into my day to day. I did a little bit of research here and there on some schools, but once I moved to DC I started considering it more seriously. My colleagues at Nestle definitely encouraged me, and my boss completed her MBA in a similar program. She gave me some great advice and said, “Okay, this is the time, it’s never going to be perfect. Go now. It will be worth it. 

Nestle supports a percentage of my tuition, which is also really beneficial for me. When I started looking into schools, I knew I wanted an inperson aspect. Darden was the only place I applied, and I had my heart set on it. After I listened to almost every episode of the podcast and went to events in the DMV area, I was sold.

What appealed to you about Darden?

I think what appealed to me most, was the case method. It’s a completely different way of learning. It is so beneficial to hear from my peers with such diverse experiences, and hopefully I can also contribute to the class conversations.  

Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, the fact that there are in-person classes on the weekends. It’s once a month, which is more manageable, while still having the best of both worlds. Of course, the rankings also help. Darden has a great reputation.

Do you have a favorite memory from the program?

That’s tough, there are so many great ones. I really loved being in Charlottesville for the first Leadership Residency. To be on grounds, fully immersed, solidified that I was a student again. In just a few days, I formed such strong friendships with the people at Darden. And, I was actually able to go back to Charlottesville with good friends in the program for a football game. It was so fun to use our student IDs and even hang out with some of the Full-Time students as well.  

How have you seen yourself grow in the program?

It has taught me a lot about myself. I’ve learned how to manage my time and be an effective communicator, especially with my family and friends. I don’t have as much free time while I’m in the program, but it’s always important to give yourself grace as you balance everything. This experience has made me realize how much I’m really capable of.

What is your approach to time management?

It’s definitely still evolving. Personally, I need to be pretty strict and having a set morning routine is important for me. In the weeks leading up to residencies, I’ve found that I need to be really conscious of my screen time. While I’m at work, I try to be as present and locked in during the workday as possible, so I can truly log-off at 5:30 p.m. I’ll take a half-hour to make dinner and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. I am in full school mode.   

What would you encourage a prospective student to think about?

My one piece of advice would be to start practicing your time management. Even just designating some time to research, listen to a podcast or have a conversation with someone at Darden. I reached out to a few recent graduates and students on LinkedIn, and hearing the true pros, cons and challenges firsthand really helped me make a decision. 

I would encourage anyone still mulling it over to go all in on applying. It’s never going to be a perfect time. It’s been so challenging, but I’ve grown so much, and the people are incredible. This has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.