Dina Takhchi, Part-Time MBA Class of 2025, came to Darden with a robust career in engineering.

Her work at Dominion Energy includes working on different teams focused on the design of electric distribution systems, grid planning and sizing and programming line protection devices. Currently, she leads the team that designs and coordinates overhead and underground electric distribution projects for residential and commercial customers. 

Dina Takhchi, Part-Time MBA Class of 2025.

Takhchi has always been fascinated by the energy industry. From Rabat, Morocco, she pursued her undergraduate degree in electrical and mechanical engineering and first master’s degree in energy engineering in France. As the energy industry continued to evolve around her, she earned a second master’s in sustainable energy engineering, working with renewable resources (wind and solar).

“Energy is something we always need, and it’s always evolving,” she said.It never gets boring. There are a plethora of options for my career, you can do just about anything. Even when you think you’ve learned a lot, there is always much more to continue learning. That’s what really drew me to this field.

Part-Time and Executive MBA students exploring Milan, Italy during a Global Residency.

How did you get interested in pursuing an MBA? 

My background is very technical, and I felt I was lacking some of the soft skills and business and financial knowledge I needed to progress. In my opinion, it takes more than just the technical knowledge in this field to be successful and make an impact, and that is what led me to an MBA. 

And what got you interested in Darden? 

To me it was Darden or nothing. Darden is one of the best business schools in the country, and its reputation spoke for itself. As I was applying, one of the things that struck me was how focused the school is on ethics. This is something I see in all the cases we cover. There are always discussions about ethics. When Darden says their mission is to develop responsible leaders, they mean it.

Dina’s first day on Grounds in Charlottesville exploring the rotunda.

To me, this is very important. If you want to be a successful leader, if you want to have a great strategy, it takes more than just the financial or the business perspective. Ethics also plays a big part. My values are important to me, and it’s important for my education to be aligned with that. 

Since you are based in Richmond, and our program is in the DC area, how is the experience commuting to Rosslyn every other week? 

I could have applied to a number of institutions locally and been more practical, but I was determined to go to Darden. For me, what makes the program is the teaching method, the community and the faculty. When you go on the website, and look through the faculty and their background, everyone is so impressive. You just want to learn from these people. The drive is not easy, but it’s worth it. I have no regrets. 

Do you have a favorite memory from the program thus far? 

One of my favorite memories is meeting my learning team for the first time. It was a relief to know that we were all from different backgrounds. We had someone with a finance background, somebody had an accounting background, and some of us had a legal background. It really gave me a sense of security that I have these resources available to me on my team. 

Dina with her learning team at King Family Vineyard in Charlottesville.

What has been the impact of the program for you so far? 

It’s a little cliche, but it really has made me a better person. Not only in terms of the skills I’m learning in the program, but on a more personal level. I am practicing a lot of self-reflection, something I have not necessarily done before.  

On the first day of our first weeklong residency in Charlottesville, we started with self-reflection exercises. And that, to me, is very important. If you wish to become a successful leader, you have to be more self-aware and more thoughtful about how your actions affect others. 

I also feel more confident. English is my third language, so, even choosing a program that is built on a case method, felt like a bold choice. Speaking in our class was initially intimidating for me, and sometimes I would try to write out my answer to make it look or sound better, but the conversation moves quickly.  

So now I’ve learned to accept the fact that sometimes you have to be vulnerable and just put yourself out there. You might make a mistake, but it’s okay. Everyone is here to learn. I have learned not to be afraid of something I don’t know. I try to add as much as I take away from my classmates. It’s been a powerful experience.

Students completed a team building activity on a ropes course during a Residency in Charlottesville.

What’s your best piece of advice for prospective students? 

First, I would say, if you are considering Darden, you have made the right decision. This is a rigorous program, it’s not easy, but you will not regret it.  

My biggest piece of advice is to tackle your time management skills. You will need to learn how to prioritize as you balance life and school. At this point, I think my time management skills have hit a master level.  

Also, find something that gives you energy, helps you recharge, and makes you happy. Physical and mental health are very important. I enjoy going to barre classes, so I manage to go early in the morning, and that keeps me motivated. I also love talking to my family and the people I love to tell them about my day. It’s the little things that make you feel better.  

The last thing is to believe in yourself. On the first day of residency, I remember Brett Twitty saying that everyone in those seats deserves to be here. You have earned it. We are all different and we all bring value to the program. Believe that if you’re there, it’s well earned. And give yourself some grace. It takes a lot of time to get adjusted to a new lifestyle, and you will continue to make adjustments as you go. 


Holiday cookie exchange at Sands Family Grounds.

Exploring Milan, Italy during a Global Residency.

A summer night exploring Charlottesville Grounds.

Visiting the Dolce&Gabbana show room in Italy during a Global Residency.

Dina's first picture with her learning team during Residency 1 in Charlottesville.

Hiking at Harpers Ferry with classmates.

Part-Time and Executive MBA students exploring Milan, Italy during a Global Residency.