A Glimpse Into the First Three Days of Darden’s South Africa Worldwide Course

Darden students embarked on their two-week Darden Worldwide Course to South Africa on Monday. This course, led by Darden Professor Mary Margaret Frank, focuses on public-private enterprise collaborations.  Check out the photos below for a glimpse into the first three days of the program:

South African native Johan Burger kicks off the DWC course in South Africa by leading students through a discussion about “Lions on the Move II”, a McKinsey Report students read before arrival. The discussion centered around economics, politics, natural resources, culture and history.

Also on the first day of the course, students visited the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. They learned about the history and operations of Africa’s largest stock exchange, which has been in operation since 1887, as well as the recent re-branding efforts to continue to grow and expand into new markets.

The students’ second day of the course was Human Rights Day, a national public holiday in South Africa. Part of the day was spent at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg learning all about the effects of apartheid on the history and development of the country.

Three social media professionals spoke to the Darden students about the landscape of social media in South Africa at a local business school, the Gordon Institute. Students learned that 27% of the population in South Africa are active social media users and social media useage is growing at about 15% per year.

Day three of the South Africa Darden Worldwide Course started at Ernst and Young, where students heard from consultants and other local business leaders. The presentations provided context for doing business in South Africa and one of the key takeaways was to take a long-term view of Africa. E&Y’s business leaders shared the company’s 7-P model for effective strategy execution in Africa: purpose, portfolio, planning, partnership, people, patience, and perspective.

Students visited Nissan and took a tour of the plant, watching different trucks being assembled. Here students and Professor Mary Margaret Frank model safety attire for the tour: steel toed shoes, protective glasses and arm covers.

Day three ended with a team dinner at Wandie’s Place, a local restaurant in Dube, Soweto, the largest township in South Africa. Wandie’s operates out of a typical Soweto four roomed-house. Here students gather with Wandie, the owner, and the restaurant’s musician.


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GEMBA ’17 Student Nishal Sodha Reflects on Darden Experience

By Lauren Wallace

Nishal Sodha, a student in the GEMBA ’17 class, is a Kenyan native who currently lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya.  Prior to joining the global executive MBA program at Darden, Nishal started Global Hardware Ltd., a hardware supply company based in Nairobi, after working for Maersk Line for nine years.  Nishal took some time to share and reflect on his Darden experience.

 How did you hear about Darden?  Could you tell me a bit about why you chose the GEMBA program?

During my undergrad years at the London School of Economics, I ran my own business in the U.S during the summer holidays.  In my third summer (1997), I was relocated to Joliet, Illinois and, having fallen just short of the sales target, I asked to continue selling for another two weeks to achieve it.  Hence, while my fellow colleagues from LSE were graduating in London, I spent a further two weeks in Waynesboro, VA with two other friends who had the same intention as me.

While I was in Waynesboro, a colleague of mine from the Southwestern Company and a current student at U.Va. took me and some friends for a tour of U.Va.’s Grounds. We visited the Lawn, the Rotunda and some other U.Va. grounds, including Darden, before a night on the town.  Darden really stuck with me and I promised myself that if I were to go to business school in future, I’d go to Darden.  Twenty years later, I am fulfilling that promise.

I chose the GEMBA program because it fits well with my schedule.  I run a business in Nairobi called Global Hardware Ltd. and being on Darden grounds once a month would not have been feasible.  A hybrid of distance learning together with two-week residencies with my cohort in different parts of the world was a perfect fit for me.  GEMBA also has the coolness factor of traveling to different cities in the world for two weeks at a time, and having two weeks in that country allows us to really immerse ourselves into the business and cultural environment to try and understand what makes that economy and its people tick.

What has been your favorite part of the GEMBA program?

There are many aspects of the program that I really enjoy.  The two-week residencies, as mentioned above, are awesome.  The people who are in my program are amazing: all are from different walks of life, in different industry environments, from different cultural backgrounds countries, too.  It is an incredibly diverse mix of people and I have cultivated an individual, unique relationship with each person that I cherish and look forward to every time I prepare to go on another residency.

I enjoy the case study approach to our learning.  While the case study approach is not unique to MBA programs worldwide, reading a case about a company in Brazil in São Paulo one morning, and then meeting the very person featured in the case that very afternoon, is unique to only Darden.  We had the same opportunity in Paris and it truly brings to life the lessons from the materials that we are exposed to.

Outside of the scheduled GEMBA programming was an elective course to visit Cuba with members of Darden’s EMBA program.  I am so glad I took this opportunity to visit Havana and see parts of Cuba.  In true Darden fashion, the itinerary included visits to cool cultural places like the rum and cigar factories, as well as the famous Vardero resort.  I thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Mariel too – the port that is under development in Cuba.  I worked for Maersk Line, the Danish shipping company, for nine years before I started Global Hardware Ltd. in Nairobi and the presenter at the port was an ex-Maersk employee too.  It brought back nostalgia of the complex and exciting shipping world, and it was eye-opening to learn about how Cuba could play a huge role in bringing costs down further for American consumers.

During the Cuba trip, I met an EMBA student who regularly visits Kenya for her work. We made a plan to meet up next time she is in Nairobi. Although I wish we could’ve made this connection sooner, this is yet another reason why I’m grateful for the many global opportunities that Darden offers in its academic programs.

My biggest lesson learned from the GEMBA program has been the humbling realization that in the world today we have wider freeways and narrower viewpoints; we have taller buildings and shorter tempers.  It’s phenomenal how the same technology that brings us close to those who are far away, takes us far away from the people that are actually close (30 billion WhatsApp messages are sent per day, and yet 48% of people say they feel lonelier in general).  Relationships are foundational to everything in life, including business, and this rings as true in Rio de Janeiro as it does in New Delhi, in Beijing as it does in Paris, in Havana as it does in Nairobi.  As an aspiring global leader, this incredibly important lesson is one that I will carry with me throughout my life.  Investors don’t invest in companies—they invest in people they believe in.

How are you planning to use your MBA once you’ve graduated in May?

My first priority, now and after graduation, is to implement some of the things I’ve learned in the program that will immediately impact my business:

* Operational improvements: FIFO / LIFO considerations, workflow improvements

* Re-financing and re-packaging some of the debt we rely on

* Enhancing some of the systems in place such as CRMs, re-order levels, etc.

Some initiatives are already under implementation, while others, which have a longer runway, are at various conceptual stages.

Through the GEMBA program, I have benefitted from exposure to various companies in the seven countries we have visited.  I expect to continue to rely upon and expand connections with some our speakers, gain a better understanding of how to brand my business, my products and services, and overall expand my supplier portfolio.

I have put together an OPPP as developed by Verne Harnish & the Gazelles Team that I continue to refine.  In it are names of members of my cohort (as well as the EMBA cohort) with whom I will continue to maintain friendships with far beyond graduation.  These people truly inspire me and with their diverse backgrounds and incredible careers, I look forward to continue learning more from them in the future.



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Post-Doc Senior Researcher from China Discusses Global Appeal of Doing Research at Darden

By Christina Xu

Name: Xiaojin (Jim) Liu
Hometown: Sichuan, China
Pre-Darden Education: B.A., Peking University, Beijing, 2009;  M.Phil., Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2011; Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2011-2016
Research Interests: Innovation and Technology Management, Sustainable and Responsible Operations Management

After completing his pre-doctoral and doctoral education in Beijing, Hong Kong and in Minnesota, Jim Liu has been engaging in post-doc research work at the Darden School of Business for this past year.

“Back in the years of 2004 and 2005, when I started college, China was experiencing rapid growth in the logistics industry for online shopping market. Learning business operations procedures from U.S. counterparts, delivery services companies, such as SF Express, quickly developed and formed scale in the market.” Jim explained. “Encouraged by the optimistic future of this market, I decided to pursue an E-Commerce major in my Bachelor degree, and continued Masters studies in Logistics and Maritime Studies in Hong Kong. I became interested in the managerial process of the supply chain and innovation.”

Jim shared his perspective on the different academic settings and cities where he has worked: “Every location has its own business process highlights, and is the hub for a certain kind of business activity. Beijing is a representative of government-regulated business practices; Hong Kong has a more open atmosphere and focuses on improving the efficiency of international logistics; U.S. universities and colleges are more focused on providing solutions to the actual problems during the whole process from design to market. Darden appeals to me, especially, because of its innovative approach and ideal research environment with supportive and encouraging professors and colleagues.”

At Darden, Jim dedicates himself to research work in the field of supply chain operations and innovation. “I am currently working with Raul Chao, a professor of Business Administration at Darden, doing research on the topic of ‘Managing human capital and technology for sustainable and responsible operations in global supply chains.’ Companies like Walmart, Target, Nike and H&M offer low-cost and highly efficient supply chains for other companies to learn from and serve as great research objects.” According to Jim, this topic has raised much awareness in the recent years. Researchers are paying increased attention to how to manage business operations and take into account different stakeholders. “Business innovation and technology management in supply chains is going to be my research area of focus for at least the next five years.”

Jim also discussed some of his past and current research work: “At Darden, I have been focusing on empirical research in sustainable and responsible operations in global supply chains. I studied the implications of company’s efficient management of new technologies and appropriate accompanying skills, with special emphasis on improving long-term operational sustainability and social responsibility. One recent research paper focused on working condition improvement in Bangladesh ready-made garment factories that supply to North American and European retailers. Those retailers adopted an innovative approach and form consortiums on improving the working conditions of supplier factories in developing countries.” Jim shared. “Currently, I am working on the topic of the influence of social orientation over firm innovation, which is critical for sustained growth. I decided to study corporate social responsibility (CSR) from a new perspective, by exploring how firms establish different orientation, either proactive or reactive, to allocate resources to improve social responsibility. I will develop a theoretical framework and conduct empirical analysis with my team to address our research question.”

The global reputation of Darden has provided Jim with abundant resources including significant insight into his research topics. “Darden is known for its innovative approach and resources offered at a global level. In my research on improving factory working conditions in developing countries, I was able to get direct and personal insights on Bangladesh’s ready-made garment factories managerial processes, because I had two fellow researchers at Darden who are from the country. It is amazing to have local people sharing their ideas and giving unique perspectives for your research.”

Jim also expressed his love for life in Charlottesville. “Charlottesville has great natural resources for sightseeing. It is definitely different from any other places I have lived in before. I can conduct my research in a quiet and peaceful city while having sufficient connections to the outside world.”

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Roshini Rajan (Class of 2017) Bridges Cultures Through Global Business and Culture Club Leadership

By Anelle Mensah

Roshini Rajan (Class of 2017)

Roshini Rajan, originally from Mysore, India, attended the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, where she earned a Bachelor of Technology degree in 2012. Following graduation, she worked as a member of the technology team at Goldman Sachs at Bangalore, India and New York City. Her interest in Darden developed when she learned of the school’s prestige and decided to apply after speaking to a colleague at Goldman Sachs who previously attended Darden. Roshini connected to the Darden network in India by attending an admissions/alumni reception and case discussion, led by Marc Johnson, Darden’s Executive Director of Global Affairs.

Since enrolling at Darden, Roshini  has prioritized involvement in global academic and extracurricular activities.  She currently serves as President of the Global Business and Culture Club (GBCC), which strives to connect multicultural backgrounds and the diverse experiences of Darden students. The current membership of the Global Business and Culture Club stands at more than 350 students, including students who are members of Darden’s international affinity clubs and also members of just GBCC. During her first year, Roshini helped to organize the 2015 International Food Festival and also performed a traditional Indian dance at the event. “The Food Festival is so big and people love it. The number of people that have told me that it’s their favorite event at Darden has been very rewarding,” she shared.

Following her involvement in GBCC during her first year, Roshini pursued an official leadership position with the organization. “I wanted something that was fun, but also had a lot of impact,” Roshini said.

As President of GBCC during her second year at Darden, Roshini continues to implement both social and community-building initiatives for the club. Under her leadership, the GBCC developed a Global Week this year around the 2016 Food Festival which consisted of nine events including a live painting performance and exhibition with the Darden African Business Organization, a tea tasting with the Asia Business Club at Darden, an Indian dance workshop, and several discussions about global career paths, leveraging diversity and cross-cultural understanding.

The Global Business and Culture Club demonstrates Darden students’ commitment to developing themselves and their peers as global leaders who seek to make an impact in the world. “International affinity clubs organize a lot of activities on their own and the Global Business and Culture Club brings those clubs together and creates a platform for the clubs to work together and collaborate. All students are welcome and encouraged to join to learn more about other cultures or to pursue a global career and network,” said Roshini.

This spring, GBCC will partner with Net Impact for Global Impact Week and will organize a special Cold Call and yoga session. The GBCC also strives to support international students and will launch a new alumni mentorship program next year.

According to Roshini, one of the GBCC’s challenges for the years ahead involves ensuring that the Darden community remains fully connected. However, the club continues to make strides in better integrating the community through the programming that it offers. “We created a cultural training session and brought in speakers for Global Week who talked about working with people from different backgrounds more productively and with openness.” Roshini stated.

Outside of the Global Business and Culture Club, Roshini continues to develop her own global perspectives  through Darden’s Worldwide Courses. In her first year, she traveled to Sweden and is  participating  in the European Union course led by Dean Beardsley this spring. Her decision to travel to Sweden stemmed from her desire to explore a new country, develop deeper relationships with her peers, and her professional interests in entrepreneurship and technology, part of the course’s theme. Once she arrived in Sweden, Roshini realized the significance of Sweden’s sustainability practices within the country.  “I was surprised by how much sustainability and being green is ingrained in the country. It’s very much a part of their culture and the society seems to fully embody the concept,” she reflected.

This March, Roshini will travel to the European Union and looks forward to the various learning opportunities and cultural experiences that await her. “It will be a huge learning opportunity to be able to interact with the companies lined up for the visit and the Dean,” Roshini said.

Roshini and her peers on the Sweden Darden Worldwide Course.

Global Week participants gathered for First Coffee in PepsiCo Forum to kick off the week’s activities.

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Justin Tang (Class of 2017) Shares Insights on Darden Worldwide Courses

By Anelle Mensah

Justin Tang’s upbringing in a bi-cultural family, balancing Taiwanese and American roots, and family heritage influenced his interest in the interplay between cultures. Born and raised in Huntington Beach, California, he attended UCLA as an undergrad, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in International Development Studies. While at UCLA, Justin pursued an internship with the State Department where he found mentors in Foreign Service Officers who traveled the world for a living. During his second year, he also had a particularly transformative semester living in Spain with a host family and exchange students from various parts of the world.  These experiences shaped his desire to travel and understand other cultures, a desire that Justin continues to explore.

Justin worked in federal consulting at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington D.C. for two years and pivoted to commercial consulting at Slalom Consulting in Portland, where he specialized in consumer analytics and project management. After working in consulting for four years and wanting to expand his professional network, Justin decided to pursue business school. The global academic opportunities at Darden allowed Justin to explore the ways different countries approach business.

Justin travelled to China and Russia through Darden Worldwide Courses (DWC), where he learned first-hand about business practices of the respective countries. Through the DWC in China specifically, participants were able to become familiar with unique aspects of Chinese culture as well as gain a stronger understanding of how business is conducted. “Unprompted, alumni and companies discussed the role government plays in both their business operations and broader industry dynamics. This showed me the inherent complexity in starting a venture in China as a multinational company,” Justin said. The course allowed him to experience China from a different perspective and Darden provided inside access to business leaders and companies. “I had been to Shanghai as a tourist before, but the Darden program allowed us to meet with business leaders so we could better read between the lines of what’s in the news,” Justin stated.

On the Russia DWC, Justin learned about the importance of adaptability in Russian business and the cultural nuances that exist in Russia. “When you land in Russia, you really begin to appreciate the country’s size. It spans 11 time zones and takes about 9 hours to fly across the country, yet has less than half the population of the U.S. So imagine if you’re PepsiCo or an eCommerce company trying to deliver products to the local grocery store or someone’s home, the logistics are incredibly daunting.”
During his time in China and Russia, the importance of personal relationships and their effects on the political and business maneuvering of both countries stood out. As part of the courses, Darden provided students with opportunities to meet and hear from alumni working in the region they visited in a variety of industries.

Furthermore, Justin gained a deeper appreciation for how establishing relationships, in a culturally contextual manner, can help access these foreign markets. “Having a local presence within the community is essential to starting international ventures. It just hammers home the importance of developing relationships with people—that remains true regardless of culture” reiterated Justin.

The Darden Worldwide Courses provided Justin with takeaways applicable to life and career: “When you travel, you gain a lot of humility. There’s nothing more humbling than not being able to read signs or communicate with others. You gain some perspective and see the numerous ways others are successful.” One of his favorite professors, Yiorgos Allayannis, urges students to read, read, read and travel, travel, travel, words that Justin takes to heart.

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Darden Executive Students Explore Cuba

This February, Darden’s Executive and Global Executive MBA students had the opportunity to explore Cuba through Darden’s Cuba at the Crossroads: How Culture and Business is Adapting to Transition course led by Barbara Millar.

Over the course of the week, students had the opportunity to learn about the transitions taking place within the Cuban economy from local faculty members and business leaders, discuss foreign direct investment frameworks,  visit a museum, cigar and rum factories, visit Port Mariel and Las Terrazas, learn about the Cuban healthcare system and visit a hospital, connect with local entrepreneurs, and hear about how the tourism industry continues to evolve.

Some highlights of the Darden Worldwide Course to Cuba for Executive MBAs are illustrated below:

Old Havana Tour

Meredith Donegan (EMBA Class of 2017), Dona Edwards (EMBA Class of 2017) and Barbara Millar at Las Terrazas, a biosphere reserve.

Learning about Cuban culture and history from a local scholar and expert.

Buena Vista Social Club Concert

Classic car tour: EMBA Class of 2017 students from left to right Jennifer Burns, Danielle Walker, Rodney Clemente, and Meredith Donegan

Discussing the outlook of the Cuban economy, monetary and exchange rate unification with a local scholar, former ministry member and senior researcher.

Old Havana Tour

Darden Professor Paul Simko and a student in discussion.

Las Terrazas

Museum of the Revolution

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Darden Art Project Sale

On March 23, the Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) hosted a sale of all of the Darden Art Project (DART) photos. DART is an initiative that highlights the Darden community’s global experiences, founded in fall of 2008 by Chriss Pagitsas (MBA ’09). Darden community members are invited to submit photographs of places and people they have visited around the world. Top photographs are chosen as winners and displayed on Darden’s hallway walls throughout the year before being sold to benefit local charities.  All money collected from the sale this year was donated to the Shelter for Help in Emergency and WAGiLabs.

Following the sale, GWIB hosted a Cold Call with delicious food, drinks and company to honor UVA female pioneers in preparation for Women’s History Month.

Kathryn Fox, a member of GWIB and one of the DART sale managers shared, “This sale was a great way to both showcase two wonderful nonprofits that help women and girls in the Charlottesville community and also to emphasize the global culture at Darden.  It was amazing to see the Darden community’s interest in supporting DART, WagiLabs, and the Shelter for Help in Emergency.”

Twenty seven photos were sold at the March 23 event, raising about $1500 for the Shelter for Help in Emergency and WAGiLabs.  If you didn’t make it to the sale and would like to purchase one of the photos still available, check out those still available for purchase. If you have questions or are interested in purchasing one of the photos, please contact Kathryn Fox at FoxK17@darden.virginia.edu.

Sasha Kelemen (left) and Kathryn Fox (right) (both Class of 2017) take payments for DART photos during the art sale.

The Darden community considers the various DART photos for sale.



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Darden Art Project 2017 Unveiling

This morning the Center for Global Initiatives sponsored a special First Coffee and unveiled the winning photos of the 2017 Darden Art Project (DART) Photo Contest.

DART highlights the Darden community’s global experiences and showcases student, alumni, faculty and staff photography from around the world. Winning photos are printed, framed and hung in the classroom building hallway and in Café 67 for a year. After a year, the photos are sold, with all proceeds going to charity.

DART donut holes! Yum!

Students closely examine a photo of penguins, recently unveiled in Darden’s classroom hallway.

Students discuss elements of the winning photos.

Students cluster around their peers’ work!

Darden staff enjoy looking at the newly unveiled photos.

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Ester Barbuto (MBA ’17) Shares Rich Global Experiences in China, the Philippines, Russia and South Africa

By Anelle Mensah

Staying in one place never interested Ester Barbutooriginally from Pittsburgh, she attended Carnegie Mellon for undergrad, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in chemical engineering. Her career took her to many places: she first interned at PepsiCo as a Supply Chain Intern and Chemical Engineer in Chicago during her time in Carnegie Mellon and following graduation, she worked at Goldman Sachs in New York City for four years. She then moved on to work at Booz Allen Hamilton, working as a Senior Consultant in Mission Engineering/Enterprise Analysis for the Navy and Marine Corps in Norfolk, an Associate in Strategy Consulting and Strategic Innovation Group in San Diego, and finally as an Associate in Innovation Strategy and Crowdsourcing in Washington D.C.

A number of factors contributed to Ester’s decision to attend Darden, including the school’s prestige and excellent programs. “It’s a great school with a rigorous program. I had a lot of street cred in the business world and was looking for a place that fostered innovation, a place where I could challenge myself,” said Ester. Since arriving at Darden, Ester worked towards achieving the goals she set for herself, including getting more global exposure in the business arena. Through Darden Worldwide Courses (DWC), she experienced business cultures around the world firsthand, hearing directly from business leaders and visiting their companies.

During her first year, Ester travelled to China on a DWC where she gained insight into how the country engages in business, the distinctive facets of Chinese culture, and how business and culture intersect. While in China, Ester took full advantage of the diverse range of activities and networking opportunities provided. “We met with companies and took classes at CEIBS. We went to steel manufacturing plants, museums, Suzhou Industrial Park, and Canal Town. We also went to a local karaoke place one evening,” Ester shared. She found her trip so enjoyable and transformative, that when presented with the chance to go abroad again, she “initially wanted to go to Hong Kong where I fell in love with it after a side visit.” She credits this to the connections she formed with Darden alums working in China for years as well as the professors she took classes with. “I could see myself living Hong Kong. It seemed very accessible and attainable — business normalizes living there. Also, meeting alums in Shanghai and the people living there was very beneficial. The professor that led China was Marc Lipson. He did a great job making sure we had a full perspective of culture and business while in China.”

In fall 2016, Ester and a team of four other students went to Manila as part of the Global Consulting Project (GCP), one of many offered at Darden. The four students worked to develop effective marketing strategies and business models for the TLC Group, an organization dedicated to creating an inclusive learning environment for early childhood education with arts based education and therapy. Students consulted remotely with the client from September through December and then conducted their onsite visit in December to meet the client in person and do more on-the-ground research. The arts focus attracted Ester to that specific consulting project, which stemmed from her own personal interest in the arts. “My background in the arts is purely due to exposure as a child – playing the piano, doing musical theater, dancing ballet, and teaching/competing in ballroom dance and I was attracted to the project because of the benefit of an arts education that I received. Another reason why I was interested in the Philippines GCP was because my sister runs a non-profit that is focused on STEAM (science, tech, engineering, arts, and math) in Pittsburgh,” she said. The GCP not only afforded Ester greater exposure into Filipino culture but allowed her to understand what running a nonprofit entailed. “They are very warm and hospitable in the Philippines. I also saw some of the challenges of running a nonprofit and a for product school in another country.”

In January 2017, Ester participated in the DWC to Russia. “Professor Elena Loutskina had us active, which was great. In China, we took the bus a lot but in Russia, we walked and took the metro. We did ballet, visited arts museums, and it was also a good balance of business. Business in Russia is stratified and seeing that in the speakers we interacted with was great,” Ester stated.

In all three of her Darden Worldwide Courses, two aspects remained constant — the expansive Darden network and the school’s dedication to providing its students with a meaningful, content-rich global experience. “One thing across all of three programs was the significant interaction with alumni. We went to receptions in China and Russia with alumni and met up with alumni for dinner in the Philippines too. I even obtained a grant from Darden to participate in the course to Russia. The grant shows the commitment from the school for students to have these experiences.”

Ester departs to South Africa in March on her final DWC and looks forward to the chance to connect with professors and the different activities and adventures that await her during her first time on the continent. “I’ve never been to Africa. I’m looking forward to the safaris and just seeing how different it is from the other places I’ve been. We’re doing a lot of adventure activities the week before like paragliding and I can’t wait. Getting to know [Professor] Mary Margaret in South Africa will be great too,” she enthusiastically stated.

Ester (back row, third from left) and classmates on the Darden Worldwide Course to China in May 2016.

Ester and one of her Global Consulting Project teammates explore Manila during their onsite visit.

Ester (front) and classmates in Russia this January.

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Global Consulting Project Team Visits Client in Hong Kong

By Kate Beach

In December, Darden Global Consulting Project teams visited their clients around the world. Four students on the JMATEK, Ltd. team, all Class of 2017, conducted their visit to Hong Kong. Due to the project’s nature, which focused primarily on researching, analyzing, and making recommendations for potential markets in the United States for the company, the students were able to deliver their suggestions to the client in person, as well as learn more about the company itself.

Lauren Bowden, one of the JMATEK team members (second from the right in the photo immediately below) shared, “Working on a global consulting project with the executives from JMATEK offered an authentic and unique business experience where we were able to deliver real tangible insights and recommendations for our client. Additionally, working for a  company run by CEO and Darden alum, Naresh Kumra, allowed us to expand our network overseas and experience a new part of the world. This GCP also allowed us to learn new skills and data analytics tools from Professor Laseter, who served as a mentor throughout.”

Gaurav Tejpal, VP of Global Supply Chain and Sales Operations at JMATEK and one of the students’ primary contacts for the project, noted that “the project was well delivered and exceeded expectations.”

The JMATEK project, sourced through Darden’s Center for Global Initiatives, was supported by Naresh Kumra (MBA ’99), President and CEO of JMATEK.  Naresh commented, “The Darden Team not only delivered an outstanding product and taught us some new tools, they also had a very positive impact on our team. Our team was impressed with their energy level, curiosity, intellect, drive and collaborative approach. We are looking forward to having another team join us soon.”

Darden Global Consulting Project students conduct their onsite visit to JMATEK in Hong Kong. The students spent a day at the JMATEK office delivering their recommendations and leading a discussion with the company executives.

Darden students enjoy dinner at Maholo Tiki Lounge in Hong Kong with Darden alumni, Mac Ling (MBA ’06) and Naresh Kumra (MBA ’99).

The Darden JMATEK student team visits the Tian Tan Buddha, located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island in Hong Kong.



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