By Lauren Wallace
Siming Xu, currently a second year residential MBA student at Darden, is originally from Shanghai, China. He received his M.A. in Structural Engineering from Tongji University in 2009 and previously worked in the building and construction industry across Singapore, China and the U.S. Siming is the recipient of Class 1972 Scholarship and serves the VP of Events for the Global Business & Culture Club at Darden, and is also actively involved in the Asia Business Club, Consulting Club, General Management Club and Pride at Darden. He took a few minutes to share his reflections on his time in Charlottesville so far:
Could you tell me a bit about why you chose to come to Darden and how you heard about the school?
I knew that I wanted a great learning experience at business school and to learn from passionate faculty and I found that at Darden. Being an introvert by nature, I wanted to challenge myself to speak up in public and realized that the case method could help. The case-study environment has really encouraged me to actively participate in many class discussions. I feel myself being transformed on a daily basis. In addition, personally, I enjoy the historic and beautiful nature of Charlottesville and its neighboring sites such as Shenandoah National Park and Monticello. Charlottesville is the ideal place to learn about the history of the nation and its culture and Darden is the ideal place for me to grow both professionally and personally.
Could you tell me about your involvement in the Shanghai Investing Summit and your thoughts on Darden’s engagement in China?
I participated in two Shanghai Investing Summits, one before coming to Darden and the second between my first and second years at Darden. For the second one, I was part of the organizing team, helping with the logistics and coordinating with guest speakers. I was really impressed by the great attendance and the enormous effort Darden put forth to engage with China during its social and economical transformation. For each event, Darden invited influential people from both the government and the private sectors to offer their views and opinions on the most discussed economical topics in China and around the world.
What is the most unexpected thing you’ve learned from studying at Darden thus far?
The most unexpected thing I have learned is the value of a sharing culture. Here at Darden, we have learning teams sharing our knowledge of the learning cases; we have professors and students in the class sharing their perspectives of a certain topic from their diverse educational and professional backgrounds; we have Darden second years sharing with first years their career goals, recruiting tips or general tips about life at Darden; and we have our career advisors from CDC (Career Development Center) making every effort to assist us on career life identification and realization. The sharing culture has helped shape my value in a business world and more importantly made me realize the power of giving and receiving.
Have you had the chance to get to know any Darden alumni? How has the network been helpful to you so far?
Yes, the Darden alumni network is one of the strongest among business schools. I happened to get to know many Darden alumni from either the Shanghai Investing Summit, or the company campus briefings at Darden or simply the alumni get-together events. Alumni will always be available for us even when their schedules are already packed- it is such a wonderful surprise and honor to have their full support! Through the alumni network, I am able to know the culture and career trajectories of various companies, and, with their help, I landed my internship and full-time career.
What are your plans for after Darden?
I plan to further my career in General Management practice. After Darden, I will join Danaher in its General Management Leadership Program, starting with a role in Global Market Strategy. I would like to try various roles in a business and grow together with the business. These experiences will prepare me well for my goal of becoming a future leader in either a large corporation or my own business.
Pick one word or phrase to describe your Darden experience?