By Lauren Wallace
Nikhil Vijaywargiya, currently a second year residential MBA student at Darden, is originally from Indore, India. He received his Master’s in Commerce from the University of Mumbai in 2010 and previously worked in investment banking and as a general manager in a multispecialty hospital. Nikhil received a Batten Scholarship which recognizes students who demonstrate experience in past entrepreneurial ventures, have done exemplary work within high-tech industries or have been recognized as instrumental in implementation innovation along the value chain of various businesses. While at Darden, Nikhil has served in leadership positions in the Healthcare Club and the Darden South Asian Society, and is an active member of the Darden Follies team. He took a few minutes to share his reflections on his time here thus far:
Before attending Darden, Nikhil Vijaywargiya made the switch from investment banking to the healthcare field, where he worked in his family’s multi-specialty hospital for two years in his home city of Indore. Seeing an opportunity to create greater social impact, Nikhil began working in a general management role where he could integrate his business knowledge into the healthcare space. In this role, he gained valuable experience working throughout the hospital’s organizational system, managing both cross-departmental and family dynamics. “It’s always interesting doing business with family members,” Nikhil jokingly admitted. This new desire to have a positive social impact in the healthcare space by adding value to his clients’ interests inspired Nikhil to pursue an MBA in addition to his Master’s degree in Commerce.
Knowing he wanted his graduate school experience to be in a global setting yet with the feel of a tight-knit community, “Darden was an easy choice” for Nikhil. During his admissions visit, he was particularly impressed by the class participation that he observed—a function of Darden’s case-based teaching methodology—as well as by the school’s breathtaking setting in Charlottesville. Those feelings did not change when he arrived as a student in 2015.
During his time in Charlottesville, Nikhil has loved the community of both students and professors at Darden. “The professors don’t compromise on what they’re teaching. They have a lot of enthusiasm and energy [and] are so approachable,” and the students aren’t any less remarkable. Though recruiting is competitive, the collaboration between students is high and “classmates are extremely helpful to each other…there’s a lot of competition, no doubt, but it’s not cutthroat.” Nikhil enjoyed taking part in his learning team and his section, where he met and worked with peers from various cultures and countries on class assignments every day. “I can’t emphasize enough how the community has really helped me.” Nikhil continues, “it’s a very, very respectful community that I’m grateful to be a part of. A lot of people believe the MBA is all about networking with your peers and making ‘contacts.’ At Darden, I have found that it’s not just about networking—the relationships you build here are real.”
He singles out working in the learning team as one of the most valuable experiences at Darden. “My learning team consisted of diverse personalities coming from various geographies, and working with them every day in first year made me learn the facets of working in a cross-cultural team.”
Hailing from India, Nikhil had the distinguishing experience of being new to Darden as well as the U.S. “A global focus is always important to international students,” he explained about his search for the ideal grad school. After watching an alumni testimonial video on Darden’s Global Consulting Projects and learning about other international study opportunities like the Darden.Worldwide. Courses, it was clear to him that Darden values global learning experiences. Now as a second-year student, Nikhil will participate in two Darden.Worldwide. Courses in Costa Rica and the UK next spring to learn about business sustainability practices in these economies.
After graduation, Nikhil is looking to do acquisitions-focused consulting in the healthcare domain, with a long-term goal of working on optimizing healthcare delivery in his home country. Capitalizing on Darden’s healthcare-related elective courses available, Nikhil is fine-tuning his business skills specifically to the healthcare space and, ultimately, can utilize his Darden experience to help create a positive social impact in India, where the vast majority of healthcare services and facilities are located in its cities while its population remains largely rural.
Unable to come up with just one word to describe his Darden experience, Nikhil asserts that “It’s an experience I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.”