Darden Worldwide Course

Paige Hurlbut Reflects on Darden’s Worldwide Course to Sweden

by Kate Beach-

Paige Hurlbut (Class of 2018) returned to Charlottesville to attend Darden six years after earning her B.A. in Economics and Environmental Thought and Practice from the University of Virginia in 2010. Paige hails from Richmond, VA and has been involved with Retail and Luxury Goods, Outdoors, WACC, GWIB, and Golf clubs at Darden. After first year classes ended, Paige joined her classmates and Darden Professor Marc Modica on the Darden Worldwide Course (DWC) to Sweden to explore entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability. In her own words:

Getting to travel to Stockholm, Sweden for a DWC course just a few weeks ago was a highlight of my first year at Darden and was one of the first times that I really began to understand how much I’ve learned since starting at Darden last August. The icing on the cake was the wonderful group of fellow first years I had with me, the beautiful country we explored and the innovative companies and leaders we visited and spoke with.

Over the course of about 6 days, we had the chance to visit several incredible companies including Digiplex, Tobii, Scania, and the Royal Seaport Development. We learned about how these companies operate, what strategies they’re employing to compete in the future, including design thinking, technological advances they are making, and how they think about and incorporate sustainability into their work. We learned about trucking and transportation and the future of autonomous vehicles, sustainable development, data storage and eye tracking software, just to name a few. I am personally very interested in sustainability so it was fascinating to see how they think about sustainability, in that they actually don’t think about it. It’s so ingrained in their culture and it’s beautiful to see a country collectively agree that preserving the natural world is important for everyone.

We also got to know the city, take a ferry around some of many islands that make up Stockholm, see a Viking ship that sank on its maiden voyage, go to an amusement park, and meet fellow graduate students at the Stockholm School of Economics. We also enjoyed traditional Swedish meatballs and lots of incredible seafood. It was really amazing to see how businesses are flourishing in Sweden while making large investments in the future and in sustainability.

Darden students explored one of the newest models of commercial trucks produced by Scania during a company visit in Sodertalje. Scania, a global manufacturer of commercial and heavy-duty vehicles, spoke to the students about the company’s operations, the future of the automotive industry, and autonomous vehicles.
Students met with leaders at the Stockholm Royal Seaport Visitor’s Center. Students enjoyed a presentation, walking tour, and lunch in the Royal Seaport, exploring the area’s growth, housing, sustainability efforts, and projected future plans.
Students pose with members of the Digiplex team outside of their headquarters in Upplands Vasby, Sweden. During their company visit, students toured the Digiplex data center, learned about the company’s profile, growth, sustainability, and goals.
Following their company visit, students were treated to a delicious dinner with members of the Digiplex team at the Grona Lund amusement park in Stockholm. Following dinner, students enjoyed the park’s many rides, games, and activities.