By Sabrina Liu

After earning his bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia, Augusto Torres Bozzi (Class of 2018) worked as a production engineer when he joined Saint-Gobain. With Saint-Gobain, he spent six months in Colombia training and then transferred to the company’s industrial division in Paris, where he served as a developer and then later as a coordinator for continuous improvement projects. “I realized that coming up with the right answers is only about 30% of the job,” Augusto explained. “Most of the job is actually earning buy-in and supporting the numbers you provide. The numbers have to be right, but unless people understand what they mean and that they can facilitate a change, you haven’t really made a difference.”

With that realization, Augusto decided to pursue an MBA and, through his friend, learned about Darden and its renown. Augusto visited three business schools and eventually selected Darden for three primary reasons: “The first one was the case method. My background is in engineering and I knew I wanted to learn to communicate my numbers and ideas better. The case method of learning provided an opportunity to hone that skill. Second, Darden has a strong sense of community. I could see that even from viewing the website and when I visited in person, I felt the warmth of the people and collaborative nature of the way everyone interacts. Finally, Charlottesville is a great town and I felt like it would be the right place for me to study and for my young daughter and wife to live for two years. Visiting Darden and Charlottesville in person cemented my decision to attend.”

Once at Darden, Augusto found huge differences between his undergraduate engineering classroom experience and Darden’s case method style of learning. His engineering instruction was primarily lecture-based and therefore less interactive; also, in engineering, “it was easy to tell if your answer was right or wrong.” The Darden classroom experience contrasts sharply. He explained that, “We are here to think and debate. It starts in our learning teams and then we are prepared to do it in the classroom, where we learn from one another. In fact, I’d say there are 65 professors in every classroom because we learn so much from each other’s experiences and perspectives. We talk and debate and most of the time there are no right answers because there are so many possible outcomes.”

Outside of the classroom, Augusto is on the board of the General Management & Operations (GMO) Club, a member of the Finance Club, Latin American Student Association (LASA), and is also a Second Year tutor. During his first year, Augusto attended the GMO Forum, one of the largest student-run events at Darden, which helped him land his internship and also his full-time job. Now, as a Second Year student, Augusto is making time to give back. Responsible for the GMO Forum this year, Augusto explained, “I wanted to make sure that the next class could have as good as an experience at that event as I did. My team invested enormous efforts and it was a huge challenge, organizing 30-40 recruiters and 140 student attendees, but so rewarding.” He went on to share that, “as a First Year, you get a lot of help from the clubs, especially if you are coming to Darden from outside of the U.S. I learned so much about recruiting in the U.S. from the friends I made in LASA. Everyone really helps each other out and, to some extent, Darden is just one big club where everyone you reach out to is super helpful.”

The helpfulness of the community extends beyond immediate classmates. “The generosity of alumni has allowed me to be here at Darden without financial burden. I have the freedom to focus on what I want to do, my passions, rather than thinking about how to pay down debt after graduation,” Augusto emphasized. Upon admission to Darden, Augusto was awarded the Colgate W. Darden Scholarship and then this year he was awarded a Frank E. Genovese Second Year Fellowship. “Frank Genovese (MBA ’74) is an inspiration. He is really involved in selecting the fellows and actively helps each one of us achieve our goals. He is an incredible human being and I hope that, someday, I might be able to do the same for others.”

Augusto enjoying summer in Charlottesville with his wife and daughter at Carter Mountain Orchard
Augusto (far left) having fun with 2017-2018 GMO club board members