Vimal “V” Nair came to Darden from Boston, where he worked for Eze Software as an Integration Analyst. At Eze, a company that makes trading software for asset managers, V worked with hedge fund clients setting up their trading systems. He determined that he wanted to go into a more “high-tech” field instead of financial technologies (FinTech), so he returned to Charlottesville in pursuit of his third degree from UVA – an MBA from Darden. V received his BA in Politics and Economics in 2014 and a Master’s in Public Policy in 2015. Keeping with his goal, V interned with Amazon’s web services team (AWS) after his first year at Darden. He was tasked with creating a pricing strategy for AWS products, including figuring out price elasticities for products sold internationally, by analyzing how different pricing models would impact different economies and currencies.
V is now a second year student at Darden who volunteers at the Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Facility through Resilience Education (founded by Darden faculty member Greg Fairchild), is a Second Year Coach, and has participated in several Darden Worldwide Courses. “I knew I would probably travel during my time at Darden,” V shared. “I would rank Darden’s global opportunities abroad among the top three things to do while at Darden.” V completed a team Global Consulting Project (GCP) in December 2017 after his team visited their Hong Kong-based client. Their client, JMATEK, tasked the team with developing and presenting a brand strategy for a new product. “JMATEK wanted to launch their new product in the U.S., so our group did most of our work in the U.S. before making the client visit to Hong Kong,” he explained. “The product they want to launch is an evaporative air cooler – the midpoint between air conditioning and a ceiling fan – that is more cost efficient than air conditioning and cooler than a fan. We presented our brand strategy recommendations in front of the head of marketing, operations team members, and the MD & CEO, Darden alumnus Naresh Kumra (MBA ’99), among others.”
During his first year at Darden, V participated in a Global Client Course to Argentina in May 2017. The course explored Argentina’s wine industry amidst the country’s unstable economic environment. “We were essentially working as consultants for wineries in Mendoza, Argentina,” described V. “We were split up into smaller groups and each team would spend their days at the wineries working on specific projects for their assigned client. My team worked on installing a Salesforce-like platform in our client’s computer system to better integrate our client’s customer lists and information into their current system.” This course also expanded V’s understanding of how company branding works across borders. “Matervini Winery has many global clients, so brand mattered quite a bit,” he said. “They intentionally thought about how they marketed themselves across borders in all countries and they went to each country where they had clients to discuss their product. They created a standard, classic logo that would work seamlessly around the world, but then went and met with clients from all around the world to get their feedback on the company. Matervini effectively created their own client culture with their wine.”
“I did a lot of personal travel before coming to Darden,” V said, “but traveling abroad to work is a totally difference experience. When working abroad, you get to experience that country’s culture more richly than when traveling for fun. You spend all day working with them and can integrate into the culture deeper than when traveling as a tourist. In Hong Kong for the GCP, I witnessed firsthand the work culture of Hong Kong and thought to myself, ‘Yeah, I could do this.’ I used to be apprehensive about working abroad, but these experiences have changed that for me,” he shared. After he graduates from Darden as a triple ‘Hoo, V will return to Amazon as a senior financial analyst. “If Amazon offered me the opportunity to work abroad with AWS, I absolutely would. My experiences with Darden’s global academic offerings reaffirmed that for me.”