Immersion, Learning, and Profession: Tyler Kirchoff (Class of 2018) Relates Three Darden Worldwide Course Experiences
Tyler Kirchoff (Class of 2018, far left in above photo) is a current second year student at Darden. After graduating from the University of Richmond with degrees in Business Administration and Leadership Studies in 2010, he joined Mangham Associates, Inc., an outsourced investment office for endowments and foundations, where he worked as an analyst and an investment associate in Charlottesville for four years. After graduating this May, Tyler will join the Boston Consulting Group’s D.C. office as a full time generalist consultant.
By Sabrina Liu
What motivated you to enroll in the Darden Worldwide Courses to Argentina, Cuba and the U.K.?
I saw the three trips I went on as three distinct opportunities. I love traveling to new places, and I had never been to South America before, so I saw the Argentina course as a chance to explore a new continent. However, the main reason I wanted to join the Argentina trip is that it was a global client course. Since I will be going into consulting after graduation, working as a consultant on a project for a global client was a major factor in my decision – plus, it didn’t hurt that we got to try some pretty fantastic wine!
I chose the Cuba course for pretty different reasons. I have always been fascinated by Cuba – it is a country at an inflection point, and I was very interested in experiencing Cuba at such special stage in its history. Immersing myself in the culture, talking to as many Cubans as possible, and learning about how business is done in Cuba was a phenomenal experience.
Going to London, I felt like I was going back to my roots; I have visited and worked with investment managers from the U.K. throughout my career in finance before Darden. The U.K. DWC provided a different learning perspective than what I had on my work trips to London, where I had been more focused on specific projects and clients. I really enjoyed gaining a more general understanding of European financial markets from a more academic perspective.
How would you compare these courses and what were some key takeaways?
These three courses were all different Darden Worldwide Course experiences – one global client course, one global immersion, and one global topics course. Even with the differences in course structure and theme, each of them felt like a true Darden experience abroad. While each of these countries are facing very different economic and geopolitical challenges, approaching these challenges like any case in the Darden classroom seemed only natural.
In the U.K., trying to wrap our heads around the impact Brexit will have on the financial landscape of Europe was both interesting and challenging. In Argentina, I found myself surprised and excited to see the impact that a small group of MBAs from the U.S. could have on some of the country’s top wineries in such a short period of time. In Cuba, I would say one of the biggest takeaways I had was seeing just how hardworking and resilient the Cuban people are, despite the difficult circumstances. The entrepreneurs we met that were able to advance their lives through the burgeoning private sector were incredibly inspiring – if anyone has any inkling of becoming an entrepreneur, seeing how these men and women have created successful businesses in a country that is hardly friendly to the private sector will be a transformative and inspirational experience.
How did participating in these three courses affect your Darden experience as a whole?
Participating in Darden Worldwide Courses is one of the best things I could have done with my time here at Darden. First of all, the Darden grants available for global experiences covered the program fee for my first course and that got the ball rolling for me to take more trips. I love traveling and these courses were a great way for me to go to places I might not have gone to otherwise – plus, the timing of the DWCs allowed me to travel elsewhere both before and after with Darden friends and family.
Secondly, these courses provided me a great opportunity to look at the world through a completely different lens. Immersing myself into these different countries, cultures, and circumstances was an unbelievable experience – Darden teaches its students in a holistic way and these global opportunities are an invaluable part of rounding out future global business leaders.
Lastly, and most important to me, each of these courses gave me the opportunity to get to know classmates that I had not really known before, as well as really getting to know some of the amazing professors we have here at Darden. Building new friendships and having the opportunity to work together to apply what we learned in our core classes in a global context is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.
What advice would you give to future students who are considering their options for global courses at Darden?
Absolutely do it! Try something different that forces you to step out of your comfort zone. DWCs give you travel and networking opportunities that you might never have otherwise and will open you up to new experiences. Even having done some work abroad in my previous career, participating in these DWCs reopened my eyes to considering the opportunities of working abroad full time in the future. Get out there and experience the world as much as you can – learning about global business doesn’t stop in the classroom!
See photos below from Tyler’s travels with Darden Worldwide Courses: