Tanvi Bindal (left middle in first row in above photo) participated in Darden’s exchange program in fall 2018. Tanvi, who is from and has lived in ten culturally distinct states in India, is a second year MBA student studying general management at ESADE in Spain. Prior to pursuing her MBA, she worked in India as a software engineer at Accenture and as a business analyst at eClerx serving clients in the U.S. market.
How did you hear of Darden? What made you decide to study abroad here in Charlottesville on exchange?
I had my eyes set on Darden since the time I started applying for MBA programs in 2017. I had read about it and knew it was a high-calibre business school. So, when I had the chance to select a school for my exchange program, I immediately put Darden as my first choice and hoped that I would get it – eight months later, I was in Charlottesville! I am so happy with my choice to participate in the exchange program. My time at Darden was one of the best experiences of my MBA journey.
How was your academic experience at Darden similar to or different from ESADE?
The academic experience was very similar in terms of teaching methods. ESADE also uses the case method and students actively participate in class discussions. I firmly believe that the people around us enhance what we learn from cases and books; having diversity of thought and the freedom to debate takes the classroom experience to the next level. Both Darden and ESADE have proved me right in that aspect.
Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities or clubs while you were at Darden?
Lots! If I could’ve, I would have joined all of them! But given my limited time at Darden, I got involved in the Tech Club, Outdoors Club, Wine & Cuisine Club and Darden Dance Revolution, for which I participated in two flash mobs during the semester.
When people from home ask you about your semester at Darden, how do you respond?
I think I probably look like a clown whenever I respond to that question. A wide grin crosses my face and I begin by saying, “IT WAS AMAZZIIIINGGG! IF I COULD, I WOULD DO ANOTHER TERM THERE”! Some of my favorite moments were the board game nights and dinners I attended hosted by students and faculty alike; hiking Spy Rock on the Appalachian Trail; learning to make and eat s’mores (I never knew what s’mores were before my time at Darden); watching American football and basketball games; experiencing Thanksgiving for the first time (I attended three Thanksgiving dinners!); the University of Virginia’s Lighting of the Lawn celebration; and, of course, creating life-long friendships!
What would you say to students who are considering coming to Darden on exchange? What are some of the challenges and benefits of participating in an exchange program?
It is a phenomenal experience. To students considering schools in the U.S., Darden has to be at the top of your list. Trust me – you’ll be one of the lucky ones who will get to share the unforgettable Darden experience with your friends, family and colleagues. The benefits of participating in an exchange program far outweigh the challenges. The only challenge I probably faced was in finding a place to live in the fall semester, since not many Darden students go on exchange at that time.
Darden has a great culture and keeps you on your toes academically and socially, with so many events going on all the time. You may feel overwhelmed at times, but it is all worth it. On top of all that, you meet exceptionally smart people and get to expand your professional network as well as build personal friendships. To make the most of your time on exchange, you have to be open and say yes to every opportunity to interact with people and take part in activities. I felt at home at Darden, and I am sure you will too. The credit is due to all students, staff and friends I made along the way. I wish I could thank each and every person who made my exchange experience one of the best of my entire MBA journey.