Second year student Facundo Tabbia (second from right in above photo) is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and completed his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering at the University of Buenos Aires in 2015. Upon graduation, he worked as an economic and financial planning analyst for Tenaris, a global metallurgical company headquartered in Argentina. Facundo went on to work as an investment analyst for the Argentine International Trade and Investment Agency for several years before deciding to pursue his MBA at Darden.

How did you hear about Darden and what drove you to attend an MBA program in the United States?

When I started my undergraduate degree, I had already planned on pursuing an MBA. I knew the importance of education, how competitive the job market had become and how valuable an MBA from a prestigious university could be. Also, I have always wanted to live the American university experience – the campus, the way of teaching, the sports and the social life around the university. All of it captivated me.

I first heard about Darden because of its reputation as one of the top MBA programs in the world. However, I started to consider Darden seriously because of a friend whom I used to work with at Tenaris, who was completing his MBA at Darden and having an amazing time. After researching more and talking with other Darden alumni I knew it would be exactly the business school experience I wanted.

What interested you in an internship with Bain and Company in Argentina over the summer? What has your experience interning with Bain been like?

Before coming to Darden, I was already interested in consulting. In fact, I started a Consulting Club at my university with a couple of friends. I had the opportunity to meet consultants and partners from the main firms early on, which really helped me to decide on consulting as a career before even arriving at Darden.

My internship with Bain was a challenging experience – at the start, I was immediately assigned a large workload and, as someone on my way to becoming a Darden MBA grad, people had high expectations for me. But, this proved to be exactly the kind of experience I was looking for when I came to Darden – a challenge with plenty of potential for growth and career opportunities.

What are some aspects of the business field in Buenos Aires that you find different from what you have seen in the U.S.? How has your Darden experience changed your perspective on working in consulting?

Doing business in every part of the world is different. In Argentina, people make plans informally, so you have to improvise some things on the go. For example, oftentimes business meetings do not start when planned and people might arrive 10-15 minutes late. This was something I had to change when I came to Darden (even though my learning team might think I haven’t adapted yet) and then get used to again in Argentina.

Regarding Darden, being surrounded by people from all over the world with different perspectives teaches you a lot about the diversity of different cultures and even more about how to relate to them. I believe the most important lessons I have learned at Darden are not solely about growing as a business professional, but growing as an individual as well.

What are some experiences and lessons you think interning internationally provides students that are distinct from internships within the U.S.? What are the principal takeaways you have from your internship so far?

I think going back to my home country for my internship is different from going to a new country. Returning to your home country allows you to contrast the differences between what you have learned about the U.S. and the practical experiences you have had in your own country. On the other hand, going to a different country really opens your mind, allowing you to not only learn about the job, but also about a completely new culture.

Either way, you are not only putting what you learned in class into practice, but also combining those lessons with a different culture, which provides you with new takeaways. To mention one example, business meetings start quite differently in different parts of the world. That detail alone can change a whole business relationship.

What, if any, unexpected insights did you gain from returning to Buenos Aires for your internship after your first year at Darden? After graduation, are you interested in returning to Argentina or pursuing career options in other countries?

They say that ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’. During my first year at Darden, I went through some tough times and felt very homesick. I wanted to return home to see all my family and friends, and to enjoy barbeques, soccer and other traditional Argentinian things. Even though I was excited about moving to the U.S. for the university experience, I have always been close with my family, friends and culture, and I decided early on I would return to Argentina after completing my MBA degree. While I enjoyed being home during my summer internship, I realized what a good time I had at Darden and how many amazing people I met during my first year. Though I still plan to return home after graduation, I came back to Darden with a newfound sense of appreciation, ready to make the most of my second year.

Facundo is a member of the Darden Soccer Club team. The team took part in an MBA soccer tournament in Austin, Texas
Some Darden students, including Facundo, traveled together to Colombia during spring break of their first year