Deepta Singh Yaduvanshi (Class of 2020) was born and raised in New Delhi, India. Prior to moving to Charlottesville to attend Darden, Deepta (center left in middle row in above photo) had never lived outside of her home in Delhi but always knew she would move to attend graduate school. “Success is a big value in my family. My mom has an MBA and my dad has a PhD and is one of the leading bankers in India. I knew I would shoot for the stars and go to graduate school. That was never not an option for me,” Deepta recalled.

Choosing Darden

During her undergraduate work, Deepta decided to pursue a business economics degree to better understand how the business application of economics affects different companies in various industries. She concentrated her degree in business management, and, as time flew by, she recruited for different companies and began working for S&P, managing a private sector research and consulting profile with companies across the world. “This experience gave me a lot of exposure to how businesses are run, and as I took more responsibility in my role I knew I wanted to do more of it,” explained Deepta. “I ended up playing an integral role in the integration taskforce for a $2.2B merger for S&P that included a company in Charlottesville, so I traveled to and visited Charlottesville before I ever heard of Darden. I had no idea that I would return to Charlottesville to attend Darden shortly thereafter!”

Deepta (third from right) with Darden classmates during the Japan DWC

“I’m so happy to be here at Darden,” Deepta said. “My two main considerations for finding a business school were that I did not want to live in an overwhelming city while pursuing my degree, and I wanted to be in a smaller cohort of students. My decision to attend Darden was very easy.”

Transitioning to life in a new city and country can be tough for even the most seasoned traveler, but Deepta felt ready for the challenge. “I am really attached to my home in Delhi, but I knew I wanted to pursue my MBA abroad and spend time actually living abroad and not just traveling to different countries. I was overwhelmed when I first moved here – Charlottesville is much different than New Delhi – but it has been a personal journey for me during which I have grown and changed a lot.” The comradery of the Darden community eased her transition to the U.S. “The first year at Darden is challenging for everyone, especially international students given the intense cultural change. However, Darden is way less cutthroat than I anticipated from a business school environment. Students here work together, even during recruiting and exam seasons. People give review sessions on a voluntary basis – that is a very Darden thing.”

Choosing #dardenglobal

During her first year, Deepta signed up for the Darden Worldwide Course (DWC) to Japan, applied to be a Center for Global Initiatives (CGI) Ambassador, and accepted an international summer internship position. “Doing a global immersion course was on my ‘to do’ list as a priority before I got to Darden. I even mentioned it in my admissions interviews,” she said. Several factors played into Deepta’s decision to join the Japan DWC. “I have been to Africa and Europe before, and Japan was an unexplored area for me. In deciding between Japan and Brazil, I ultimately chose Japan because of its uniqueness – and it lived up to my expectation. I am a bit of a WWII history buff, so to understand more of that war’s history from the Japanese perspective also inspired my decision.”

“The DWC in Japan was well-structured and the faculty leaders, Marc Modica and Shizuka Modica, did an amazing job leading the group and relaying the lessons from both Eastern and Western perspectives. It seems that Japan is stuck somewhere in between progressive and regressive – they have a culture of innovation in their companies but are strongly attached to their roots,” she explained. “The DWC allowed me to draw parallels between Japan and India as well as the United States. Being immersed in a country makes you think and reflect – you don’t just visit companies and cultural sites and then go back to sleep at the end of the day.”

Deepta (second on right) enjoys a traditional Japanese lunch with Rakuten colleagues

Her decision to attend the Japan DWC was serendipitous, as a few months later she accepted a summer internship position with Rakuten, an e-commerce giant based in Tokyo. “The fact that I traveled to Japan for the DWC and ended up staying an additional two months in Tokyo for my internship was totally coincidental – and immediately beneficial! Many lessons I learned from the DWC translated into my internship experience, especially when we learned about the nuances of Japanese culture and business. We also visited Rakuten during the course, which helped tremendously before I began my internship a few weeks later,” Deepta said. Already having the experience of moving and living abroad in Charlottesville made her decision to accept the internship in Japan an easy ‘yes’. “To me, this internship working on Rakuten’s partnership with the NBA was an unparalleled opportunity, and I already felt more confident about living on my own in a different culture. During my internship in Japan I had the chance to meet many famous NBA stars, including Steph Curry, and to summit Mt. Fuji!”

Choosing Global at Darden

Deepta applied to be a CGI Ambassador because of her strong belief in the Center’s mission to bridge Darden and the world. “I know what it feels like to come to the U.S. for the first time from another country and I felt that I brought a lot of international experience, even before participating in the Japan DWC and my internship in Tokyo,” Deepta shared. “I could relate to the goals of the CGI Ambassador program, and I wanted to do whatever I could do to make Darden more culturally aware, more diverse and more global.”

As a CGI Ambassador, Deepta works closely with members of the CGI team as well as other CGI Ambassadors to support CGI’s vision, proposing new ideas and assisting with global events at Darden. “The CGI Ambassadors are all very motivated by CGI’s mission and we decided that we would do however much our bandwidth allows us to do in support of CGI,” Deepta said. This year, the Ambassadors worked together with CGI to host a DWC Meet & Greet session for all first year students enrolled in DWCs in May 2020.

“We are trying to think of more ways to engage our international exchange students from Darden’s partner universities abroad. They will take this experience home with them to their schools and their time at Darden will always be a part of their own MBA journeys,” Deepta shared. “We also want to celebrate the international students at Darden, who contribute so much academically and are an integral part of the case discussions in class. The Ambassadors are always looking for ways to expand our roles and what we do for Darden.”