Above: Hemant with current Darden students who participated in the Darden Worldwide Course to India this January in Mumbai.

We are delighted to welcome Hemant Das to the Darden community. Hemant joins as Principal Advisor for India Initiatives with our partner Sannam S4, based in Mumbai.  Hemant comes to us with significant experience in management education in India, working most recently with top global business schools to provide executive education programming for Indian leaders.

Hemant will work collaboratively across Darden, leading efforts to advance the school’s impact and engagement in India and the region. He will lead efforts to build and strengthen relationships that advance the Darden brand and goals in India and South Asia, expanding on our ongoing efforts and engagement with this critical part of the world. Let’s get to know Hemant!

What excites you about Darden?

I visited Darden in November 2019 and spent a few days interacting with the Darden leadership, faculty, and current MBA students. I also sat in on a class with the first year MBA students.

Being on Grounds, brought back memories from when I was on my own MBA journey at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, a few years back. It reminded me again of the privilege of going through a high-quality learning experience and the impact it had and continues to have on my life.

What really stood out for me during the whole experience was ‘The Darden Approach’. At Darden, learners are encouraged to pursue their ‘why’- their passion or personal challenge – to develop the modern leader within. It was really exciting for me to experience this in person and understand how it works.

When I look back at my own MBA learning experience, what really helped me was interactions with faculty and my fellow learners in the classroom. Darden really excels at this; you get the feeling of community, a high touch learning experience which facilitates more peer and professor interactions and a highly empathetic faculty.

Any advice for individuals considering an MBA degree?

Yes, making a decision to do an MBA is not an easy one and there are multiple factors to consider and reflect upon before deciding to do an MBA. An MBA requires a substantial investment in terms of time, energy and money but will also create lifelong connections and yield long-term advantages. A deliberate reflection on the true motivations and expectations is critical so that the individuals make the right decision. A few key considerations include career goals and learning experience/outcomes.

Career Goals

Individuals need to deliberate and reflect on their career goals: Do you have clarity on what you want to achieve in your career and how an MBA can help you get there?

    • How will an MBA help in your career? Is it mandatory to have, nice to have or moderately relevant?
    • How can an MBA help you connect the dots and fill in the gaps in your current skill sets and develop skills for your preferred career choice?
    • What are the skills or competencies required for success in your desired career and will an MBA degree help in developing those skills and competencies.

Learning Experience and Outcomes

Individuals need to reflect on their expected learning outcomes and the way they learn. This is critical as it will help them decide what kind of MBA format, duration, and business school would be the best fit.

  • How do you like to learn? On your own or with constant interactions with peers/faculty?
  • Would you prefer an intimate learning environment with more peer/faculty interaction, or would you prefer the anonymity of a big cohort?
  • What’s your preferred pedagogy – lectures or deeply interactive case studies?
  • Is a truly global experience important for you?

How do you like to spend your free time?

I like to travel and explore new places and activities; it could be something close to home or a different part of the world. I am grateful that I get to travel a lot. It helps me learn and get out of my comfort zone.

Photography has been a hobby of mine for a while, but I still have a lot to learn. I would love to develop a body of work and display it in an exhibition someday.

I am an avid cyclist; it helps me explore the outdoors, is good exercise and I find it meditative!

Fun Fact: I have done the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb and cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.