By Abigail Quinn
Christophe Sion (Class of 2022) is a first-year student at Darden and the incoming president of the European Society. Originally from Belgium, Christophe shares more about his journey back to Charlottesville and his hopes for the European Society organization in the coming year:
Some people pursue an MBA, others a JD, while others get an LLM; Christophe Sion, a current residential MBA student in the Class of 2022, decided to pursue all three. Christophe, a Belgian national, obtained his law degree in Antwerp before coming to Charlottesville to get his LLM at the UVA Law School; it was here that he met his wife, who comes from Brazil. “The law practice where I worked in Belgium after returning from UVA focused on finance, so there was always a thin line for me between the legal world and the business world,” he said. When considering which business schools would help him reach his career aspirations, Christophe immediately thought of Darden, which he passed daily on his walk to UVA Law School. “My main goal is to become an entrepreneur, and I knew Darden would provide the rigorous environment necessary for me to achieve that dream.”
In his first few quarters at Darden, Christophe began to make that dream a reality. Working with one of his classmates, a fellow first year international student, they founded Ragnar Mobile. “We are trying to start a mobile virtual network operator that would focus on international students,” he says. “Our goal is to tap into a really niche market and make American cellular service more accessible to our global peers.” He and his business partner will continue to hone their entrepreneurial skills over the next year at Darden as they continue develop their venture.
Aside from starting a venture, Christophe joined several extracurricular clubs during his first year at Darden. He is a member of the Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital club as well as a member of the Latin American Student Association, and he will lead the European Society throughout his second year as club president. The club is small, he says; “there are not many Europeans at Darden, since many Europeans stay on the continent for graduate school. So, we hope the club works as a bridge: we want to expose the Darden community to European cultures and traditions while also introducing prospective European students to the potential that Darden has for them.” Eager for the world to look a little more normal in the fall, Christophe and the European Society board members look forward to resuming in person activities and planning new events for the Darden community, including an Oktoberfest celebration in the fall and a classic European Christmas market this winter.
As an international student attempting to travel to the U.S. to attend Darden during the height of the pandemic, Christophe learned to be flexible and to embrace uncertainty. “The COVID-19 pandemic taught us all a valuable business lesson, if nothing else: it was and is a test of adversity on a global scale. How we respond to this adversity is up to us, individually and collectively.” Christophe will take this lesson with him into the risk-taking world of entrepreneurship, remaining flexible when facing challenges and uncertainty as he and his co-founder continue to develop Ragnar Mobile.