Meet Virginia Darden’s MBA Class of 2019

Cecily Sackey 

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Curious, creative, logical, sarcastic, loyal friend, proud big sister, and entrepreneur at heart.

Hometown: Hamilton, NJ

Fun Fact About Yourself: I got malaria twice during my study abroad trip in Ghana because I refused to take my malaria pills and didn’t sleep under my mosquito net. I obviously enjoy taking risks!

Undergraduate School and Major: Yale University, African Studies

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Account Manager, Large Customer Sales, Google Travel

Associate Account Strategist, Global Customer Experience, Google

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While at Google, I had the opportunity to present a multi-million dollar advertising opportunity to a client based outside of Delhi, India. The project was particularly special because, while I had been working with this client for years via calls and emails, this was the first chance I had to meet them in person, which brought a new level of depth to the relationship. Furthermore, the project ignited my interest in working cross-culturally. Post business school, I hope to work abroad for a few years.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?  People say “trust the process” a lot during this journey. While that mantra certainly rings true to my experience, I’ll add to that “believe in yourself.” It’s easy to go crazy comparing yourself to others during this process. While I don’t think it’s 100% unavoidable, the sooner you stop, the better off you’ll be. The MBA process is an incredible opportunity for self-reflection and I recommend taking advantage of that from the moment you start your application. I started journaling and that was incredibly helpful, both in alleviating stress and for finding material for my essays.

Finally, if you are an underrepresented minority or a woman, I recommend applying to Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s MBA Prep program and Forte’s MBA Launch program, respectively. I did both and they were critical in keeping me on task during the application process. I also gained an amazing network of people who I leaned on in both good times and bad.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you?  I was initially attracted to Darden because of the school’s emphasis on teaching quality. I went to an amazing research institution for undergrad, but didn’t form strong bonds with my professors so this was something I wanted to change in graduate school. I sat in a class during my visit and was blown away by the energy of the discussion.

Furthermore, I was really impressed by Darden’s tight knit community. You can tell from the application questions and the interview that the admissions team is extremely intentional about building an amazing class and I look forward to getting to know mine over the next two years.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?  I will consider my first year a success if I’ve gone beyond the surface and formed true, lasting relationships with the majority of people in my class. I also hope to leave my mark and improve upon an already great institution through a leadership position in a club.

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