Meet Virginia Darden’s MBA Class of 2019

Amevi Agbogbe 

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Patient, good listener, team-oriented, funny and eager to impact Africa’s development.

Hometown:  Lome, Togo

Fun Fact about Yourself:  I love soccer and my favorite team is Real Madrid.

Undergraduate School and Major: 

  • Undergraduate: University of Lome, Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Graduate: Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Dakar, Master of Science in Management, Finance

Employers and Job Titles since Graduation:

  • UNITED NATIONS – International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD): Financial Management Specialist, West and Central Africa
  • ACTION AGAINST HUNGER: Finance Officer
  • COCA-COLA: Financial Analyst
  • DELOITTE: Junior Auditor

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Working in Mao, a rural area in Chad, with Action Against Hunger helping families gain access to improved health and food security. That exposure was life-changing and shaped my passion for the African continent.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? 

KNOW YOURSELF: Your application process should start with a thorough “personal audit” to understand why you need an MBA education. Thoughtful answers to the following questions can be helpful: what is your greatest passion? What are your strengths and weaknesses? In what kind of work environment do you thrive most? How do you see your career evolving in the next 5 to 10 years? What skill set do you need to reach your career goals? In what unique way your personal and professional experiences can contribute to a diverse classroom? Also, devote a lot of time to speak with people in your target industries so you can make an informed decision about your post-MBA objectives.

GMAT: Preparing for the GMAT could be time-consuming. Pick a test date depending on the admission round you aim for, and craft a study plan accordingly. Stick to your study plan and be “consistent.” Use official guides to familiarize with the test format. Take as many practice tests as possible under testing conditions. Above all, make sure you rest well before the exam.

ESSAYS: The value of a well-performed “personal audit” becomes clear when you start writing your essays. At this stage, you should know who you are, what you have done so far, and what your career goals are. With those reflections, you can show your maturity and describe into details why your decision to apply for an MBA is not a random one. Explain how the MBA would bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to end up. Be specific about why you are a great fit for the school you are applying to. Start writing your essays early and build your story around your unique experiences to make yourself memorable. Share drafts with friends and colleagues who know you very well to have valuable feedback.

INTERVIEW: Build your confidence with a lot of practice.

The MBA application process is all about timing and self-awareness. These tasks might seem overwhelming but a careful planning can make the experience enjoyable.

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? School rankings were helpful during my application process but selecting the right School depended on which would ultimately allow me to fulfil my personal and professional goals. From my personal audit, I discovered that, post-MBA, I wanted a consulting role where I can leverage the best practices I have acquired through my career in the private and the public sectors to help solve some of the critical issues governments and corporations face around the world especially in Africa. I needed therefore a problem-based learning environment where I can analyze situations from a multidisciplinary approach to be able to make decisions holistically. Darden clearly came on top of my list because of the case method approach of its curriculum which develops critical thinking and good decision making skills in MBA students.

However, what attracted me most to Darden was its close community, something I experienced myself when I visited the School. The students I met were very passionate about their MBA experience and spoke highly of how the case methods and Darden’s experiential learning opportunities have taught them new ways of thinking, learning and speaking. That, clearly, was the manifestation of what I wanted my MBA experience to be.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? If all my business school peers can say they can rely on me.

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