Meet Virginia Darden’s MBA Class of 2019

Ki-Shui Liao 

University of Virginia Darden School of Business 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A professional golfer who only recently discovered and appreciate the educational value of an MBA.

Hometown: Orlando, FL (Born in Hong Kong)

Fun Fact About Yourself: I won a professional U.S. Championship, but it was in hickory golf, where players dress in traditional 1930’s golf attire and compete using antique wooden-shafted clubs and vintage replica golf balls.

Undergraduate School and Major: Stanford University, Communication

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Professional Golfer- competed on the Symetra Tour, National Women’s Golf Association, and Ladies Asian Golf Tour

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I notched two professional wins on the NWGA Tour. I won my first professional tournament in 2014 with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?  I would advise preparing at least a year in advance of applying to business school. Getting familiar with the admissions criteria of schools and doing research by visiting websites (such as Poets and Quants) will help you create a list of target schools and a baseline of academic qualifications that these schools expect. By deciding which schools to target early, you have time to plan campus visits. I highly recommend visiting the schools you want to apply to because not only do you get a sense of the environment and students, but it also gives you tremendous insight to use in your application and admissions interview.

But I would also like to add, do not panic if you have not prepared a year or two in advance.  If you suddenly decide and insist on applying to business school four months before round 2 deadlines (like I did), it is doable but will require a rigorous GMAT studying schedule and dedicated planning to visit schools and gather all the materials required.

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?Honestly, Darden was not the number one school on my list when I first decided to apply because I had heard that they require daily active participation in class discussions and that was not appealing to me as an introvert. But then I visited Darden and after sitting in on a class, quickly realized that the high level of engagement in class is exactly what I want and need. I had always been bored in lectures at school and would lose attention quickly. At Darden, there is constant interaction between the professor and students throughout the class, keeping everyone engaged and focused. In addition, listening every day to the diverse questions, perspectives, and experiences of other students is invaluable. Learning to speak up and contribute in group settings (large and small) is essential in the business world, and Darden is the best school to develop these skills through its case method approach to teaching.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? For someone who is starting at Darden with very little background in the business world, success to me after my first year would be having the ability and confidence to apply the decision-making skills I will have learned throughout the year at a summer internship with a prestigious company. Darden has a rigorous and structured first year core curriculum and highly-involved faculty and career advisors so I have no doubt that I will achieve success.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.