McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Yale | Ms. Biotech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.29
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Marine Executive Officer
GRE 322, GPA 3.28
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Global Empowerment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.66
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Armenian Geneticist
GRE 331, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 1st Gen Grad
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Ross | Mr. Travelpreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 2.68
London Business School | Ms. Numbers
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
IU Kelley | Mr. Fortune 500
N U Singapore | Mr. Naval Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthtech Venture
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. Senior Research Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.58

Meet Virginia Darden’s MBA Class Of 2020

Ashton Daily

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

“I am a husband, father of a three-year-old daughter, and former US Army infantry officer.”

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a self-styled Texas BBQ pitmaster.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Texas A&M University; Bachelor of Business Administration in Management

University of Oklahoma; Master of Arts in International Relations

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: US Army; Infantry Officer

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was honored to serve as a commander for more than 150 infantry soldiers during close combat operations across Iraq and Afghanistan.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? My classmates are genuinely authentic people, which allows us to build the trust necessary amongst peers learning through the case-method.

Aside from your classmates, 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 particularly attracted to Darden’s emphasis on academics and managerial education. As someone who is completely re-inventing their professional life, I wanted a school that was equally committed to building my business skills and preparing me for new opportunities.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? The Darden Military Association has been a phenomenal community during my transition to civilian life, and I look forward to finding more ways to give back to the veteran community that has supported me.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After deciding to separate from the military, I knew that I would need new skills in order to lead effectively in the private sector. Moreover, I felt that I desperately needed exposure to new industries, roles, and opportunities that I had not experienced during my time in service.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? The Post 9/11 GI Bill has allowed me to simultaneously attend a full-time program and support my young family.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, Tuck, Fuqua, McCombs

How did you determine your fit at various schools? First, I conducted research online through Poets & Quants and the schools’ websites. As a career-switcher, I was searching for schools with excellent academic and career development reputations. Next, I attended each school’s dedicated, on-campus military recruiting event in the fall; most were back-to back over the same week. At these events, I was able to connect with student veterans’ organizations and instantly get an authentic narrative about what my future at that school might resemble. These conversations with student veterans and admissions staff also confirmed that my desired firms were actively recruiting on campus each year. Lastly, I tried to determine if the local community was somewhere I actually wanted to live while raising my young daughter.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I was wounded in action while serving as a ground force commander for combat operations in Logar, Afghanistan (2011). My road to recovery included six reconstructive surgeries and one year of occupational therapy. Eventually, I was able to rejoin my unit and re-earn my position as a light-infantry company commander. That experience refocused my life’s priorities, illustrated the network required for real resiliency, and gave me perspective for future challenges.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan to pursue a career in management consulting.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I envision myself serving in a Case Team Leader / Project Manager role at leading management consulting firm in Dallas, TX. I’ve rapidly integrated into my new firm, and helped add value in the vibrant Texas market. My young family will have expanded with another child or two, and my wife is ecstatic that we can finally put down roots in a community. I smoke 13-lb briskets with oak firewood on Saturdays while I watch college football.