Meet Virginia Darden’s MBA Class Of 2023

Darden Club Fair

5 REASONS TO CONSIDER VIRGINA DARDEN

1) Case Method: “Another invaluable advantage of the case study is you’re able to learn from your fellow students. You’re expected to come to class with a position and a take on the case and ultimately, you’re learning from students all over the world and with all different backgrounds about how they find solutions to real world problems.”
Bridget Nolan (’23)

The case method really forces students to be responsible for their own learning and to exercise judgement in the classroom. You must come prepared to answer every question and comment meaningfully on every topic. At the same time, you must also be strategic about when you contribute and when you listen in order to help advance the entire class through the material. This is a great growth environment for someone like me whose experience is primarily in smaller teams. I’m not very practiced at strategically rationing when I speak up and what I say. Additionally, since every student in the classroom is working off the same information, the case method affords everyone the opportunity to contribute meaningfully.”
Jake Eichengreen (’23)

“For me, it was all about Darden’s commitment to the case method. Coming from a liberal arts undergraduate program, I have a deep appreciation for learning how to think vs. learning material. The case study allows you to get into the weeds of real-world examples and uncover relevant concepts and strategies naturally, rather than being force fed them from a textbook. By seeing the scenarios unfold and grappling with how I would respond in a similar situation, it made the learnings feel like lived experiences, even though I have yet to experience even a fraction of the things we discuss in class! This embodied way of learning felt much more intuitive and long-lasting.”
Katie Cech (’21)

First week at Darden

2) Charlottesville: “I was immediately drawn to Darden and Charlottesville’s location because of the ease of access to hiking trails, Shenandoah National Park, and various breweries and vineyards. I’d heard of how overwhelming business school would be so I wanted to ensure that I had access to activities that would help me destress. For me, those activities involve being in nature and having sweeping vistas. Once I moved to Charlottesville, I told several of my friends that I felt at peace here given the abundance of mountains and greenery surrounding me.”
Danny Rosa (’23)

“Charlottesville is a small city (yes, it is a city!) in rural Central Virginia. We have access to some of the most amazing outdoor experiences, from boating on the James River to hiking and camping in Shenandoah National Park. The easy access to nature does make you feel protected from the hustle and bustle of more populated areas, in the most comforting and wonderful way. On the days where you want some culture or good food, Charlottesville has you covered too. Coming from Boston, I had high expectations for culinary options and am very pleasantly surprised to admit that the restaurant scene here rivals some of the best places in Boston. Charlottesville is home to a number of arts festivals, including my favorite, the Virginia Film Festival, ensuring a continually rotating selection of things to do and experience. And if Charlottesville ever feels too small, Richmond is a quick hour drive away or you can catch a 2.5 hour Amtrak to DC right from downtown Charlottesville.”
Katie Cech (’21)

“I am looking forward to going on hikes and trail runs as well. While attending undergrad in Maine, I picked up a love for the great outdoors. I haven’t had as many opportunities while living in New York and Washington D.C. the last few years, so I am excited to explore Shenandoh and pick up outdoor activities again.”
Quinn Rhi (’23)

3) Global Experiences: “Darden gives every incoming student a scholarship for a global immersion program. Learning how different companies and industries operate in other countries is a holistic part of the MBA process. Through Darden’s generous scholarship fund, Darden is promoting equity amongst students because it allows every student to experience the program.”
Minnie Lahoti (’23)

“One of the elements of Darden instrumental in my decision making was global hands-on experience. This included both interaction with a diverse class and the opportunity to participate in the Global Consulting/ Client Projects (GCPs). I was highly keen on undertaking a project with Gojek (now GoTo) in Indonesia. True to Darden’s diversity, on the very first day of my International Student Orientation Program (ISOP), I met two international students – one of whom worked at Gojek and the other who was an avid customer. With such a promising start, I am excited to grow meaningful relations with my peers, learn from their experiences and build a diverse learning team for GCP.”
Edreana Vaz (’23)

Darden Classroom

4) Darden Classroom: “Darden’s overall classroom-community experience was the key differentiator that led me here. The famous Darden cold call reinforces an environment where everyone is very seriously committed to curricular learning. It incentivizes doing the hard work of mastering the material independently, before class, and working with peers to figure things out get over humps – just like real life outside of school. At the same time, the atmosphere and culture are so positive and supportive. There is a shared “we over me” value and expectation for how Darden community members contribute to each other’s progress. Further, I value the classroom is so tied to every other piece of the Darden experience. Because we take all of our core classes with our section and the material is so relevant to our goals, success in the classroom supports success in everything from recruiting to friendships with peers and faculty alike.”
Jake Eichengreen (’23)

5) Darden Traditions: “My favorite Darden tradition is the Darden Cup, a year-long athletic tournament between the first-year sections. Including competitions that include American football, cricket, and  a talent show. It’s an absolute blast and such a fun way to both build section spirit while getting to know people across the class. Plus, while Darden is known for its incredibly collaborative academic environment (which is completely true), the Darden Cup is where we get to let our competitive sides shine! The Darden Cup is a great encapsulation of the Darden community because, while we’re not afraid to dig deep if it means pulling out the win against our rival section, we ultimately are all there to enjoy time with our fellow classmates and their families.”
Katie Cech (’21)

“I loved the simple First Coffee sessions in the morning. It is a 35-minute break between classes, but one that attracts students, staff, and faculty to a common area. First Coffee is ideal to meet or catch-up with people. I enjoyed discussing weekend plans, thought-provoking cases, and even challenging recruitment activities. It is a key pillar of the Darden community and helps build relationships across cohorts.”
Prateek Sinha (’21)

“I think the Building Goodness in April Auction is a very cool Darden tradition. Each section builds a deck with items donated by students and professors—ranging from poker nights to pep talks to tennis with the dean—and then a live auction ensues to benefit Building Goodness, a local organization dedicated to providing homes and buildings for disadvantaged populations. Everyone gets super creative with their submissions, and I learned a lot about my classmates’ hobbies and interests (including that Mack has a future in auctioneering if investment banking doesn’t work out.) It’s fun to see some portion of signing bonuses disappear on a live tracker as each section competes to outraise each other.”
Amanda Wiggans (’21)

Darden’s DC Campus

ADVICE TO PROSPECTIVE APPLICANTS

I stayed true to my goal. I come from an investment banking background, but want to pivot into a career at the intersection of music/media and technology. By MBA standards, this is a non-traditional goal, and I was advised by several people to stick to the tried-and-tested narrative of transitioning to impact investing, or private equity post IB. However, I stayed honest and wrote and spoke about what I was truly passionate about. I’m not sure if it gave me an edge, but I do know that it helped me remain genuine and persuasive during the interview process.”
Harsha Gummagatta (’21)

“Darden loves applicants who have deeply researched the program it offers. My research was a combination of coffee chats with admission team, students and alumni, blogs relating to the school, essay analysis and student experiences, and the Darden website. The questions you ask should be intentional and of relevance to you and your connection. One of the key questions that was appreciated by most students and alumni and even offered unique insights was this: Which class(es)/ professor (s) have you immensely learned from/ have made an impact on you and Why?”

Edreana Vaz (’23)

“Take your time to learn what is most important to you. Align your morals, values and non-negotiables before applying to any program. Research, reach out to students and faculty and ask real and hard questions. This is the next two years of your life: make sure you’ll be spending it somewhere you love. Once you learn Darden aligns with that, harvest those relationships you built during your research, look for groups and clubs that interest you and learn what they’ve done and what you can add as a new member of their organizations. We’re looking for dynamic and enthusiastic classmates and that’s you!”
Alexis Maria Orr (’23)

MBA Student Hometown Undergrad Alma Mater Last Employer
Wade Clement Los Angeles, CA Duke University Team Prime Time, Inc.
Jacob Eichengreen Colorado Springs, CO Wesleyan University Quad Innovation Alliance at Colorado College
Daniela Fernandez Mexico City, Mexico Tecnológico de Monterrey Mattel Latin America
Kevin Gillespie Louisville, KY Dartmouth College Google
Minnie Lahoti Mumbai, India University of Alabama Inveniam Research, Inc.
Jackie Modesett Houston, TX Harvard College Wesley Hunt for Congress
Bridget Nolan Summit, NJ Duke University CNN Producer for Dana Bash
Alexis Maria Orr Chicago, IL Howard University Equinox
Quinn Rhi New York City, NY Bowdoin College The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Danny Rosa Los Angeles, CA University of Chicago Stanford University Office of Undergraduate Admission
Edreana Vaz Mumbai, India University of Mumbai – Narsee Monjee College Finwise Inc.

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