Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Carlos Saballos, University of Virginia (Darden)

Carlos Saballos

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

“I’m family-oriented, always focused on the end goal, and well known for being myself.”

Hometown: Managua, Nicaragua

Fun Fact About Yourself: I play the drums and have been in funk, reggae, and classic rock bands.

Undergraduate School and Major: Saint Louis University, Madrid Campus – International Business

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: PNC, Senior Vice President

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? My deepest learning experiences have taken place when I am out of my comfort zone yet well prepared. Through Socratic discussion, the case method draws out foundational business concepts from each student’s personal experience and reveals viewpoints that may challenge your own. The inherent unpredictability of case discussion compels students to be well prepared for class which fosters an elevated dialogue. In this environment, you learn to appreciate different opinions and how to leverage them for future success. This is a fundamental trait of a truly effective manager.  

Aside from cases and classmates, what was the key part of Virginia Darden’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? My experience as an applicant tipped the scale. The way the program is delivered to applicants is impressive. Every single detail was deliberate and thoughtful. I could tell from an early stage that at Darden everything is centered around the student.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Virginia Darden? Cold Call. Every Thursday evening after classes conclude for the week, students, faculty, and staff come together on the lawn for an informal opportunity to get to know each other. I’m excited to gain new insights from the Darden community and this seems like a great venue for meaningful conversations and idea exchange.

What has been your first impression of the Darden MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Darden story so far. I talked to 12 Darden students and alumni as I researched schools and every single one exuded genuine excitement to help me. The MBA application process can be a lonely journey and Darden made me feel supported and confident. A student offered to mentor me and invested several hours of his time to help me craft a great application and prepare for interviews.

Best Darden story so far – I opened up to a client about my desire to attend Darden. I didn’t know how he would react since it meant I would hand off his account to another banker. He smiled, offered his full support, and told me Darden’s dean Scott Beardsley was his boss at McKinsey in the late 90’s. I promised that if I got into Darden, I’d send him a selfie with Scott. Sending that picture was cathartic!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I served as chair of a young professionals group supporting Chapman Partnership, a homeless assistance center in Miami, FL. Our mission was to help the 200 children residing at the center succeed in school. During my 3-year tenure, my team and I raised $190K to fund an onsite learning center, and increased awareness of our mission by expanding our group’s membership from 40 to 150. This has been my biggest and most fulfilling accomplishment so far.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? “Are You Destined to Deal?” on UVA Law’s YouTube channel.  A Managing Director at Goldman Sachs talks to UVA students about six tangible and four intangible skills that will help you excel in your career. His background is in investment banking and corporate law, but the principles apply broadly to any business career.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Georgetown McDonough

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Virginia Darden’s MBA program? Be confident in your story and tell it cohesively. Show Darden who you really are and use every single part of the application strategically to thread a needle from beginning to end.



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