Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Nicolas (Nico) Martinez, University of Virginia (Darden)

Nicolas (Nico) Martinez

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

“Empowering leader, fostering optimism and hope through steadfast commitment, inclusiveness, and empathy.”

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m a leap-year baby.

Undergraduate School and Major: Economics, Brigham Young University – Provo, Utah.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Deloitte Consulting, LLP, Strategy Manager

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? The case method is appealing because it puts learners into real-world situations. This helps us improve our critical thinking, decision-making, and adaptability skills. When professors regularly cold call, it encourages organized thinking and effective communication. This approach fosters rapid growth. It’s not easy, but the effort is worthwhile if you’re committed to stretching and becoming your best self.

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? Darden’s professors are brilliant, approachable, and care about our development. They’re totally dedicated to the students. They’re great at helping us grow in our careers and personal lives. They’re also fun and easy to talk to. One of my professors used to play in multiple rock bands, and another used to play professional poker. They know how to keep it interesting while connecting with us.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Virginia Darden? At Darden, there’s a tradition called First Coffee – a chance to catch a breath and engage with my extraordinary classmates. While I’m not a coffee drinker, connecting with incredible people over a cup of camaraderie is my kind of blend.

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. One of my favorite memories from Darden is about my classmates. When my wife and I had our baby, classmates worldwide showered us with love. This experience has reminded me that our journey isn’t just about personal growth but about being part of a community that uplifts and stands by each other.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While working as a strategy manager at Deloitte, I also concurrently led a Spanish-speaking religious congregation in a non-compensated role. I helped many immigrants in the greater Washington, DC, area, supporting families grappling with significant health, legal, financial, and familial challenges. My biggest accomplishment was understanding that managing everything by myself wasn’t possible. I had to rely on the incredible people around me and recognize that you are stronger in teams than on your own.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)? After graduation, my goal is to leverage my prior management consulting background and embark on a career that involves working with exceptional leaders. I’m seeking a path that challenges me, embraces ambition, and allows for significant team collaboration. Ultimately, my commitment lies in discovering a career that aligns with pursuing my life’s purpose.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Virginia Darden’s MBA program? Among many exceptional MBA programs, the crucial step is discovering the one that most deeply resonates with you. Immerse yourself in campus visits and connect with students and faculty to absorb the school’s distinct culture. Pursue the program that aligns most closely with your aspirations, values, and personal journey. If you embrace your true self authentically, the application process will be an uplifting and worthwhile experience.


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