Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Lohit Kabbathi Natesh, University of Virginia (Darden)

Lohit Kabbathi Natesh

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

“Perpetually positive person who loves to crack dark jokes and build cool stuff.”

Hometown: Hassan, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have been chased by an Elephant while trekking in a national park.

Undergraduate School and Major: The National Institute of Engineering, Bachelor of Technology (Mechanical Engineering)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Tata Digital, Group Product Manager

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? The case method ensures that you come prepared for the class or be at the risk of being cold called. With this prepared classroom, the debate that ensues makes you question your own opinions and broadens your horizon. The peer learning that happens when your section mate tells you how they looked at the problem gives you varied perspectives. This prepares you for the real world wherein there is no one to give you the right answer and it’s the team that you work with for the best solution. It also takes out the initial hesitation of you speaking up, it pushes you to put your opinion to the test and not get attached to an idea.

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? I am a person who loves to create a tribe of their own, and Darden’s close-knit community is what attracted me to the program. The smaller cohort size, and a smaller city like Charlottesville allows you to build strong bonds with your classmate. As an international student I wanted a community that I could rely on and build a strong support system. The scenic beauty in and around Charlottesville was an added bonus.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Virginia Darden? A Darden worldwide course is something I am really excited about; I love to travel and have covered seven countries until now. I have always learned something new while travelling to a different country. I plan to go to a South American country and learn how business is done there.

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. The Darden MBA program has truly exceeded my expectations, primarily due to the remarkable sense of community that developed right from the start. What struck me the most is how every student I’ve encountered at Darden is genuinely eager to help. The second-year students organize a wonderful initiative called “Humans of Darden,” where we sit down for dinner and discuss our dreams and anxieties in a safe and supportive atmosphere.

Equally impressive is the alumni network. They are incredibly generous with their time and offer honest advice whenever you seek it. Their guidance has been invaluable to my journey so far.

One standout moment at Darden has been the relay race during the Darden Cup. This event brings out the best in students, as everyone rallies behind their respective sections to win the coveted cup. While my section didn’t secure the victory, what it truly showed was our unwavering support for one another. I’ll never forget a friend who fell four times while racing after the dizzy bat challenge. Despite his disorientation, the entire section ran alongside him, providing directions and encouragement. This experience cemented my belief that these are the people I can count on for life.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2018, I joined Tata’s leadership program and one of my projects was to aid an underserved village. The project initially relied on external consultants for funding, making it unsustainable. To address this, I decided to live among the villagers and experience their challenges firsthand.

My research revealed that government development funds remained unused due to bureaucratic obstacles. I also discovered six literate women in the village willing to help, though gender norms held them back.

Despite advice to avoid local politics, I persisted, using data from successful neighboring villages to support my arguments. Over time, my efforts and the support of two village elders began to soften resistance. To secure grants, I trained the women in creating materials, leading to the village team securing $100,000 in funding within a month. This success motivated even the village patriarchs to actively engage in the project.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)? I am planning to get into strategy consulting. Bring structure to and solve ambiguous problems.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Virginia Darden’s MBA program? Creating a strong action plan is what I would recommend:

Look at the current profile to understand what test scores are needed to get into Darden (on an average).

Talk to students in Darden and also alums of Darden to get a holistic perspective.

Give yourself some time to prepare for the application, the MBA application process helps you introspect on what you want from life. Use this to understand yourself better.

Don’t get stressed, enjoy the process; life works out. Do not go into a spiral. Keep talking to your friends.


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