Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Jeremy Halversen, University of Virginia (Darden)

Jeremy Halversen

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

“I’m a husband, dad, dessert junkie, and I’m working on waiting my turn in class!”

Hometown: Renton, Washington

Fun Fact About Yourself: I made my brother-in-law’s wedding cake!

Undergraduate School and Major: Brigham Young University, BS Chemical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Senior Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? If the 70 people in my classroom each have just 4 years of work experience, we’re talking about nearly 300 years’ worth of interactions with managers and leaders. While none of us in the room are perfect managers, we have all witnessed and been a part of moments of near perfect leadership. Darden’s case method is so good at providing a framework for that experience to be shared in a constructive, formulaic way. It’s amazing to have a helicopter pilot who spent nearly a decade in the US military sitting next to the founder of a tech startup in India. They show up to class, start discussing a case, and pretty soon, without even trying. they are teaching each other what great leadership looks like.

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’ve always loved teaching. I’ve seen how a teacher who views quality teaching as the most important element of their job can have a tremendous impact on students. I applied to Darden in 2020 as part of their Future Year Scholars program and at the time The Princeton Review had just ranked Darden’s professor’s #1 for the 3rd year in a row. I want to know that my professors are showing up each day as excited to teach as I am to learn, so this was easily in my top 3 reasons Darden rose to the top of my list.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Virginia Darden? I’m pumped to compete against the other sections of students in competitive events for the Darden Cup. I’m a strong believer that low-stakes competition for competition’s sake is one of the simplest ways to strengthen teams and build relationships. I’m always impressed when just a couple of people with enough energy infuse an entire group with passion, even if it’s for something as inconsequential as an egg toss. I’m also excited that Darden makes these kinds of events conducive to having my wife and kids come up to campus to watch and participate!

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 worked with lots of MBA grads from all the top business schools before coming to Darden. Everyone was proud of where they attended and pretty much everyone loved their years in business school. That said, more than graduates from any other program, Darden grads absolutely lit up when they would tell you about their experience. It didn’t matter whether it was the faculty, the case method and pedagogy generally, or Charlottesville itself as a pristine backdrop to their two years. Graduates consistently raved about this program to me. After arriving it didn’t take long before I was bought into it myself.

My favorite memory so far came in our second day of Marketing. In our section of 70 students a classmate was sharing an interview he held with his partner about his partner’s decision to purchase a very expensive bicycle as a status symbol. Rather than merely sharing the facts of the interview, this classmate had our entire section (professor included) busting a gut laughing as he delivered an elaborate, embellished, hilarious story of this bicycle purchase decision and fielded questions from the class. At the end of the day the marketing principles we extracted from the interview would have been the same with an unexciting recounting of the story, but this is a great representation of how Darden’s curriculum engages students at a high level. Our section had known each other for only a few days at that point and already we felt comfortable taking our armor off and having a great time. Our professor was facilitating this, gets me excited about what the next two years will look like in the program.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment of my career to this point has to be making the shift from my first full-time role as a semiconductor engineer to my most recent role as a consultant with McKinsey & Company. I had hardly heard about consulting until a buddy from my undergraduate program, who was at McKinsey, reached out and asked if I’d be interested in applying to the firm. My wife and I ultimately decided that consulting would be a good next step for our family. Over the course of just a couple months (while working a full-time job), I taught myself to case from scratch. The first case I ever did live was my first interview with McKinsey. While not the smartest approach, it worked out for me! I’m grateful to my friend for reaching out to me. I’m proud of the preparation that I put in to redefining my career trajectory.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)? I look forward to spending at least a couple more years at McKinsey & Company following graduation. I plan to use my time at Darden to discover what my post-consulting career could look like. At this point, the functions that are top of mind are general corporate strategy or organizational health, but I look forward to competing interests challenging those assumptions over the next 2 years!

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Virginia Darden’s MBA program? Until I showed up for opening week, I really didn’t appreciate how committed the Darden admissions team is to creating a dramatically diverse class, whether that’s by country of origin, employment history, career aspirations, hobbies, or family situations. It’s a truly unique and amazing group to be a part of.

Regarding applying, we all have a natural tendency to gravitate towards and spend time with people who are like us in one way or another. Being around people like yourself can give you the impression that you aren’t as unique as you “need to be” for a program like Darden. That’s a lie we sometimes tell ourselves. There is only one of you in the world. The challenge isn’t being unique enough, the challenge is communicating what made you the unique person you are. So my advice is to get yourself pumped up for the opportunity to share the best version of your personal story with the admissions committee. At the end of the day, they are real humans who believe you have something to offer and they want to know if you believe that too.

DON’T MISS: MEET VIRGINIA DARDEN’S MBA CLASS OF 2025

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