Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Lieneke Ratto Schol, University of Virginia (Darden)

Lieneke Ratto Schol

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

“Driven and responsible, also fun, and joyful. Trying to make the world a better place.”

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a member of Peru’s National Rugby Team for approximately five years.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Lima, Industrial Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Nestlé Peru, Modern Trade Channel Shopper Specialist

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? The attractiveness lies in its immersive learning experience. Being placed in real-word scenarios nurtures our critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The method’s holistic approach will help us grasp the interconnectedness of business dynamics, while class discussions with diverse peers will broaden our insights. These real cases bridge theory and practice, boosting our confidence to tackle complex challenges in the future. This method will empower me to become a well-rounded, strategic thinker prepared to navigate the intricate landscape of business management.

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? Since submitting my application, I have been impressed with how student-oriented Darden is. Attending the admitted student weekend back in April, in an effort to make up my mind, made me realize that I truly belong here. Every member of the admissions committee, the faculty, and every single person who works at Darden is genuinely focused on us. They are dedicated to helping us achieve our goals and have been here to support and guide us from the very beginning. For me, the key is connecting with people and learning in an environment where I feel confident and supported, and Darden has made me feel at home since the very first day I set foot on campus.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Virginia Darden? Darden Worldwide Courses! I have always had a passion for traveling and getting to know other cultures. That’s why the opportunity to learn for a few weeks in countries like Iceland, Japan, Germany, and others truly excites me. The best part is that every full-time MBA student at Darden is granted a scholarship to cover the program fees, courtesy of The Batten Foundation.

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. We are all part of one big family. The willingness of everyone to offer help, regardless of the situation, is truly incredible. Both students and alumni genuinely care for one another.

During the Admitted Student Weekend, my husband joined me. He had also applied to Darden, and we were awaiting his decision letter. Every prospective student present heard our story and genuinely wished for Rodrigo’s acceptance as well. The support we experienced from the people we met that weekend surprised us, starting from day one. Even after returning home, we continued to receive messages from those who were cheering for him. When the news of his acceptance finally arrived, their excitement mirrored our own. In that moment, we knew that our journey at Darden would be filled with remarkable individuals like them.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was entrusted with the management of the Canned Tuna category at one of Peru’s largest Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies. This period witnessed a significant surge in canned food sales due to the customer preference for easily storable and hygienic food options. Amidst this scenario, I assumed the crucial responsibility of ensuring a steady food supply across the nation.

My role involved meticulous daily assessments of supply to our various warehouses and clients. I actively sought out opportunities to collaborate with nonprofit organizations engaged in feeding programs, aiming to offer them our products at more affordable prices. Simultaneously, I adapted to the challenges of the new normal, refining my leadership skills and guiding my team through this uncharted territory. Though the initial phase was demanding, I effectively communicated the revised objective to the teams within the CPG company.

The outcomes of our collective efforts were remarkable. Our supply capacity doubled, enabling us to address the increased demand, and we extended support to over 10 nonprofit organizations that helped around 100,000 individuals.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)? I aspire to transition into consulting in order to leverage my experience in strategy and my MBA to assist companies navigate challenges.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Virginia Darden’s MBA program? Here are three essential pieces of advice:

Initiate your application process early: We’ve all experienced the pressure of impending deadlines, and rushing can adversely affect the quality of your submission. Commence your preparation well in advance, affording yourself the time needed for thorough review and valuable feedback incorporation.

Garner first-hand insights about our community: Our students and alumni are enthusiastic about providing insights into why we opted for Darden. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us; we’re eager to help. We understand the journey you’re embarking upon!

Be confident and stay authentically true to yourself: Darden thrives on diversity and individuality. Every one of us has a remarkable background, contributing diverse perspectives to our dynamic environment—vital in the context of our case method approach to learning. Embrace your uniqueness!


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