Life in the Fast Lane… in Charlottesville

I have lived and worked in some of the most fast-paced cities in the world from New York and Chicago to London and Mumbai but the life of a Darden student in C’ville is just as busy as a professional in one of those metropolises. So what exactly have we first-years been doing from 7am to midnight every day since we started school in August?

Cases / Exams

This Saturday, in addition to Halloween, we’re celebrating the completion of 100 cases. That’s right. It’s just October but we have already completed 100 cases and two sets of exams!

No wonder MBA Apply had this to say about Darden in it’s recent business school – car manufacturer analogy:

Darden is like Ford because it prides itself on being “built tough”. From the Mustang to the F-150 to the Crown Victorias, their bread and butter are cars that can withstand all kinds of grit, grime and abuse – much like how Darden students pride themselves on their ability to survive their workload…. Don’t mess with Darden, because they will grind you up, spit you out, and crush you with their boots of steel. Boo-yah!

Getting an Internship

Alongside learning new skills, switching or advancing our career is the reason we’re at Darden and a summer internship is critical to making this happen. This involves a lot of networking (banking, for example, requires hundreds of calls, trips to New York, etc.), preparation (case workshops for those pursuing consulting and general management are a must), attending conferences, and participating in case competitions and brand challenges to gain brownie points with prospective employers. I was fortunate to work with a great team and win Bank of America’s General Management case competition a few weeks ago. Juggling all the daily work and a competition was tough but extremely fulfilling when our recommendations to address a current challenge facing BofA was well received by a team of senior leaders.

Extracurricular Activities

While academics and recruiting is our top-priority, it shouldn’t be surprising that a bunch of type A personality b-school students want to do more. Second-years largely run the school’s clubs and organizations but there are a lot of opportunities for first-years to get involved.

Personally, I’m a member of the Student Admissions Committee, the first-year liaison for the Finance Club and an active member of Darden Capital Management for which I hope to be selected as a Portfolio Manager next year. This last position is particularly interesting because it gives a select group of ~20 students the chance to manage about $7 million of the school’s endowment for an entire year.


Reading what I’d written so far made me realize that this post has been all about work and while that does dominate our lives, Darden students have plenty of opportunities to let off steam. I’d need an entire post to describe everything we’ve done to enjoy our first fall in Charlottesville but here are some examples to whet your curiosity:

  • Trips to vineyards (and orchards)


  • Cruising along the Skyline Drive


  • Celebrating Darden’s Diversity at the International Food Festival


I could go on and on… But for now it’s on to Term 3, two new classes (Strategy and Operations) and much more.

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One Response to Life in the Fast Lane… in Charlottesville

  1. abhishekakj says:

    That reminds me, I am finally going on the much-awaited Skyline drive trip this Saturday. 😀

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