Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why I Chose Darden

Admitted students for the Class of 2015 are starting to arrive on grounds for Darden Days, our admitted students weekend.  It's so strange to think that it was only a year ago this week that I made the decision to come here.  I was trying to find my pictures from my visit to show you why it was so easy to chose Darden, but they're lost somewhere in facebook/my phone/my external hard drive.  Sorry!  Regardless, each year at Darden Days, the entire school (all current students and their partners, faculty, and staff) are invited out to King Family Vineyards to welcome all the admitted students with a really good southern meal and lots of flowing wine.  Last year, it was an idyllic late spring evening with clear blue skies, sunshine, and warm breezes.  We mingled over wine out on the vineyard's lawn as the sun set on the Blue Ridge Mountains behind us.  I mean seriously, it was impossible to say no to this place.

So for those admitted students that are still trying to make the decision, or to reinforce the decision that some have already made, let me tell you the advice that I followed to choose the best school for me:

1) Choose a school that will challenge you intellectually.  Coming into Darden, I had zero finance, accounting, marketing, or operations experience either in the classroom or in my job.  I knew that the core curriculum (which includes all those subjects) would really push me in areas I hadn't experienced before and that was both exciting and what I thought would be critical for my long-term career.

2) Choose a school that will keep you happy.  I know that I'm really affected by the aesthetics of my surroundings.  I know that I really like seeing people I know every day, and working in teams.  So the beauty of the Darden grounds and the strength of its community were key to my decision to come here.

3) Choose a school you want to build a long-term relationship with (and will make you proud to be associated with).  Darden's alumni network is really strong and very proud.  And on top of that, everyone I've met, from current students to alums, is always willing to help.  It's great to be a part of such a supportive network.

So that's what I thought about.  I also polled a bunch of current students, and this is why they chose Darden:
  • "People.  Every person I met made me feel like I was at home."
  • "Have you seen the place?"
  • "Case method, academically rigorous, inviting environment/people, smaller class size than some of the bigger schools. DPA [Darden Partners' Association] was a strong component. Also, the food options in Cville. I'm easily swayed by food."
  • "Darden's first name was Colgate, and I went to Colgate! It was fate."
  • "world class professors"
  • "I knew a really successful alum who started their own business."
  • "Plus, same colors (orange/blue) as our undergrad and the Denver Broncos. Made the transition easy, no need for new clothes."
  • "Dean Bruner's awesome information session in Bangalore!"
  • "We really appreciated how welcoming the Darden community is to partners and families."

Admitted students, have you already made the decision to come to Darden?  Current students and alums, why did you choose Darden?  Post a comment below or tweet #WhyIChoseDarden to @rollingship.

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