Category Archives: First Year Experience

Darden Bucket List

As a second-year (SY) graduating in six weeks, a lot of us have been thinking lately about what’s missing from our Darden experiences. Charlottesville has a lot to offer, and while I’ve gotten to know the area well, there are a few things missing on my Darden bucket list. With a light course load (I overloaded in Q3), there is no better time than the present. My personal bucket list includes:
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Dog Days of February?

At business schools, the biggest events tend to be concentrated in fall and spring. At Darden, we still have a few months before Foxfield, Cold Calls in Flagler Courtyard, great golf weather, the nostalgia of graduation, etc. Most schools can tout similar types of activities. It begs the question: what do business school students do to stay busy in the “dog days” of February, with recruiting finished and graduation coming down the pike? As it turns out, quite a lot:
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My Favorite Electives

The first-year (FY) at Darden focuses on the core curriculum, like most other top business schools. It’s not until the last term of FY, term six, that students start the elective period. Elective offerings differ significantly by student, as one would expect: I’m trying to take multiple courses in economics and marketing, while also looking out for those “can’t-miss” courses across a variety of subjects. I won’t claim to have enrolled in the “best” electives to date: because of scheduling conflicts, bidding popularity, or different interests, I’ve missed out on several great classes like Developing New Products. I’ll also note that some of the classes I’m most looking forward to (including the Thomas Jefferson reading seminar) take place during the next two quarters. Without any more caveats, here are a few of my favorite electives at Darden to date:
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Reflecting on Second-Year Recruiting

It’s been too long since I last wrote. For most of the past two months, I’ve been surprisingly busy balancing recruiting and coursework, despite only interviewing with a few different firms. Within the past two weeks I finished up recruiting and find myself with infinitely more free time on my hand. Reflecting on second-year recruiting in consulting, a few key themes came to mind:

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Cannes Film Festival Experience

Before embarking on my summer internship, I recently spent a little over two weeks in Cannes, France at the Cannes Film Festival. Below you’ll find a number of details on the experience. I realize this post is extremely long: it was primarily created for family and friends. Becuase this is a public post, I’ve decided to delete a few of the funnier stories from the trip. While the Cannes Film Festival trip is different from typical Darden GBEs, 1.5 units of credit are available for participating in the trip and completing a final assignment. As detailed below, 10 Darden students participated in this program of approximately 125 students. If you have any questions about the trip after reading this, feel free to contact me.

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Busy Spring Slate

It’s been too long since I last updated this blog, so apologies there. As a first-year (FY), you hear early on that life gets a lot better in the spring, but to be honest, I didn’t ascribe much weight to this argument: I felt I already maintained a pretty healthy balance of recruiting, schoolwork, and fun during the first four terms. However, at this time I can definitively say that after returning from spring break, life is far more enjoyable and, at least personally, geared much more towards enjoying the social offerings of business school. A combination of (a) completion of summer recruiting for many, (b) an open slot each evening that was previously occupied by learning team meetings (FY have now moved on to electives), and (c) nice weather all play a role in freeing up FYs’ calendars. School-sponsored activities also ramp up in the spring (more below), but there are a variety of other factors that make spring in Charlottesville great. Below are just a few of my favorite social activities since returning from spring break six weeks ago:
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It’s Elective Time

As first-years complete term 4, we’re finishing up the last core curriculum classes with our section: in short order our schedules will be filled with electives. It’s going to be different adjusting to courses without the comfort of Section A. However, I’ll spend most of this post writing about the rationale and process of selecting electives.

On process, Darden students are able to choose electives through a bidding system, which I’m frankly a huge fan of. Each student is given 450 bid points and armed with statistics on last year’s required number of points to successfully bid into three classes (while three classes doesn’t sound like a lot, consider that you meet every day in the school week). From there, it’s up to you to figure out how you’re going to allocate your bid points, to hopefully come up with a schedule that works. Probably the funniest part of the process is hearing people whine about the bidding system after missing out a on a class or two: this is either due to (a) the student developing a poor bid strategy, or (b) the student wants to get into all of the most popular classes. Either way, the process works, and yes, I may be a bit biased as I got all three classes I bid into. For those students with unsuccessful bids, there is a second round of bidding, followed by drop / add period. In reality, there are only a few courses that are really tough to get into: with most, a bid of 1 of 450 points will get you into the class.

On rationale, selecting classes at business school doesn’t differ that much from my experience in college. That said, differences do exist. Please see below some main drivers of class selection, highlighted in no particular order:
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