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Sunday, February 13, 2005

Charlottesville area and Monday at Darden

It is not very often that I get up early in the morning and get ready for something, but today was different. I got up early and ran out to check out of the hotel and rushed to Darden. It was raining and was 'Darden-Cold' - you can just imagine what I mean. Anyway, I reached the school and was all lined up for the whole day activity. I think their mail system blew off, so my host didn't get an e-mail that he needs to take me for the tour. Anyhow, Virginia - at the AdCom office - led me to the class, which was hosted by Prof. Bourgeois. It was entrepreneur'ship class - out of my area of expertise.

But it was interesting to see the class participation and varied inputs from students of varied backgrounds. That really create a lively environment, where you can critically analyse your idea and see what is best. I think that around 70% of the class participated actively - not a bad number for a class of 1:30 hrs. Or, probably it is the pushing factor for the grades. Whatever it is, you will get to learn alot from the discussion. But if you feel indimidated of discussing infront of 60 people, then Darden won't just click for your future.

In my case, I love discussing rather than mugging the whole book from some odd professor. I am sure I will fit snugly if get a chance to be a part of Darden. At 9:30 all the Prof. and students go for a first cofee where you can meet and discuss anything of your interest. This also provides prospective students a chance to meet some new people and get friendlier with them. Or, ask any question, for that matter.

It was pretty considerate of AdCom to offer me an interview - I was not yet invited. It was kinda impromptu, but I had to take the plunge. Haley at the AdCom office conducted the interview; it all went fine - I hope - but I think I got little nervous in the middle of it. I hope I was able to put in some good interesting points. I will just keep my fingers crossed and wait. Well! I need to keep the engines running till I get interview with Tepper. Till then there is no looking back. But I hope I get into Darden, it is just the right fit.

Anyway, I requested the AdCom to provide me one more class - of my area of interest - visit and she was able to provide me the Operations class. This Case was cool - something about deciding over the product marketing/manufacturing strategy in an automobile company (I didn't quite get the name). Yep! this is what you gonna do when you are sitting in a board room or banging over to resolve real business issues. After the class Kiran and Cathy took us (me and three other pros. students) for the tour and the lunch. All (or most) professors here have an open-door policy (right! one leadership quality), which encourages students to discuss anything about the case after regular session.

I got a chance to talk to Mr. Bourgeois about the case study methodology and how and why these are taught this way. He gave me good insight about how these cases are selected and what faculties expect from the discussions. Cases can come from faculty's research (on that company), company's willingness to share a particular decision/strategy with the business school students (I assume this again linked to school links to the company) or from external sorces i.e. business articles or other business schools. He also told me that professors don't delineate the expectations beforehand; professors bascically look for the constructive flow of the discussions and not the right or wrong answer. From him, I got quite good understanding of a case methodology from teacher's perspective.

You see how close-knit, emotionally strong, perfectly founded this school is. I am still holding a great impression of Darden, lets see if I am able to make and continue to hold it for next 2 yrs.


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