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Sunday, February 13, 2005

Visit to Darden

I got up two hours after the alarm 'rang and died' in vain. I guess, I was tired after a long stroll around Independence Avenue in DC. But I was too excited about visting the Darden School, so I got up and asked the hotel's reception to call in a cab. In the interim, I talked to manager - a nice guy - of the hotel; he gave me pretty good information about the Charolettesville area. This town provides some good adventure sports facilities such as river rafting, ballooning etc. I think I will quite fit in here in this town - small, serene and hill-side. The manager told me that this town has a very low crime rate. Boy! seems like things have started to fit in the slots.

I reached the School around 10:30 in the morning; it is Sunday, so I didn't expect to meet many people there - and this is what a current student told me. I walked by the Gymnasiun hoping to meet somebody down there, but in vain. I talked to the beautiful ladies at the desk and headed towards the library. whoa! the library seemed like yearning to invite someone to visit. Nonetheless, I met a Law school student and talked to him for a few minutes. And then I had a walk around the library facility and I must say, it is impressive. Big Plasma TVs and a nice computer room.

Justin (the Law student) told me that I may find someone in the main hall - alongside the library. Yep! I found a couple to 2nd yr students in the hall, but they were discussing a case (preparing some presentations that they have to do on Wednesday). Thus I thought I will just look around the School where I may land up in next few months. The school's facility is pretty. Nice and Cozy. But impressive. I had nothing more to do, so I came back to those students and excused myself to ask some questions about what they were doing and about the school. They seemed busy, but were willing to answer the questions - all right, in a hurry.

One of them offered to walk with me to show me the classroom and bit more of the building. We passed through the hall where students and faculty have a first cofee. I like this concept. At the school, they first have a class session at 8am and first cofee at 9:30. Students can talk to the faculties about anything during the first cofee. It is the time when you can bring up your souls for days work. Just adjacent to that the School has put in Flags of all the countries representing students of the current batch. You can imagine what a person feels like when (s)he notices her/his country's flag in an another country. I feel that the School does feed emotions to make a close-knit community.

He showed me one of the classroom where they have case discussions. It may be the reason that I haven't seen classes here at the US schools that I came out impressed. It was a small classroom enough to sit 30 students and provides enough ground to have a one-on-one case discussion. He also showed me the sound proof rooms where students like to meet if they don't like to be distracted. It is quite an effort the School has put in to make great leaders of the future. You get whatever you want, you get best in class study facilities, you get great professors. All you need to do is to forward yourself to the guillotine and take the plunge.

Anyway, that guy was in a hurry, so I showed some restraint and bid him goodbye. Then I came the study room next to the main hall, a couple more students were getting ready to discuss the case. I just talked for few minutes and sat besides them to write this blog and to get a feel of what exactly students do in case discussion - nay! I didn't eavesdrop, I asked them for their comfort with me being sitting next to them. Now I have nothing more to do. Students told me that I can find more students late in the evening when they come to meet the group and to take prints for the next day's discussions. So I will take one more stroll around the place and try to kill some more time.

Tomorrow I have a class in the morning and school tour sometime later. I will know more about the culture when I meet some more students and attend some classes. Till then, I am sold to Darden. Lets hope that the AdCom finds something worth buying.


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