Accepted.com is continuing a blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Here’s a talk with Jeffrey Love, a student at UVA Darden who provides a window into student life in Charlottesville, his thoughts on Darden’s case study method of instruction, and advice on how to apply to Darden and the Consortium successfully. Thank you Jeff for sharing your thoughts with us!
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from? What and where did you study as an undergraduate and when did you graduate?
Jeff: I am from Huntsville, Alabama. I matriculated at Alabama A&M University, where I majored in accounting. I graduated summa cum laude in 2006. After obtaining my Bachelor’s, I attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to pursue the Masters of Accountancy. I graduated from UAB in August 2007 and after graduation, sat for the CPA Exam (which I passed).
Accepted: Why did you decide to attend UVA Darden? Which other programs were you considering and what tipped the scales to favor Darden?
Jeff: I was admitted to other top business schools, but I chose to attend Darden because Darden had a reputation for being one of the toughest business schools in the country and because I believe in the experiential learning that the case method provides. Darden has a rigorous first year curriculum and I knew that after graduating from Darden, I would be very prepared for whatever career I pursued. The other schools that I considered attending were HBS, Duke, and Booth, but I ultimately chose Darden because of its reputation of preparing students to become hardworking, principled leaders.
Accepted: What are some of your favorite things about living in Charlottesville?
Jeff: Charlottesville is a nice, small college town. I never had the college town experience so that I appealed to me about Charlottesville. Furthermore, I wanted to attend a college town that required students to connect with one another on social level as well as an academic level. In some of the other schools that are located in bigger cities, students do not interact with one another outside of the classroom because they have so many options of other things to do. Charlottesville forces you to interact with your classmates socially, which fosters long-term friendships.
Accepted: Darden is well-known for utilizing the case-study method of instruction. Is that something you had sought out specifically when choosing b-schools to apply to? Is it a learning method that you’re enjoying? What surprised you about the reality of this teaching method?
Jeff: As I mentioned earlier, the primary reason I decided to attend Darden was the case method. I knew that the case method would be an interesting and unique way to learn. However, I underestimated the full extent of the learning process. I have been pleasantly surprised by how intense the classroom setting is when you openly discuss and debate business issues with your peers. Additionally, the case method requires disciplined study habits because students must come to class fully prepared to discuss the cases. The case method always keeps the students captivated because the topics build on one another and each day you leave out of class feeling enriched because of what you have learned.
Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far?
Jeff: I have enjoyed each of my classes, but my favorite class has been economics. This class has really expanded my knowledge on macroeconomic events and has provided me with the fundamentals to assess the current state of the economy and start thinking about ways to improve the economy. I am still surprised at how much more comfortable I am when reading current news sources like the Wall Street Journal because of the increased fundamentals that we have covered in our economics class.
Accepted: Do you have an internship lined up for the summer? If so, what role did Darden play in helping you secure that position?
Jeff: This summer I will be interning at Wells Fargo Securities as a summer associate in investment banking. Darden has a great career development office and alumni base. Our career advisors and the Darden alumni were very instrumental in me obtaining my summer internship. The career advisors and Darden alumni held mock interviews and held review session to help students prepare for investment banking interviews.
Accepted: Do you have any advice for some of our applicants who will be applying to UVA Darden?
Jeff: Students interested in applying to Darden should start early working on essays and taking the GMAT. The Darden admissions department is looking for students who can demonstrate that they have a history of leadership and students that have a plan for their future. Students who qualify for the Consortium should strongly consider applying through the Consortium.
Accepted: What attracted you to the Consortium? Is the program living up to your expectations?
Jeff: I was initially attracted to the Consortium because of their mission to reduce the underrepresentation of minorities in both the top MBA programs and the ranks of management resonated with me. The Consortium also simplifies the application process by allowing students to apply for multiple business schools with one application. I was fortunate to receive the Consortium Scholarship to Darden, which has allowed me to focus on my classwork without worrying about how I would pay for school.
Accepted: Can you share some application tips for other students applying to business school through the Consortium?
Jeff: My advice to any student interested in applying to Darden through the Consortium is to apply to Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT). MLT is an organization that equips talented minorities with coaching throughout the business school application process, provides early exposure to admission officers, and allows fellows to reflect on their past and properly plan for their future through a detailed curriculum. Any candidate that becomes an MLT fellow before applying to the Consortium will be fully prepared for the application process.
Please visit our UVA Darden B-School Zone and Consortium Zone for more Darden- and Consortium-specific advice. For complete, soup-to-nuts guidance on the MBA admissions process, please purchase Linda Abraham’s new book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools – now available in paperback and Kindle editions!