Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Start of a New Term

The beginning of each term at Darden feels like the start of a new school year – our short-term memory loss has kicked in full force, and the life we led week ago filled to the brim with cases, learning team, and no sleep seems like a distant memory.  It is the calm before the next storm and in a matter of hours, the first day of Term 3 classes will quickly wake us up from our dream world.

But, in the spirit of a new term, I have decided to make a few resolutions.  In addition, I polled a few of my section-mates, and am posting their resolutions as well.  Hopefully we will revisit these throughout the term, and I can give you all an update in December!

My resolutions:
1)      To spend time each day cultivating my inner introvert – business school generally, and Darden specifically, are dream environments for extroverts.  From the walk to school in the morning, to the walk home at night, and everything in the middle, we are surrounded by people and an abundance of external stimuli.  When we aren’t working, we are out socializing.  So, to maintain a balance, my first resolution for this next term is to make time every day to be alone with my own thoughts.
2)      To eat three meals a week not “on the go” – the relationship of any business school student and food is a fragile one.  Some days, we are tempted by the abundance of free food throughout the halls and eat enough for a family of four.  Other days, meals are the last thing on our minds and one snickers bar sustains us for the day.  No matter the day, the one thing between the two sets of eating habits is that meals are always on the go, in front of the computer, or multi-tasked with 17 other things.  So, to mitigate this, I resolve to eat three (non-weekend meals) not “on the go.”
3)      To do more yoga – enough said J
4)      Get to school 20 minutes early in the morning - and prep for the day!

Resolutions from some of the ladies in Section C:
·         My resolution is to maintain a balance of sleep, running/yoga/some form of regular exercise, and healthy eating amidst the craziness of this term
·         My resolution: I will find time to hit the gym at least 3 times a week, and to eat no more than 3 frozen dinners (Lean Cuisines, Smart Ones, etc.) a week! you may have guessed…the 3 is for Term 3!!
·         My resolutions: Run twice / week;  Cook dinner for myself twice / week
·         My resolutions: Get at least 1 extra case for the week done before the weekend is over; eat less of the free junk food; swim at least twice a week.
·         My resolution: to run more, and to run a half marathon in the spring!
·         My resolution: to get back on the workout train and shoot for 3 days a week!  Nothing intense but I think it will make me a happier person!
·         My resolutions: attend more dance parties, cook more, and make time for other "stuff"

Thanks to all of my contributors!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Yes, we know you are busy..."

Before I left my last organization, the CEO of the company told me to make sure I took some time to rest before starting school because, "once you get to business school, and from then onwards, your life speeds up."   After being an active undergrad, spending two years in investment banking, and then running an under-resourced program at a non-profit for a few years, I casually shrugged off his advice.  I knew what busy was.

And now I am at Darden.  Between classes, homework, extracurricular activities, recruiting, and,, my old definition of "busy" is my new description of a light day.

SO - what is all that "busy" filled with?  Well, let me highlight my three favorite things in the last few weeks:

1) Factory Tours for our Operations Class - the first year class was split up last Wednesday to visit local manufacturing plants, call centers, and distribution facilities across Central Virginia.  I could write pages about my experience, having never been to a distribution center before, but I will summarize to say, "holy moly!" - there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to get a piece of fruit to a supermarket or a chair from an online catalog to your doorstep!

2) In Marketing, we recently did a case on Google and search engine optimization.  The next day, we didn't have a case (a rare, and cherished event), but were cryptically told to go to a larger classroom for a guest speaker.  The speaker ended up being the Managing Director of Sales at Google.  Over the class period we walked through one of the most fascinating presentations I have seen - talking about Google's approach to marketing.  I was at the edge of my chair for the entire class, definitely smiled with my eyes wide for most of the presentation...and I may have shed a tear or two watching a Google "make-your-own" commercial...

3) Class with the Dean!  This year, Darden piloted a new seminar series for first years on "Business & Success."  There are three pilot seminars with 15 students a piece and two professors in each class.  When I got to class, I learned one of the teachers is Bob Bruner, the Dean of the Darden School.  Unbelievable.  Our first class was on "greed" - we watched the documentary on Enron, The Smartest Guys in The Room, and then discussed our reactions and views on business, success, greed, power, and money.  At one point in the discussion, one of my classmates started a sentence with, "I would really have liked to ask these guys..."  After a pause in the classroom, Dean Bruner stepped in and said, "well, I sat down with a number of the Enron executives after the scandal and their reaction to..."  Our jaws of course dropped., while most of the "busy" is chaotic, and at times painful (I really thought resume draft #18 was a winner...), there are hidden moments every day that make me realize that this is the coolest experience ever.

For your amusement, a screenshot of my calendar for last week:

Monday, October 11, 2010


Hi All - welcome to my blog!  I am officially a Darden Student Blogger!

Prospective Students - as you begin or continue your business school process, I hope this blog is a helpful and genuine view of Darden and my life at business school.  If you ever have thoughts or questions, please feel free to email! 

Friends / Family - since many of you have noticed my departure from your lives over the last few weeks and months, I hope this blog is a good way for you to get a glimpse of my Darden life!  Thank you all for reading :)

Darden Blogger Profile:

Payal is a member of the Darden MBA Class of 2012 — she is excited to be back in Charlottesville as a Double Hoo! Born in New Jersey and raised in Ohio, Payal has called the D.C. suburbs home since 10th grade. After graduating from UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, Payal moved to New York City to work as an investment banking analyst at Lehman Brothers. She left Lehman in the summer of 2008 and joined the Strategic Initiatives Group of non-profit standout TechnoServe, Inc. After the two most fun and transformative years of her life — filled with working her tail off, traveling around Africa, and most notably, hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro — Payal is excited to be grounded back in Charlottesville! 

So far, her favorite things about Darden are her incredible learning team, amazing section (yeah, Section C!) and fantastic new friends. When she is not consumed by the “Darden bubble,” Payal enjoys going to Bikram Yoga, exploring the weekly Charlottesville Farmer’s Market, eating at old favorite restaurants and hoping for the day she will have time to play a round of golf at Birdwood. Wahoowa!