Wading in the New Oil: Student Reflections on the Global Business Experience to India

By Elizabeth Goldstein (Class of 2016)

Liz Goldstein and MAtt Frenier, both Executive MBA Class of 2016 students, on the India Global Business Experience in January.

Liz Goldstein and Matt Frenier, both Executive MBA Class of 2016 students, on the India Global Business Experience in January.

I was one of two Executive MBA students who joined approximately 20 residential MBA students on Darden’s Global Business Experience (“GBE”) to India which commenced on January 6, 2016.  The GBE, led by Professor Casey Lichtendahl, allowed students to visit with Indian companies on the cutting-edge of data analytics.

One of the speakers on the trip, Rahul Kansal, was from the English language newspaper, the Times of India, which is engaging its readers both with a print newspaper and on-line.  Kansal spoke about several of the campaigns the Times had done.  In 2014, it initiated a campaign called, “Lead India”.  The speaker shared a video  created to promote the campaign, which starts with a young boy with a cherubic face looking out a bus window to see why traffic is at a standstill.  When the boy leaves the bus, the viewer sees that he is dressed for school in a button-down shirt and khaki shorts with a matching backpack. The boy keeps walking until he sees that a tree has fallen and its trunk blocks the road.  It then begins to rain. While adults honk their horns and two government employees appear to sleep in their truck, the boy tries to move the trunk out of the way.  Some other kids quickly join him in the effort.  Despite the bad weather, adults leave their cars and auto rickshaws to help the kids with the tree.  When the group reaches a critical mass, they are able to push the tree trunk out of the way.  Traffic begins to move and the government employees wake-up.  The rain stops, the sun comes out, and the group that moved the tree begins to celebrate.  Most are dressed in Western clothes, but some are wearing more traditional clothing.  During the celebration, a Hindi song plays in the background with a line that repeats, “If you go, India goes.”

This advertisement can be seen as a good allegory for India’s future economic growth. If India is to succeed, the younger generation must be willing to lead a diverse group.  This is because one-quarter of India’s population are under 18 years old and 50% are under 35 years old.  India has over 22 official languages and a vast number of ethnic groups.

As we learned from a speaker from Vodofone, the government is often slow and dysfunctional.  The Vodofone speaker further explained, government efforts often consist of three steps forward and two steps back.  The video’s focus on a traffic jam is not surprising as India’s lack of infrastructure is often the constraint to further economic growth.  India’s roads are inadequate, electricity can be unreliable, and not all Indians have access to indoor plumbing.

Several of the data analytics companies that we met with as part of the GBE sought to turn these infrastructure challenges into opportunities with the use of data analytics.  As there is a plethora of traffic in Indian cities, two of the companies we visited, Flipkart and Amazon India, deliver goods directly to consumers.  Both Flipkart and Amazon manage their supply chain and establish the routes for deliveries through data analytics.

We also visited with Ola Cabs, a fierce competitor of Uber’s in India.  As the traffic in Delhi was becoming unmanageable and pollution a significant problem, the city has recently instituted, for a trial period, a rule where private vehicles are allowed to run on the streets on alternate days depending on whether their license plates end in even or odd numbers.  The head of Ola Cabs’ shuttle service explained to the Darden students that he saw the automobile restrictions as a boon to Ola’s shuttle business.  Ola uses analytics to develop the routes for its private bus service.  Ola also uses data science to provide dynamic, surge pricing for its taxi service.  One of the Ola speakers explained to students how Ola derives this algorithm from raw data.

One of the professors at the Indian Institute for Management Bangalore spoke to Darden students about working with a bank to use analytics to determine how to make credit decisions for businesses that have no credit rating, loan payment history, or substantial documentation to establish annual income and costs.

While we visited data science companies spanning many different industries, the data scientists who shared their basic methodology shared a similar approach.  Our speaker from EXL identified four steps in the process of using data to solve a business problem.  These were:

  1. Gather and Manage the Data
  2. Analyze and Monitor the Data
  3. Build a Predictive Model
  4. Incorporate the Predictive Model into Business Strategy.

With all the power that analytics can provide, our Amazon India speaker reminded us that not everything is predictable.  Thus, no matter how powerful your analytics tools are, they cannot be employed in every business situation.

I was interested to learn from our data science speaker at Flipkart, who was in charge of analytics, what separated the best data scientists from the mediocre ones.  He said that the best data scientists were the best listeners.  They carefully listened to what the internal client needed and crafted a solution to meet these specific needs.

UVA Rice Logo at EXL in Delhi.

U.Va. rice logo at EXL in Delhi.

Our first speaker at EXL, a data analytics company headquartered in New York City with a large office in Delhi, proclaimed that data is the new oil.  While India does not have the greatest supply of this new valuable commodity, I learned that they do have many of the top wildcatters, who know just where to search in unproven ground.

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Scholar Showcase: Sohrab Kalra

Kalra_Sohrab_May26th Sohrab Kalra, currently a second year residential MBA student at Darden, is an active, engaged and thoughtful member of the community, an example of the talent Darden is proud to attract. He grew up in Punjab, India and attended Thapar University where he received his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Engineering. Sohrab took the time to share some of his reflections about his experiences at Darden:

How did you hear about Darden and what motivated your decision to attend?

  • I did exhaustive research on MBA programs and different schools before applying.  I used multiple sources such as my personal network of friends and their friends, online resources, personal blogs of current students and alums and connected with alums via Linkedin to learn more about each school. At the same time, I introspected hard and listed down the skills and the experience I wanted to get through my MBA. Through this reflection, I realized I wanted to be in a place that offered an immersive experience and an environment that fostered development of leadership skills, such as decision making and structured problem solving. Darden, with its rigor and interactive experience of case method in the beautiful backdrop of Charlottesville, seemed the perfect place to fill the gaps and acquire the skills that I was missing. I was admitted to other top 10 schools too and faced lack of funds, but Darden offered the Batten Scholarship which made it possible to get my MBA here.

One of Darden’s strengths is the strong alumni and friends networks. Could you describe the ways in which you’ve connected with and benefited from the network as a student?

  • I think the biggest benefit I have had from the network is picking up a lot of good habits, as well as best practices in life from the diverse perspectives amongst my peers. Also, listening to all the alumni come in and share their professional and personal life experiences has helped me develop a good professional and personal ideology, which I think matters a lot in the longer term.

Could you share an “ah-hah” moment that you had while at Darden?

  • Ah, there have been so many it is hard to pick one. I, personally, am intuitive and use that to make decisions a lot of the time so I always thought that I needed to curb that instinct. During one of the ‘Unsolved Business Mysteries’ we had a talk on system 1 thinking (intuitive) and system 2 thinking (rational). I walked up to the professor at the end of the session and shared what I thought I needed to change about myself and he mentioned that research suggests that system 1 thinkers who learn to harvest system 2 thinking when needed tend to be most successful. This revelation was both reassuring and eye opening to me at the same time.

What are you goals for the future and how to you expect your Darden education will help you achieve them?

  • Before coming to Darden, I co-founded a new venture which was recently acquired. That process has been the most satisfying professional experience of my life, so entrepreneurship is where I see myself ultimately. Most recently, I have been working on developing a platform that brings more data-driven decisions to agriculture so fingers crossed it works out! Darden has been like a tough coach who identifies your true potential and pushes you to perform to the best. I was good at ideation and creative problem solving, but Darden pushed me to expand my horizon and helped round out my leadership skills by helping me to better understand decision making, intricacies of organizational behavior, teamwork experience and, most importantly, instilled in me a “work hard drive”to consistently deliver best results.
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Darden MBA, EMBA and GEMBA students study in Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi

For the first time, students from all three of Darden’s degree formats – the MBA, MBA for Executives and Global MBA for Executives (GEMBA) have spent the past week in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi as part of the India Global Business Experience (GBE) course and GEMBA global residency.

The GEMBA students are enjoying a rigorous schedule of courses in marketing, strategy and operations in Mumbai and Delhi led by Darden professors Raj Venkatesan, Scott Snell, Marc Modica, and Tim Laseter. Courses are punctuated by company visits and top-level guest speakers.   

The GBE, led by Darden professor Casey Lichtendahl, is developing a deeper understanding of the Indian business context through a focus on data science and technology in Bangalore and Delhi, visiting leading firms, meeting with scholars and fellow MBA students at IIM-Bangalore and hearing from leading executives.  

All of the students have had opportunities to explore and develop a deeper understanding of India’s culture and history and how this shapes the business environment.

Here is a glimpse into the GBE and GEMBA activities in India thus far:

Darden's GEMBA and GBE students visit the Red Fort together in New Delhi.

Darden’s GEMBA and GBE students visit the Red Fort together in New Delhi.

GEMBA students and faculty stand outside of Lijjat Papad where they learned about XXXX.

GEMBA students and faculty stand outside of Lijjat Papad where they learned about this all women run cooperative. The organization’s main objective is empowerment of women by providing employment opportunities.

Students explore XXXX

GEMBA students Vishal Rau, Joe Reagan, Prashant Lamba and David Maruna explore production of chapati in Lijjat Papad.

Darden faculty stand with XXXX after they presented to the GEMBA students.

Darden faculty stand with Smita Mukherjee (MBA ’04), Anirban Mukherjee, Jairam Sridharan and Paresh Rajde after they presented to the GEMBA students about banking inclusion in India.

GEMBA students in front of the Gateway to India in Mumbai

GEMBA students in front of the Gateway to India in Mumbai

VN Dalmia (MBA ' ) hosted a reception at his home for the visiting GEMBA and GBE students, as well as members of UVA's community in India. This photo shows Akash Premsen (MBA '08), Ro King (MBA '91) and VN Dalmia (MBA '84) at the reception.

VN Dalmia (MBA ’84) hosted a reception at Dalmia House for the visiting GEMBA and GBE students and faculty, Darden alumni, as well as members of UVA’s community in India. This photo shows Akash Premsen (MBA ’08), Ro King (MBA ’91) and VN Dalmia (MBA ’84) at the reception.

GBE students visit Flipkart.

GBE students visit Flipkart.

Darden's GBE students meet with scholars and fellow MBA students at IIM-Bangalore.

Darden’s GBE students meet with scholars and fellow MBA students at IIM-Bangalore.

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Diwali at Darden

The following piece, written by Anupam Singh (Class of 2016) and photographed by Greg Lin (Class of 2016), showcases the Diwali celebration at Darden which took place on November 18.  The Diwali celebration at Darden was organized by Shweta Balasubramanian, Greg Lin, Praneeta Vir, Saurabh Rajwade, and Anupam Singh, all members of Darden’s Class of 2016.

By Anupam Singh

image2 As one of the Vice Presidents of Events at Darden South Asian Society (DSAS), my colleagues and I shared the responsibility for hosting the Diwali Cold Call. Judging from last year’s event, we reckoned that about 250-300 people would attend the event, and that it would be a big affair at Darden. I was a little intimidated by that, since I had not organized anything on this scale before.

However, before I get into what happened at the event itself, I will take a moment to explain the cultural significance of Diwali to Indians and to many other communities and countries in South Asia. Diwali is the festival of lights – it signifies the triumph of good over evil and celebrates the day, when Lord Ram, an incarnation of the supreme – Lord Vishnu returned to the seat of his capital, Ayodhya, after spending 14 years in exile. In those years, he waged war against the demon king of Sri Lanka, Ravana, and thus ended his murderous reign. Diwali is the perhaps the only festival, which is celebrated across the whole of India with equal gusto. I remember my childhood years, that just the anticipation of Diwali would cause enormous excitement at school and home, and that the sight of the earthen lamps dotting the entire city would be a sight to behold.

Back to Darden – there was lots to do – we ordered food, decorations and ran around trying to get everything ready on time. The event was to start at 5 pm, but all of the DSAS leadership was there by 4 to get us up and running. I spoke for a minute explaining the importance of the event to the Darden community and then we opened up the food section – we had a wide assortment of delicious food – lamb, chicken, daal makhni, shahi paneer all cooked in Indian style, basmati rice, naan, gulab jamun, samosas. The folks present loved it. Then as we started the music on the loudspeakers, some of the first year students broke into a flash mob dance, and soon others joined in. A lot of people walked up to us and admired the lighting, décor, the food and especially the Diwali Rangoli. People continued to pour in, as classes ended at 6. We continued the event till 7 and then started to wrap things up. As we still had a portion of the food left, we decided to give it back to the restaurant in the spirit of Diwali, and they would distribute it to the homeless.

Diwali at Darden was a wonderful affair and everybody present enjoyed it – it brought people of various communities and countries together and imbibed the spirit of Darden. I am confident that Diwali in the coming years will be an even bigger event and will draw even bigger crowds. To end it, I would like to say that Diwali was and is not just an occasion for celebration for us but also a time for self-reflection to conquer our inner demons, doubts, fears and disbeliefs and embrace courage, humanity and the universal spirit of love.



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Ph.D. Student Discusses How Prior Experiences with Diversity Led to Current Research

By Jessica Hirsch

Inhyun Han Darden Ph.D. student Inhyun Han hopes to utilize her past study of socio-political issues and current research to help inform the general public and promote a more open-minded, inclusive climate in organizations.

Han was born in Seoul, South Korea, and she spent most of her life in the surrounding areas. Ten years ago, Han came to the U.S. as part of a working holiday exchange program, and she worked in a restaurant in Panama City, Florida.

“It was only a six month experience, but it motivated me to move to the United States,” Han said. “When I lived in Florida, I had a limited scope of experience. Charlottesville is a more pro-diversity town where people like to share stories about their exposure to other cultures.”

Han is currently a doctoral candidate in the Leadership & Organizational Behavior area under Associate Professor of Business Administration Melissa Thomas-Hunt.

“I’m working on how to peacefully integrate diverse people in the organizational context.” Han said.  “I like that Darden has a high level of diversity initiatives and the climate is very open to discussing sensitive issues.”

Han’s area of research was largely inspired by her personal experiences while working at the Korea Labor Institute, a government research association located in Korea.

“The power of experience is really strong,” Han said. “When I lived in Korea, I experienced a very homogenous culture, and I realized how difficult it can be to make big changes in society. I personally saw that organizations had a more positive, productive outcomes when they tried to accept different people’s stories and opinions. People with different viewpoints can have a more accurate perspective on the problem at hand, and sometimes the majority stream of thinking is not right.”

In particular, Han was drawn to study diversity in organizations from her research on the Korean workforce and labor laws. Specifically, Han’s interests focus on minorities within organizations, specifically how minorities can actively engage in networking and speak up. One of the biggest challenges she finds is when uncertainty acts as a threat to opportunity.

“Korea still has a very male-dominated network and there is a high discrepancy in the labor rate between women and men.” Han said. “There has to be a collaborative effort between policy, management, and social science to influence people’s mindsets on critical issues, but it’s hard to change social expectations about gender.”

In addition, Han’s educational background exposed her to a variety of perspectives and social issues which led her to pursue the field of management in her graduate studies. In her undergraduate career, Han received a B.A. in English Literature and minored in Political Science and Diplomacy at Hanyang University, a private research university in Seoul, Korea.

“My education showed me how socio-political mechanisms are important to enhance the quality of life for everyone,” Han said. “In my English classes, we often read about human emotions in English poetry and from authors like Shakespeare. My focus was always understanding human nature and the underlying behavioral cycles. Management seemed like an intersection of both interests so I could study and interpret employee reactions in an organizational context.”

After completion of the Darden Ph.D. program, Han hopes to share her passion both with students and a more general audience.

“It’s important to find a rewarding reason to pursue your job,” Han said. “When I get my degree, I can help people understand the descriptive reality. I plan to research and teach, but where I work will depend on what is best for my career and the well-being of my family.”

Although Han is busy with the Ph.D. program and spending time with her family, she also enjoys reading home improvement magazines and watching cooking shows.

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Questions and Answers with President Sullivan on Globalization from UVA Today

The piece below, written by Jane Kelly, Media Relations Associate, University Communications/Vice Provost for Global Affairs, was published on November 17 in UVA Today and titled “Why Globalize Education? Sullivan Says the Benefits Are Far Reaching”.  Please note the mention of Jerry Peng (MBA ’03) as an example of how globalization contributes to Virginia.

By Jane Kelly

University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan accepted a prestigious award for the University’s efforts to globalize its curriculum and research at a ceremony Tuesday in Washington.

UVA received the 2015 Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization, by the Association of International Educators.

The Simon Award is given annually to universities that demonstrate “significant, well-planned, well-executed and well-documented progress toward comprehensive internationalization – especially those using innovative and creative approaches.” UVA was one of five schools to earn the honor.

Internationalization is a key component of the Cornerstone Plan, UVA’s blueprint for the future. Sullivan recently took the time to answer a few questions about the University’s efforts and their impact.

Q. Why is it important that UVA internationalize its efforts?

A. We live in a global century. To have a premier higher education system in the United States and around the world, colleges and universities must be globally engaged with one other and with external partners through partnerships, student-exchange agreements, research and more. We are accomplishing this through our Cornerstone Plan; the plan’s priorities include internationalization across Grounds and engagement with global issues and with international partners.

Q. To your mind, what are the key ways to accomplish internationalization?

A. We are moving forward on several fronts. Research is a critical area, and in recent years we unveiled a grant opportunity, called “Global Programs of Distinction,” to support research aimed at solving the world’s biggest challenges.

The first recipients of the grant are conducting a multi-national climate change mapping and modeling project that will help determine the best options to balance Earth’s allocation of forest, food and biofuel land parcels. This work highlights UVA’s research excellence and its global impact.

Our “Global on Grounds” committee has been doing a broad examination of how an international perspective informs University programs and activities, beginning with tours of Grounds for prospective students all the way through to career services and the alumni experience. It draws input from faculty, students and staff from around UVA to make our University a truly global entity.

Q. How do international students and faculty contribute to this effort?

A. In 2014-15, the UVA community included students, faculty and scholars from 148 countries. We have more than 2,400 international students. They bring the world to UVA, and they enrich our classroom discussions with their diverse cultural knowledge and perspectives. Some professors and schools even form study groups with the specific aim of leveraging the broad geographic and cultural representation among their students.

UVA is also home to 166 student organizations with a global dimension. All these factors make UVA a globally oriented community.

Q. As a research university, UVA has connections to scholars around the world. How has this work impacted UVA and the globe?

A. Those relationships are delivering great results that give UVA research a global dimension. For example, UVA faculty members and their partners are working in India to make water cleaner, and they are working with Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion to make energy production cleaner and more efficient. We and our partners in South Africa and Brazil are striving to improve global health.

Those are just a few examples that have far-reaching results.

Q. Our alumni are increasingly working in points around the world. What kinds of opportunities does this global network provide?

A. Our alumni are an incredible resource. Just this past summer, Neal Rudge, a 1986 graduate of the College, provided an internship for fourth-year media studies major Cameron Harris at a consumer products licensing business in Bangkok, as part of our new Global Internship program. We are grateful to Neal and all of the alumni who give back to UVA in important ways and help us grow our global network. This engagement also sets a great example for our new graduates who are entering the global economy.

Q. How is UVA’s globalization effort contributing to Virginia?

A. In the summer of 2014, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the largest Chinese economic development investment and job creation project in the history of the commonwealth. The Shandong Tranlin Paper Company, a world-leading pulp and paper company, is basing the project in Chesterfield County near Richmond. The $2 billion deal is creating 2,000 new jobs for Virginians.

The chair and CEO of Tranlin is Jerry Peng, a 2003 graduate of the Darden School of Business. He has remained engaged with UVA and Virginia ever since. This new project could bring farmers more than $50 million each year, and fuel Virginia’s economy.

Q. Why is having a global education so important for students?

A. In today’s global economy, nations and economies are connected and mutually dependent; think of the effect of the Greek debt crisis on the broader global economy. We do our students a disservice if we fail to prepare them for this 21st-century reality.

This means we must infuse global perspectives in our curriculum, as with our new global studies major, and in extra-curricular activities such as the new Global Internships Program. In a global university, global perspectives are integrated into every facet of core-mission activities of teaching, research and service.

The Simon Award is an important acknowledgement of our efforts to make UVA truly global. This work is continuing, and I’m grateful to our faculty, staff and students who are contributing to the effort.

– See more at: https://news.virginia.edu/content/uva-darden-graduate-s-chinese-company-invests-2-billion-and-will-create-2000-jobs-virginia

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Darden Ph.D. Student Shares Past Experiences and Appreciation of Teaching

By Jessica Hirsch Moreno

Darden Ph.D. student Alvaro Moreno (Class of 2018) plans to incorporate his diverse professional background and research into his future teaching endeavors.

Originally from Cali, Colombia, Moreno has extensive professional experience in a variety of industries, including education, journalism, and policy research.  In his prior roles, Moreno taught economics at INALDE Business School at Universidad de la Sabana, and at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. He also served as an Economics Editor for the financial magazine Dinero, covering economics, finance, education and the environment, and performed research for various think tanks, both in Colombia and the United States.

“These experiences have already had an effect on my life,” Moreno said. “When I worked for Dinero, I realized that I really enjoyed writing and publishing. I like to send my ideas out, see how they are received, and get feedback.”

Moreno researches the relationship between entrepreneurship and income inequality in the Entrepreneurship program of study under E. Thayer Bigelow Associate Professor of Business Administration Gregory B. Fairchild. Moreno focuses on the causal factors involved and tries to find the net effect of entrepreneurship on income inequality.

“My concentration in business narrowed to entrepreneurship,” Moreno said.  “The professors here give you the freedom to discover your interests and figure out what you want to pursue. Darden appealed to me because not many PhD programs have an emphasis on entrepreneurship, and also because I really like the case method.”

After completion of the Ph.D. program, Moreno plans to be a professor and teach MBA students business concepts.

“I appreciate how much you can learn being a professor,” Moreno said. “I enjoy the opportunity to participate in rich discussions with peers.”

Prior to coming to Darden, Moreno visited the U.S. on many occasions, and he lived in Miami while he was a fellow for the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami.

“Charlottesville is closer to the idea I had about living in the U.S., but I wasn’t expecting it to be such a vibrant city,” Moreno said. “When I lived in Miami, I was missing the American culture and setting.”

Outside of the Ph.D. program, Moreno spends time with his family and enjoys staying active by bicycling, running, and hiking in the Shenandoah.
“I was raised in a medium size city, and I love nature,” Moreno said. “If I have any time in the morning, I will bike or run whenever possible. Here you can find beautiful, safe parks less than 30 minutes away.”

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IAE’s Global Immersion Program Visits Darden and Hears from iLab Company

By Jessica Hirsch

This October, the Darden School welcomed a group of 19 students, one faculty member and one administrator from IAE, the Management and Business School of Universidad Austral located in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a week-long Global Immersion Program (GIP) taking place both in Charlottesville, Virginia and Washington, D.C.  After the Darden component of the program, the GIP students also visited companies in New York and spent two days taking classes at Harvard Business School.

While at Darden, students received instruction from several professors including Jon Megibow, Marc Modica, Rob Cross, Alan Beckenstein, and Lili Powell. In addition to case- based class sessions, students participated in visits to key sites such as the Darden Innovation Laboratory or iLab, as well as the Cato Institute and the U.S. Capitol building in D.C.

Although IAE is located in Argentina, visiting students hailed from four South American countries: Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay and Paraguay.

“The GIP was excellently structured, and it added value to our MBA Program because it opened our minds to new concepts and goals,” INALDE student and GIP program participant Gabriel Diaz said. “The professors were terrific in teaching new forms of negotiation and showing us which aspects to consider in different business models. This was the best international week I’ve experienced.”

As part of the program’s network focus, Philippe Sommer, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the iLab at UVA, explained the role of the Batten Institute and how the iLab Incubator provides incoming entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills necessary to propel their ideas forward.

In conjunction with his explanation, Sarah Rumbaugh (MBA ‘15), co-founder of RelishMBA,  gave a presentation about  her company and how the iLab has provided her assistance in developing her startup with fellow co-founder Zachary Mayo (MBA ‘15).

RelishMBA is an online recruiting platform for MBA students, corporate recruiters, and career services offices at top business schools. The organization utilizes company recruiting branding pages, access to student profiles through filtered search, data-driven matching, and relationship management tools to help students and recruiters streamline their recruiting and find more opportunities.

Rumbaugh detailed her own process of starting a business and gave a brief presentation pitch of her product, ending with a session for questions and discussion with students in the GIP program.

“It was a breath of fresh air to discuss entrepreneurship and its relation to business school with the international perspective the IAE GIP students brought to the dialogue,” Rumbaugh said. “The GIP program enabled a discussion on entrepreneurship’s impact on business school in an international context. The students’ insights were incredibly valuable to my company, RelishMBA, as we position for international growth.”

Through the diverse array of experiences, students learned a great deal of information on a variety of concepts in business, particularly networking.

“The topics I’ve studied in this program will be important for my future growth,” student Melissa Pantoja said.  “I am taking extraordinary tools back to Columbia which I’m sure will be very useful.”

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Darden Ph.D. Student Discusses His Move from Industry to Academia

By Jessica Hirsch

Sergiy-Demytriyev_small Current doctoral student Sergiy Dmytriyev (Class of 2018) hopes to incorporate his international work experience in his future scholarship to make an important impact in academia.

Prior to joining the Ph.D. program at Darden, Sergiy worked for several large U.S. based companies in Europe. He started his career at Procter & Gamble in Ukraine, where he conducted research to better understand consumer behavior. Afterwards, he worked as a management consultant for Bain & Company in Russia, where he completed over 20 projects on strategy development, cost cutting, and organization design. Then, he took a position as Business Development Lead for Eastern Europe at Monsanto, a leading company in biotechnology and agriculture headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

“In the business world, jobs are limited by certain areas of responsibilities,” Sergiy said. “I decided to join academia because in the academic world, scholars can devote their research efforts to any area they are passionate about. I realized that I needed more time to think and reflect on the things which I became interested in, and I believed that academia could provide me with the opportunity.”

Originally from Ukraine, Sergiy has obtained a diverse, international education spanning several countries. Sergiy obtained an MBA from IESE Business School located in Barcelona, Spain, a top-three MBA program in Europe, and a Master of Arts in Economics from Michigan State University as a recipient of the U.S. Department of State, Muskie Graduate Fellowship program.  During his undergraduate study at the Vinnytsia National Technical University in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, he also completed a student exchange program at Lund University in Lund, Sweden.

“After the collapse of the USSR, the U.S. supported the exchange of students from former Soviet Republics to American institutions of higher education,” Sergiy said.  “There was a rigorous application process, and the U.S. Department of State placed me at Michigan State University. I met my wife, who also studied under the same program, during a summer internship in Washington D.C.”

Sergiy is currently researching Stakeholder Theory in the Business Ethics program of study under Professor R. Edward Freeman, Darden’s Elis and Signe Olsson Professor of Business Administration.

“When I decided to move into academia, I chose Darden because it is one of the main –if not the biggest– centers of business ethics worldwide,” Sergiy said. “My research focuses on exploring what success really means in business and the idea of business as it goes beyond the narrowly economic view of the firm. Companies are a part of society, and they need to create value for all of their stakeholders.”

In his own writing, Sergiy hopes to incorporate diverse perspectives about both the economy and society as a whole. He plans to pursue these ideas further under Professor Freeman’s guidance and hopes to share them with a broader community in the future.

“I think of myself as a scholar-in-training,” Sergiy said. “I’m amazed at the opportunities that students and professors have every day to learn and discuss new ideas and concepts. I greatly value Darden’s close-knit community and the ability to stay on top of contemporary themes in academia.”

Outside of the doctoral program, Sergiy enjoys spending time with his family, who also live here in Charlottesville.

“My family is a big part of my life,” Sergiy said. “When I’m not working on the Ph.D. program, I am spending time with my wife and three children. Charlottesville is a great place to raise a family.”

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Darden Student Returns from Summer Internship with the Boston Consulting Group in SE Asia

By Jessica Hirsch

This past summer, Vivek Mehta (Class of 2016) interned with the Boston Consulting Group out of their Singapore office. His main client was based in Indonesia, so Mehta spent a large portion of his internship traveling and working in Jakarta.

“I love the whole vibe of Southeast Asia,” Mehta said. “The countries are close geographically, but the culture is very diverse. As soon as you enter a new country, it’s a different place with new practices, food, and experiences.”

Vivek-Mehta Mehta had lived in Singapore prior to studying at Darden, but he had never worked in Indonesia.

“I really learned to be aware of cultural differences while working with various kinds of people,” Mehta said. “I was in Indonesia during Ramadan this summer. Although I had some experience with Muslim culture from living in India, this experience allowed me to learn a great deal about certain customs.”

His client’s business dealt with various aspects of the paper production industry. As part of his project, Mehta considered the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of each function of the company. Although Mehta did most of his work from the company’s main headquarters in Jakarta, he also enjoyed the opportunity to talk to employees at one of the client’s paper mill facilities.

“Working in Jakarta, I realized the opportunity for growth in the region,” Mehta said. “This experience opened my mind to the scope of international business in Asia and how certain factors apply specifically to developing markets. I had to understand the background of my client to get to the root cause of issues to consider which factors impact productivity.”

Mehta’s team in Indonesia was mainly comprised of locals who were familiar with the language and culture, but the Singapore office had staff from many countries. In both locations, Mehta enjoyed the chance to interact with people from various nationalities and backgrounds.

“Southeast Asia is a growing hub for business, and it’s full of young people making their mark,” Mehta said. “I often met with colleagues and friends for lunch or dinner outside of work to build connections and explore the cities.”

Mehta advised that students thinking of interning abroad should research the culture and conditions of the cities they will be visiting to understand the diversity of different places and industries.

“I always looked forward to consulting,” Mehta said. “My expectations for this internship were that I would have the opportunity meet a variety of people, work with interesting challenges, and have fun. BCG was a dream company for me, and my team was very helpful. It was a great experience overall.”

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