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Real Humans of UVA Darden’s MBA Class of 2024

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Kate Grusky, UVA Darden MBA Class of 2024

Age: 27
Hometown: Harrison, NY
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Brown University, History and Latin American Studies
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 5 Years, Financial Services Industry – most recently working in manager selection at a Private Bank.

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
My three main reasons for attending business school were:

  1. Solid Academic Grounding: Business school provides the opportunity to round out a lot of the hard and soft skills that I think will help me succeed in my career.
  2. Opportunity to Network: I have seen the power of business school networks in creating opportunities, generating business, and forming meaningful friendships.
  3. Broaden my Perspective: Business school provides a unique lens into different industries and companies, as well as individuals from different countries and backgrounds. I have so much to learn in and out of the classroom that will help me grow as a person/professional.

Why did you choose UVA Darden? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was drawn to Darden for the strong academic program, as well as the warm and supportive community. The case method harnesses the experiences and perspectives of my classmates, and it is an engaging and hands-on way to learn. All the Darden students, faculty, and alumni I interacted with throughout my application process were not only smart and driven, but also incredibly kind and generous with their time and willingness to help others.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
In my academic experience studying history and my professional experience selecting investment managers, I was most interested in understanding people and what motivates and drives them. At Darden, I’ve been able to forge relationships and contribute to the classroom by asking questions and actively listening to my peers.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I have a huge sweet tooth and co-ran an Instagram account (Wolf of Wall Treat) that documented the different treats I sampled across NYC.

Post-MBA career interests:
I’m interested in selecting managers and allocating capital on behalf of an endowment or foundation.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
In my Leading Organizations class at Darden, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of seeking out loving critics. I would recommend finding people you trust who will give their honest feedback about application materials. I’m so grateful to my mentors, family, and friends who helped me enhance and refine my applications.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I wish I had carefully read the instructions for the at-home version of the GRE. My misunderstanding of the break policy resulted in a cancellation of my test and a lot of stress!

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
If I could, I would have skipped the waiting period after submitting applications. Appreciating the process that admissions offices go through and focusing on other activities/interests helped get me through.  

What is your initial impression of the Darden students/culture/community?
The Darden culture is rooted in collaboration. That can be seen in Darden students working through their cases together in learning teams and in the faculty and students cheering for their section (shout out Section A!) at Darden Cup events.

What is one thing you have learned about Darden that has surprised you?
I was surprised by the extent to which Darden professors want to get to know their students on a personal level. I’ve only been at Darden a few weeks, and I’ve already had some fantastic meals with my professors, including brunch with my section at our accounting professor’s home.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Getting enough sleep! The rigorous academics combined with what seems like unlimited events and activities makes balancing time a challenge.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m excited about exploring all the outdoor activities, like hiking and tubing, that Charlottesville has to offer.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.