The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » Real Humans of MBA Students » Real Humans of UVA Darden’s MBA Class of 2024 » Page 5

Real Humans of UVA Darden’s MBA Class of 2024

Image for Real Humans of UVA Darden’s MBA Class of 2024

Siddharth Parekh, UVA Darden MBA Class of 2024

Age: 29
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: NMIMS, Mechanical Engineering & Business
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 7 years, Manufacturing, Textiles, Travel

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
While I had worked across several industries in various roles, I felt ready to explore new ways of making an impact on organizations at scale. I wanted to learn the tools and strategic frameworks used by business leaders today – and learn how to be an inclusive future leader at the same time. Attending business school would provide me an opportunity to do that, as well as forge meaningful relationships with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Why did you choose UVA Darden? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I felt like Darden had an incredible blend of a supportive community, purpose-driven students, and academic rigor. As someone who learns by doing, I knew that the case method would be the best way for me to learn, but I learn so much every day from the unique perspectives of my classmates!

I also knew I wanted to be a part of an inclusive, close-knit community, and Darden has provided me with just that. As a bonus, Charlottesville, VA, is really beautiful, and I can’t wait to see the fall colors here!

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
I think my most valuable contribution to this class is my unique perspective on business. I worked in large, multinational organizations with C-suite executives, as well as in smaller companies, where I knew everyone by name. I am hoping to leverage this experience to develop and share a holistic view of business with my classmates, one which is both top-down and bottom-up.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I Love SCUBA diving! I picked up this adventure sport during one of my travels, and since then have fallen in love with the ocean. Spending time underwater is almost meditative to me. Seeing some of the ecological damage done to the ocean was one of the primary reasons I started focusing on sustainability projects in my previous role.

Post-MBA career interests:
Post-MBA, I plan to work in management consulting, building on my previous experiences either as a generalist or specializing in sustainability and retail.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Speak to current students. Connecting with new people brings me joy, and the fact that so many people from the Darden community welcomed me even before I was admitted felt so great! I highly recommend prospective students to reach out to current students at schools they are applying to – they are the ones who will give you candid anecdotes which will help you decide whether this is the right place for you to spend the next two years of your life.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Start early. If I had to do it all over again, I would have given myself more time to work on my applications and the standardized tests. Applying to business school can be a very stressful process, and the ability to enjoy some time off between working on applications and work can be very rewarding.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The wait! The period from when I submitted my application until I got admitted was excruciating! The only thing that helped me get through it was focusing on my work instead – but I still sneaked in a quick look at my admissions portal almost every day to see if anything had changed.

What is your initial impression of the Darden students/culture/community?
Darden students are smart, incredibly friendly people. Every day, fellow students, second-years, faculty, and staff will gather in the PepsiCo Forum for First Coffee – a tradition going back decades. This time is reserved simply for the school to come together and connect over a hot beverage.

What is one thing you have learned about Darden that has surprised you?
I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support and resources available for students’ every need. Special coaches and resources for international students, Career Coaches, advisors, administrative support – all the people who make up the Darden community are incredibly committed to the student’s success.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am anxious about making the most of everything that Darden has to offer. There is just so much going on – be it academics, social activities, or recruiting events. Finding the right balance can be challenging, and I’m hoping to find some time for myself along the way.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m excited about the Darden Cup! The Darden Cup is a year-long Harry Potter-esque competition between the five Darden sections and comprises a series of athletic and non-athletic events. Next up is Darden Cup Cricket – and being from India, I’m very excited about that! Go Birds! (Section B)

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the way business schools operate and recruit. One of the significant benefits was the ability to attend so many virtual admissions events (which the Darden Admissions Team does a fantastic job of putting up!) in a short period. Even halfway around the world, I could connect with so many members of the Darden community to make sure Darden would be the right fit for me.

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.