This afternoon I was reminded of one of my favorite things about Darden – the connections we make and access we have to professors. After a busy first week back from winter break, four of my section mates and I had lunch with our GEM (aka economics) professor at a local favorite, Peter Chang’s. This is his first term teaching our section and he wanted to meet with a group of volunteers to get a sense of who we are as a section and to get some feedback on how things have moved along so far — his treat! Now, if you know me well, you’re probably thinking I was just psyched about the opportunity to get two of the things I most enjoy – free stuff and lunch. But, it was great to have the opportunity to get to know him and learn about his professional experiences. He is pretty amazing!
The great thing is that this is a normal part of the Darden experience. As students, we constantly have the chance to engage with our professors. This year, for example, all of my professors have taken time to have lunch with students in my section. This is in addition to the many hours they have spent providing support during office hours. And, at a recent school-wide fundraising auction, the most coveted, highest selling items were dinner events at various professors’ homes with their families. (One of my favorites was an evening of Monopoly with Dean Bruner – what an awesome part of a business education that would’ve been!) In the coming weeks, I look forward to having lunch with some of Darden’s brightest minds through the “This Professor Is A Big Deal” lunch series sponsored by the Hispanic American Network at Darden (HAND). And, I can’t talk about the strength of faculty-student relationships without recalling my visit to the home of Associate Dean Peter Rodriguez. I had the opportunity to visit his home during our orientation week, when professors and Deans host receptions in their homes to welcome the incoming class to the Darden community. I was able to visit Peter’s home again a couple months later – this time, with my husband – when he hosted a second reception for a number of students. (Incidentally, Peter always takes the time to check in and see how my time here is going.)
As an applicant researching business schools, I quickly learned that Darden’s faculty consistently makes the top of the b-school rankings. As a student I have learned that the faculty’s stellar reputation is warranted not just for what they do in the classroom, but for being an integral part of the community experience.