An interview with Ruchir Ghildiyal, an executive format student at Darden’s Charlottesville location.
Ruchir Ghildiyal, MBA for Executives 2018
What is the Sounding Board? What is the purpose of this informal group?
The Sounding Board is a platform that encourages students to voice ideas, opinions, and thoughts they have on a problem they think can be solved. This group is a safe place to discuss such ideas that have the potential to be something worthwhile.
What prompted you to start this group?
Early in the program, we had a Professional Advancement Course with Connie Dunlop, and I observed that more than half of the class expressed an interest in entrepreneurship. Of course, we were all at different points in acting upon this interest, but I thought if we could create a platform for discussion, it might help at least a few of us move forward with our ideas. And The Sounding Board was born.
Is this resource available to students in Charlottesville and Rosslyn?
The Sounding Board started in Charlottesville, but it will be launched in Rosslyn during our next residency there. We are also looking at options to make it available virtually so that it is not limited by location.
How do you think Darden’s executive formats prepare students to launch their own businesses?
The availability of bright and experienced minds is a requirement for any idea to flourish. One of the reasons I chose Darden was the collaborative nature of its learning environment. When collaboration happens amongst bright minds who come from a variety of backgrounds, amazing things happen. Sounds abstract and vague, but at Darden, it’s actually very real. In my time as a Darden student, I have seen repeatedly how students, faculty and staff can shape each other’s thoughts and ideas in truly profound ways.
In your opinion, what is the best thing about Darden’s Executive MBA Program?
The best thing is the people – students, faculty, the Program team, Admissions team, everyone. I am not sure how it happens, but when a student needs an answer or help, everyone comes together to lend a hand. This support has particular impact for executive format students because we are all balancing a number of different things – work, family, personal and professional commitments, etc. – in addition to school. No one gets through a program as challenging as Darden without the help of others.
What advice would you offer a prospective student considering the executive formats of the Darden MBA?
Be open and be free. Darden is not just a school, it will soon be an extended family that will be a part of you forever. Make sure the most of every opportunity Darden presents. Be active in class participation, network with classmates, form friendships, and, most importantly, have fun.