Monday, March 22, 2010

Passing the baton

A few months ago, a new club was born at Darden, the Darden South Asia Society (DSAS). It took over a year’s worth of work in petitioning and designing the vision and mission of the club; but finally the approvals were obtained and we held elections to determine the first ever leadership team of DSAS. In the few months that we have been in the team, we have tried to give more direction to the club by holding events as promised in our petition but by also involving ourselves closely with the Career center and Admissions.

And then a few weeks ago, we held elections to select the team we would hand over to as we leave Darden. This weekend IJ, club president of DSAS hosted the present and future leadership team at his place for a “retreat” where the current team appraised the incoming team about our workings, events and vision. Tomorrow, we will hold our first weekly meeting with the new leadership, as we begin to hand over responsibilities to them.

One of the things we struggled with in our brief stint as the leadership team was choosing what we could achieve in the limited time before end of the year. We wanted to do everything, but often times we had to reign in our enthusiasm for the sake of practicality. It was great to hand over those ideas to the incoming team – unlike us they have a whole academic year to take the club a notch further.

In passing the baton over to the first year students, we are giving away something we planned and envisioned for the South Asian community at Darden. We wanted to create a club that not only organized the famous annual Bollywood Party or inter-school cricket tournaments but also one that provided career and academic support and mentoring to incoming South Asian students. But this was not a club targeted solely at the South Asians, as our membership list would testify. With the region becoming the hot bed of business, we wanted to use the club as a platform to help the greater Darden/UVA community understand the intricacies of doing business in South Asia. In my admittedly biased opinion, I believe we have achieved everything we set out to, and we still have events in the pipeline!

Here’s a memento IJ handmade for us – needless to say, it has the pride of place in my room.

For information on DSAS, visit our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter or contact us at

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Raindrops on green

I guess it’s safe to say that spring has finally arrived in Virginia. There’s so much of the green that’s suddenly visible and it’s as though the leaves and flowers are poking their heads out in cautious optimism.

At Darden, I’ve completed my third quarter and I’m on the home stretch now, the last quarter before I graduate. I took a one-week course at spring break – no GBE for me this year! I decided to take this course on marketing called Integrated Marketing Communications – a grueling one week later, I have credits for one entire quarter-long course in my kitty, thus allowing me to free up some time next quarter where I just have to take four courses to fulfill my credit requirements to graduate. I’m suddenly struck by how the word graduate/graduation has already appeared in this post more than once! It’s funny how quickly time flies.

My IMC course was a week well spent and helped me cement some of the things I learnt during my internship last summer. Our final deliverable for the course was an integrated marketing campaign for one of two brands: Levi’s jeans and Silk soya milk. I was wonderstruck by how creative my classmates are and the quality of work I saw in the final presentations was just phenomenal! The course itself was really comprehensive and we had some fantastic guest speakers from the ad-world; the course itself was co-taught by ex-CMOs of big name CPG firms. We did an interesting case on a vodka company and also had a vodka tasting session for that, in addition to plenty of tins of peanuts and oreos being passed around!

I am trying to pick my courses for the next quarter and like a hoarder, I want to take everything! Unfortunately, I can do no more than four. I could overload if I wanted to, but I need to up the game on recruiting because being without an offer feels like a ticking time bomb because of visa stipulations. At this time I have three courses set and locked in, and I am trying to pick between three courses for the fourth one.

We’ve seen so much sun this week (and some rain too) and much as I love it, I can’t help but think about how the end is near. The sun and the warmth remind me of the end as much as they do of the beginning: when you come to C’ville in the fall as a first year student, you see the same brilliant blue sky as you do in the summer on the day you graduate.


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