Sunday, March 06, 2011

Dinner With the Profs

Darden has the best professors of any B-school.

Now, I know that technically, since I haven't attended every B-school, I can't say that conclusively. However, after I tell you about my evening yesterday, I'm fairly certain that you will come to see that I have good reasons to make that claim.

So every year in April, Darden participates in a charity program design to fix up houses for those in need in the Charlottesville community. It's called, appropriately, Building Goodness in April. In order to raise the much needed funds for all these projects, the auction teams run a series of auctions throughout November and December, and this year I was lucky enough to win a bid for a Danish dinner with my finance and decision analysis profs.

The dinner was last night and it was amazing. Our finance professor and his wife hosted the dinner. I would say that it was amazing to see all the artwork and the non-finance side of our professor, but the truth is that I already knew a lot about the non-finance side as we discussed architecture in Barcelona and I went to see him play bass in his Charlottesville band. The thing is that it's not at all unusual at Darden to be exposed to the non-academic facets of our professor's lives. Our section had even met his daughter previously when she came to play soccer with us for Darden Cup last year. So it was just a warm, welcoming evening.

As I was grilled by my DA prof's husband on how I would actually use the class she teaches and went into details on the value of an MBA (really, I told him he should just read my blog!), we warmed up with a traditional Danish appetizer - buttered bread, covered with all sorts of delicious toppings: shrimp and lemon, liver pate, grapes and bleu cheese. Following the first course of appetizers, we learned the traditional Danish method for drinking schnapps. (You look someone in the eye, say "skoal", do the shot and regain eye contact.) By then, the conversation had evolved away from justifying my education to urban sprawl and the issues with the American health care system. (My DA prof's husband is British.) The next appetizer was Danish dumplings... Not only are they delicious, they come with a game; whoever finds the "dough ball" (no meat) gets a prize! My DA prof was excited to win only to discover the prize was another shot.

From there we moved on to the dinner table and enjoyed a rich variety of discussion topics along with the fish course and an amazingly tender roast beef for the main course. The food was delicious, the company was amazing, and I enjoyed connecting with some of the first years and with my profs and their spouses. I truly think that Darden is hands-down the best school in this regard... which is probably why we were recently ranked #1 for professors!

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