One of the biggest benefits of a college town is great cheap housing and amenities such as a working fireplace. Makes everything better and when you're done with exams and wrapping up work before you head home Charlottesville around the holidays is just a great place to be.
One of the great programs at Darden is the Leadership Speaker Series. It features C-Suite executive speakers from companies ranging from Whole Foods to J.P. Morgan and last year, one regret of mine was that I was so busy that I didn't attend as many sessions as I would like. This year I am not repeating that and started yesterday with a visit from Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev. This man had some HOT business takes and did not disappoint. Next up is the Chairman and former CEO of Aston Martin, Dr. Ulrich Bez. I'm really looking forward to that one and the rest of this great perk of life at Darden.
X Games was an amazing experience but I would be remiss if I did not share my photos from the racing series that is the polar opposite of X Games... NASCAR.
Ford is in a lot of racing series all of which have their own followings and nuances, but NASCAR really is the 600 pound gorilla in the room when it comes to US racing. I could write about the things I saw for hours (instead I took pictures when they weren't looking) but there are two things that really stand out. First of all is the massive scale of everything. The stands hold over 100,000 people and that is reduced from what they are before, there are people camping everywhere... literally living at the track for a week and the noise. It is loud. as. hell. We were there for qualifying as opposed to the race itself since I had a wedding to attend, but when even half the cars are on the track at once its constant noise. The other thing that you can't help but notice is what a well oiled machine everything is. The Nationwide Series (big leagues) runs 39 races a year, (36 for points) and there are NASCAR employees, sponsor employees, team employees, press people and a lot others that are right alongside the cars and drivers at every stop. It was sort of like going backstage and hanging with the roadies and production crew at a concert and seeing what life on tour was like. Like a band, everyone definitely seemed to be a big family that had been together for a long time, and it was really cool to see all the people who live NASCAR week to week behind the scenes. Every thing has a sponsor, a schedule, a person in charge of it and has been perfected by doing it 39 times a year, year after year.
Working with Ford racing has been cool in that it's something that is so specific to the auto industry and is a big point of pride at the company (you're literally racing other car companies to see who's fastest) and Ford has an especially rich history. All of the teams and drivers came to visit with employees at WHQ, as well as a meet and greet in the morning at the Ford Racing offices where I met Carl Edwards and yes, Richard Petty and you can see what it means to the people who work here. You may not know this but Jalopnik recently named it the automaker with the greatest racing history of all time, so it's been really cool to be involved in that. So thank you to Ford and Tim who showed us every corner of NASCAR and what goes into putting on such a massive show week to week, it was a great day.
Congratulations on getting in to business school. Now that you’ve chosen Darden, or making peace with your mistaken decision to attend another school, applied for those loans and found a place to live you are likely facing another big decision: what computer to buy. As I understand it there are no more “bundles” at Darden, but the first thing I would’ve told you is not to worry about those so let’s just assume you can buy whatever you want (which is what I did) and go through the consideration process with you getting the benefit of my research and hindsight. I’ll try to get into the relevant nerd stuff without getting lost in the nerd stuff.
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Day 1: Orientation, meet partner for summer project
Day 2 & 3: Get ID card, find desk, shadow supervisors
Day 4: Fly to Austin for the X-Games
This was my rough itinerary for my first week at Ford. It was a bit crazy, but in a great way. Ford is a major sponsor of the X Games (see image below) and as part of our project our supervisors thought it would be great to see both the RedBull Global Rallycross series in person and the Ford marketing activations. It was an amazing opportunity to take in the event in general, as well as the way Ford interacted with the audience in person and on TV. This is the events first year in Austing and at the HUGE Circuit of the Americas road track so it was really cool to be a part of.
As someone who grew up watching all of these sports in Virginia Beach, as well as a huge fan of Austin needless to say this was about as good as it gets. We got VIP access which was cool, literally as it was Texas hot all weekend and we were able to duck into the AC. We also got some amazing experiences such as ride-alongs with Ford's Rallycross drivers (see above). I rode with Patrick Sandell who won this weekend in DC. The cars go 0 to 60 mph in under 2 seconds and as is customary in rally, turns are taken by sliding sideways. As fun as it sounds. We also got access to Ford's drivers and yes, I finally got to see Kanye live which has always been a goal of mine. I would elaborate more but I'm not suuuuper sure how much I'm allowed to write and I think the pictures do anyway. Thanks a lot to everyone at Ford for such an amazing start to the summer (Photos after the jump).
I was waiting until I checked with my supervisor about what was and wasn't OK to post before sharing this one, but I'm excited to say that today is my third day as a MLP (Marketing Leadership Program) intern at the Ford Motor Company. After moving out of Charlottesville, a stay at my parents place and a trip to NY to see some old friends it was off to Dearborn, Michigan (PYYYIRRRRRR Michigan) to move into my apt and get started. Orientation was Monday including a tour of the trillion acres of Ford property in Dearborn, but also some awesome things like the test track and the River Rouge plant which had me ready to buy an F-150 by the end of it (you hear that phone ringing Sallie Mae?)
Today was my first day in the office and I have definitely hit the jackpot in terms of projects. One of the reasons I liked this program was that you are given a partner (mine's awesome even though she's from Duke) and an assignment to work on for the summer (again, mine is incredible) that you present to senior management at the end of the summer. We also have a really cool group of MLP interns from other business schools, as well as strategy MBA interns. I'm sharing a corporate housing apartment with another Darden MLP which I cannot tell you how much I appreciated as I listened to everyone complain about trying to find 10 month leases for the summer, and have already ventured into Detroit to check out some cool spots.
I'm really looking forward to everything ahead and will be sure to update as things go on. As for now, I'm heading down to Austin for the X-games (seriously, best project).
Hello! This is my first post in a series in which I hope to reflect back on some major themes from year 1, including my overall thoughts on Year 1. Is this a clever (or not so clever) device to retroactively address things I didn't have time to during the year? You bet.
Also, if your name is Jamie and you emailed me, I accidentally deleted it on my phone, sorry. Please email me again and I'm happy to talk.
I'm sure your mind is racing right now, firing off questions faster than you can think of answers. What, you may be asking yourself, is that glorious trophy? How does one acquire it? Was it forged by vikings?
These are really fun events, and honestly while I've really loved it...it's a tough job. The pressure to win is very real despite what people might say and I'm not the first person to deal with balancing winning and participation. Managing your peers is notoriously difficult and I had to make a lot of really tough decisions, and break some bad news to people I cared about in the name of accomplishing the group's larger goal.
I was also lucky enough to have the support of everyone, including a second year group that wass incredibly involved and has been a huge asset. In the end the biggest lesson has been that you need buy in from the group to be successful, but don't forget who is responsible for the end result, because nobody else will.
Section E also plays a prominent role in the Volleyball video below (we won that event too). Volleyball was an oddly less attended event than usual because it was one of the biggest recruiting event nights of the year, but people were really great about coming out and supporting. Besides the lead in the Darden Cup, the other thing I took away from that event is how did everyone get so good at volleyball???
If I could do it all over again, I might reconsider some of the things I signed up for, but applying for Darden Bloggers was definitely one of the best decisions I made this year. If you're an incoming student and interested in joining next year, feel free to shoot me an email.
To be honest this was definitely something where you only got out what you put in, but as someone who really enjoys American history, I had a great time and strongly recommend it. I figured photos would be better than me describing 48 hours in Pennsylvania so I tried to take a lot. Check it out.
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