Editor’s Pick: Darden Experience Prepares Student for Social Entrepreneurship in Indonesia

By Jay Hodgkins

Nagea Delaya (Class of 2018) made a big leap to come to the University of Virginia Darden School of Business from Indonesia, but the School’s reputation as a strong business school for entrepreneurship and social impact helped her make the choice.

When she arrived, she discovered the supportive community — particularly the faculty — helped her feel welcomed, adjust to life in the United States and develop skills to help her pursue her passion of returning to Indonesia as a social entrepreneur.

“Even before I knew that I was going to accept Darden’s admission offer, knowing my interest in social impact, an alumna introduced me to a successful social entrepreneur in Indonesia. She also wanted to ensure my safety living all by myself in a foreign country I’ve never been to and thus introduced me to the wife of the Indonesian Ambassador for the U.S. At least I would know somebody I could go to if any serious problems arose.” she said.

The decision to attend Darden proved to be an easy one for Nagea, who appreciated Darden’s commitment to both diversity and affordability. “The school (along with student association and clubs) organized various events to help international students like myself get accustomed with the U.S. culture. There were numerous formal and informal discussions on diversity (led by professors and students!), which not only enriched my perspective in facing globalization, but also increased my level of tolerance. I was also offered a scholarship that was dedicated for Indonesian students at Darden. Although I eventually turned down the offer, and accepted the scholarship offer from the Indonesian government instead, I will never forget how relieved I was knowing that a U.S. MBA program could be affordable. All of these showed me that Darden really cared about having diversity in its school.”

The network continues to serve as a beneficial resource for Nagea, especially in her professional development. “The CDC helped a lot with clearing up my doubts about career choices and with structuring my thoughts around the necessary entrepreneurial experiences I could gain during my two years at Darden. They’ve also helped me brainstorm different paths I could take as I pursue the entrepreneurship track,” she stated.

Leaving Indonesia for the United States was an adjustment for Nagea, but being at Darden made the transition a smooth one. “I lived in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, which was a very crowded and busy city with endless things to do every day. At first, I was a little shocked by how quiet and peaceful Charlottesville is. But, once school started, I realized that being in a peaceful place is exactly what I needed to get through the intense business school life.” Moreover, the tight-knit and supportive community with her peers allowed her to feel accepted in all aspects of her identities, something that she continues to share and emphasize with prospective students from Indonesia who reach out to her. “I’m a Muslim, and Indonesia has the highest Muslim population in the world. The march for Muslims that was done by the UVA community a while ago sent me a very powerful message. It reflects solidarity and tolerance, and it really warmed my heart. Everyone here is so welcoming and knowing that they would fight for my rights makes me feel accepted,” she said.

In addition to the supportive community she found in the students here at Darden, Nagea established bonds and relationships with the faculty. She describes the faculty as her favorite part about being at Darden. “They are the most amazing teachers I’ve ever encountered in my life. They do not only teach specific subjects but also they have an interest in their students and are very encouraging. I don’t know where else I’d find this level of interaction with faculty.”

Read the full story on the Darden Center for Global Initiatives blog, Global Voices of Darden.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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