New Scholarship Helps Filipino Student Find Darden and Darden Find Top Talent in the Philippines
When Michael Fajardo (Class of 2020) stepped foot on University of Virginia Darden School of Business Grounds as a student for the first time in August, he arrived as the very first recipient of the new Darden Philippine Scholarship. Word of mouth about the scholarship was Fajardo’s first exposure to Darden when he began looking at business schools. His friend, who applied to the School two years prior, told him that there was a scholarship specifically offered to Filipinos. The possibility of a scholarship was the initial attraction. However, once Fajardo looked more deeply into Darden’s MBA program, he realized that it fit exactly what he was looking for in a business school.
“I like that Darden is 100 percent case method-based and that students are encouraged to be more collaborative instead of passive receivers of information,” said Fajardo, who served as director of finance and operations at Goldstein Capital before matriculating at Darden. “When I visited last fall for my interview, I enjoyed seeing how much of a tight-knit community Darden was with really great accommodating and welcoming people. The community seems to really care about each other and each other’s success.”
In 2012, Fajardo graduated from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines with a bachelor’s degree in management engineering. After graduating, he moved on to Fordham University to earn his master’s degree in international political economy and development. He stayed in New York City following his master’s to work at Morgan Stanley as an operations consultant for about a year. Prior to working for Goldstein Capital, Fajardo was head of finance for Moneymax.ph, a financial startup in the Philippines that offers price comparison services for different financial products. As head of finance, Fajardo built a finance department from the ground up while also managing relationships with investors and developing and implementing new procedures. Fajardo said he is very excited to be back in school, not only for the education and to explore career possibilities, but for the impact the experience will have on him as he explores a potential path as an entrepreneur.
“I’m looking forward to meeting some of the smartest people in the world and being able to exchange ideas and work with them,” Fajardo said. “I have a strong idea for a business, but I need to develop more connections and further refine my ideas before doing that.”
Fajardo plans to work in investment banking for a few years post-Darden before starting his own business. He remains incredibly grateful to serve as the inaugural recipient of the Darden Philippine Scholarship, established through a generous gift by an anonymous donor.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia