Maureen Keegan (Darden, ’17) has blogged frequently on MBASchooled over the course of her two years in Charlottesville. Whether it was her experience adjusting to life as a first-year or her lessons learned from her summer associate internship in consulting she’s thoughtfully shared with us her perspective on life as an MBA student. We had the chance to one chat with Maureen one last time about her final reflections on her MBA experience, and the growth and development she’s undergone over the past two years.
MBASchooled: What is your favorite memory of business school?
Maureen: I am so bad at picking favorites, especially when it comes to something like Darden where there are so many amazing memories, so I’ll pick a couple.
In the fall, despite receiving an offer from my summer internship, I made the decision to re-recruit with a few consulting firms that I thought might be a better long-term fit. Making that decision was a risk both financially and in terms of the time I would have to invest to prep for interviews before even knowing if I had an interview. I will never forget the moment that I got the news that Bain was making me an offer. It was such a relief after all the anxiety and stress around the decision to re-recruit and the time that I put into to prep for interviews. To top it all off, I was flying from my final round interview to see my family, so I got to celebrate with them!
Earlier this year, I took part in a Darden Worldwide Course to Moscow & St. Petersburg, Russia. It was unforgettable, and not just because we were there in the coldest weather that they’ve had in over a hundred years (it felt like negative 30 at the beginning of our trip), but because it was such an eye-opening experience. I didn’t realize how little I knew about Russia until I was actually there learning about the country, its culture and how all that influences the way they do business. Russia at Christmas-time is also absolutely beautiful!
MBASchooled: What will you miss most about your MBA experience?
Maureen: I’m definitely going to miss all of my classmates. One of the things that I think sets Darden apart from a lot of other schools is how close knit the graduating classes are. I’ve met so many smart and interesting people over the past two years and it’s tough to being going our separate ways and not knowing when we’ll see each other next. I am also going to miss Charlottesville. It’s been such a great place to spend the past few years. There are so many different things to do – from hiking to visiting vineyards & breweries to hanging out on restaurant & bar patios with friends – and the weather, especially this year, is pretty fantastic.
With some of my section mates and Elena, one of our finance professors, after graduation
MBASchooled: What are you most proud of from your MBA experience?
Maureen: I’m going to cheat a little on this one and say that what I’m most proud of is how many of the things that I had on my list to do when I came to Darden I was able to accomplish over the past two years. Some of those things were activities I wanted to be involved in, like taking part in an SY Elective where I conducted admissions interviews or having a photo selected for the Darden Art Project, both of which I was able to do. Others were more experiences I wanted to have like building close relationships with professors or traveling to new countries. I also got an MBA because I wanted to grow as a person and develop new professional skills, which I definitely did. And of course getting an internship and full-time offer in consulting was the ultimate goal when I started at Darden. Looking back on the past two years, I know I’ve come incredibly far from the person I was when I first set foot on grounds and I am so proud of all that I’ve been able to accomplish.
My photo that was selected for the Darden Art Project that I took in the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg during a Darden Worldwide Course
MBASchooled: What’s the most important lesson you learned at Darden?
Maureen: One of the most important lessons that I learned at Darden is to keep an open mind. During the three quarters that we were in core, I was exposed to so many new subject areas that I knew nothing about before. Coming into Darden, I thought that when we got to selecting electives, I would take a lot of marketing classes. After core, that completely switched and I ended up taking a bunch of finance, operations, and quantitative analysis classes. Some of them definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone more than other classes I might’ve taken, but I learned a ton!
MBASchooled: What part of you has undergone the most transformation while in business school?
Maureen: I’m a fairly quiet, shy person and one of the things that I really wanted to work on during my time at Darden was my willingness and comfort speaking up, especially when I’m not 100% sure I’m right. With class participation counting for roughly half of our grade in every class, I knew based on my class participation grades that I was working on my goal, but one the most exciting moments for me was getting “cold called” on the very first day of Optimization at the beginning of Q4 this year and instead of panicking, thinking “okay, I’ve got this.” After class, I had multiple classmates come up to me and comment that they thought I’d done a great job, which was a nice additional vote of confidence and helped me see how far I had come since Q1 in core.
MBASchooled: Who is someone who has had a positive influence on you while in business school?
Maureen: With Darden being such a strong community, it’s really hard to pick just one person, but I have to go with one of my finance professors, Elena Loutskina. Elena has challenged me and pushed me in the classroom to perform to a level I didn’t think I was capable of, while at the same time being incredibly supportive outside of the classroom. She’s really helped me to find confidence and my voice, especially as a woman in business.
MBASchooled: Is there anything that you haven’t gotten to do that you wish you had done?
Maureen: This question is so hard because the nature of business school is that you’re never able to do everything that you want to. I have really tried to put FOMO to the back of my mind as I’ve gone through school and focus on what I am doing, rather than what I’m not able to do. Of course, that doesn’t mean there are things I feel like I missed out on, I just try not to think about it. One of those things is taking a class with the former dean of Darden, Bob Bruner. Dean Bruner came back to the faculty this year to teach a bunch of different seminars after taking a sabbatical last academic year. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t take any of his classes, but talking to my classmates who were in the various classes, it sounds like they were really interesting and that he is a pretty fantastic professor.
MBASchooled: Where do you hope to be in five years?
Maureen: I would love to still be at Bain and hope that I’ll have spent some time working internationally. I also want to be actively involved with Darden in some sort of alumni leadership role. Lastly, I want to make sure that I’m balancing my personal life and hope that I’ll be starting or will have started a family.
Officially an MBA!