If you join Darden you will either be a part of Section-E or compete with Section E
This is probably the last post in the series of Why Darden. I may stumble across something that’s important, if so there will be a part 4 or may be part 5, otherwise this would serve as a capstone.
Over the past few months I got in touch with a few prospective students and almost everyone asked me this question, “When Darden says a closed knit community, what does it exactly mean”? To some I said, its the small class size of around 320 students that makes it a small community where you get to know and interact with everyone. To others I told about the collaborative culture in Darden. All I could understand was that they are thinking that I am throwing around big buzzwords, ‘The MBA lingo’ or something like that and have no clear explanation around closed knit community. The community and culture of Darden is something that you can feel when you are here but how do you explain it in words? I don’t know, or probably I do.
After getting tired of lousy movies on Netflix streaming, I started watching the TV series Lost. The series features a bunch of survivors whose common aim is to survive on a deserted tropical island and probably to try and get out of that Island. The common goal builds a community among those people and by the time the series finishes (I am still midway!) I believe those people would be friends for life. Similarly, the student life in Darden floats around some common goals. In addition to studies, career, interviewing, internship and entrepreneurship and many more things that form a part of our life in Darden, we play our part in a higher purpose: The Darden Cup!
What is Darden Cup?
Darden cup is a series of events (both sporting events and community events) in which the class sections compete with each other to collect the cup points. The section (The incoming class is divided into 5 different sections A-E for the first year) that has the highest number of points by the end of the session ends up winning the fabled Darden Cup. The points can be accumulated by not just winning the event but also by participating in the event or just showing up for the event.
What are the events in Darden Cup?
Well, rather than writing a complete dissertation on events, I would write a brief summary.
Softball - For people familiar with the game its Softball. For people not familiar with the game its a game like baseball with a softer ball. (They say its soft, the ball is still hard though). For people not familiar with baseball, its a game like cricket where you run without the bat and get 1 run for hitting a six! (known as home run)
Trivia - A cool quiz for nerds!
Football - They call it football, but you mostly run with an egg in the hand. No more jokes. I am talking about this
Soccer - Some of you call it football. Others call it Soccer. Sorry for the confusion. Wikipedia has some explanation.
Cricket - If you are in Asia, you know what it means. If not, its a game like Softball where you score 6 runs for hitting a home run, run with the bat and complete 1 run by running just 1 base instead of 4. Rest, its the same!
Not going into too much detail, the image below lists all the events for this year along with standing of different sections throughout the event.
What makes Darden Cup a part of Darden Experience?
The very nature and format of these series of events makes is a memorable experience. In an intellectually stimulating environment, the events give you an opportunity to interact with your peers outside of classroom environment. Competing, participating and preparing for events gives students and their families a chance to learn and teach new skills to each other in a casual environment. A friendly yet a light competitive environment makes this series of events a remarkable experience. Not to mention, the community events brings the students and their families together for a greater purpose which further builds a closed knit community. Its fun to teach cricket to people who have never played it before and hold a softball bat for the first time in your life. Its fun to have funny auctions going in BGiA auctions and its fun to work hard to accumulate Darden Cup points. No wonder that whosoever coined the idea for this event knew enough about team and community building.
Just to make sure that you get the meaning of the quote in the beginning of the article, here is the last question.
Who wins the Darden Cup?
Section E. Well not really, its just that Section E has continuously won the cup for last 4 years. So if you are planning to come to Darden, you will either be a part of this section or compete with it.