Admissions Q&A: Academics and Curriculum, Application, Global EMBA and more

Below is the transcript from yesterday’s Admissions chat. Due to the holidays, we will not have a Weekly Wednesday Admissions Chat next week. We will resume the weekly chat on Wednesday, 2 January 2013.

Question: What advice would you give to applicants that have been waitlisted in Round 1?

Answer: I would advise all candidates who are interested in knowing how to improve their chances on the waitlist to e-mail our office asking to speak with someone from the AdCom. After the holidays, we will get back to you and talk to you about ways to strengthen your application.

Question: Have applicants of Round 2 lost out on a good number of scholarships that would have been awarded in Round 1?

Answer: All of our scholarship dollars are available in Round 1. The money that is awarded in Round 1 is no longer available in Round 2.

Question: I understand that Darden values diversity. What piece of advice would you give to an applicant from a geographic area that is over represented in the applicant pool?

Answer: My advice to you is to be yourself, not who you think we are looking for. Do a great job telling us your story, how an MBA from Darden fits into your plan, and how you plan to use your MBA to make a positive impact on society.

Question: My question pertains to the Global Executive MBA program. Could you explain the class schedule in between the residences?

Answer: Approximately one-third of the GEMBA course work is delivered via distance learning. To provide a highly engaging learning experience between residencies, you will participate in live online classes each week with your classmates and professors. Additionally, you will work on individual assignments, participate in small group projects and learning team meetings and meet one-on-one with faculty.

Question: I am approaching my seven year mark with my company and have been a lead for this entire time. Is this program for ”managers” or on the path to management?

Answer: The Executive format program is for people who are experienced, practicing managers from diverse backgrounds, industries and job functions. Management refers to managing budgets and projects, in addition to people.

Question: When is it appropriate to include a third recommendation in your application?

Answer: Our system only allows applicants to submit 2 recommendation letters. The only way a third recommendation letter can be submitted is if the recommender sends an e-mail to our office. It won’t be on our ”official form”, but it will be included in the evaluation.

Question: When, if at all, would you advise applicants to include information on their GMAT/GRE scores in the Additional Comments section of the application?

Answer: I would advise students to include information about test scores when they plan to take them again, or if a fire drill went off during the middle of the exam…things like that. Using that space to explain that your quant score is not a true reflection of your abilities, that we should focus on your grades from undergrad or your performance at work to assess your quant ability is a waste of space.

Question: I am interested in pursuing a marketing career. I know that Darden is more general management focused, but could you speak to some of the strengths of Darden’s marketing curriculum and opportunities Darden provides for its marketing students?

Answer: Darden is better known for general management than for marketing, but I would argue that the skills you gain at Darden through the case study method of teaching prepare you well for a career in marketing. At Darden you get a lot of practice (through 600 cases) making decisions with incomplete information and defending your decisions in front of your peers and faculty.

Those leadership skills transfer well into a marketing role. When given a problem to solve, you have experience making decisions, and understanding how your decision will impact the rest of the organization — not just the marketing department.

The First Year Marketing course covers a broad array of marketing topics and concepts that are found across a diverse number of industries and business contexts. One of the goals of the first year curriculum is to expose students to state-of-the-art thinking in marketing through cases that reflect the full set of business sectors across different cultures and managerial problems. The first year is build around case pedagogy, exercises, and a number of simulations. In the Second Year Darden students can choose among a number of electives.

Question: Do students have an opportunity to apply learning outside the classroom?

Answer: There are numerous opportunities to apply what you learn outside the classroom. One good example is Opportunity Consultants, a student club that consults local businesses to kaizan projects around the world where students (in collaboration with Danaher) will work in Danaher facilities in the US, China, Czech Republic, etc., applying what they have learned. Check out this website: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/web/Media/Darden-News-Articles/2012/Darden-Students-Travel-the-World-to-Experience-Hands-on-Continuous-Improvement/

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