Admissions Q&A: Insight on the Application Process, MBA Program Information and More

Question: Could you please describe what you look for in a standout Darden applicant?

AnswerWe look for strong team and leadership skills, as well as initiative and solid communication skills.

Question:  Could you describe the culture at Darden and what you think differentiates it from other MBA programs?

AnswerDarden is a small, tight-knit community where everyone engages 110% inside and outside the classroom.  Faculty are very accessible and invested in students’ academic and career success.

Question: Can you give us some factors which would be considered as negatives in the Darden full-time MBA application?

Answer:  In terms of negatives within the application, the important thing is to know yourself, your experiences, and be articulate about how an MBA fits into all of that.  Far too often, we see folks that haven’t taken the time to be thoughtful and do the reflection necessary to put together a compelling application.

Question: Can you please tell me if they are still sending out interview invitations for the Round 2 full-time MBA?

Answer: Yes, we are still inviting Round 2 candidates to interview, both domestically and abroad.

Question: Can you speak to any differences in the way applications of potential ”career switchers” are reviewed?  Is there certain criteria or experiences you look for with applicants who are looking to move to a new industry?

Answer: Most of our applicants are career switchers.  We don’t differentiate them from others in the pool — the main thing we’re looking for is a clear rationale for the degree and how it will help them meet their goals.

Question: Can you please tell me if candidates are evaluated on the basis of their employment background?

Answer: We take industry experience into account in our overall evaluation, but it is only a piece of the larger puzzle.  We strive to evaluate each candidate holistically.

QuestionCan you discuss the GMAT profile of the current class as well as how Darden plans on evaluating the Integrated Reasoning section in next year’s admission cycle?

Answer: Our mean GMAT is 703.  We take IR scores into account and look forward to seeing more of that data in the future.

Question: The website mentions that average number of years of work experience. Does other graduate school experience count towards work experience?

Answer: We take all experience into account, including full- and part-time employment, graduate degrees and military service.

QuestionAre any considerations given to applicants’ current/future career path during the admissions process? For example, does Darden actively try to build a diverse class from various fields of work or is everything evaluated on a case-by-case basis?

AnswerYes, we actively seek folks from a range of industries and backgrounds to create a diverse classroom environment.

QuestionI am considering Darden for business school, but have a strong interest in social enterprise and global poverty reduction. Are there any opportunities to explore these passions through either the curriculum, special international projects/trips, and/or through clubs at Darden?

AnswerYes, we have many clubs and international exchanges, such as our Global Business Experiences, where you pursue your interests.

Question: Does Darden use any teaching methods other than the case method to give students more hands-on business experience?

AnswerCase method is the primary method of instruction at Darden. All First Year students will also be assigned to learning teams, designed to help them work through each case and solve real business problems.

QuestionCan you please speak to the Career Consultants and how personalized this experience is over the life of the program?

AnswerOur career advisors specialize in different industries and work with you one-on-one to develop your career plan, make adjustments and best prepare you for recruiting.  At Darden, you will also be paired with a Second Year student coach whose internship matches your interests to help you navigate the process.

About Darden Admissions

If you have any questions or feedback regarding our blogs, website, or other communication, we encourage you to reach out to us at darden@virginia.edu.
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