Admissions Q&A: Last Minute Application Questions

With Darden’s Round 1 application due on 15 October, there were several questions regarding the application in our weekly chat. Here is a transcript from today’s chat:

Question: What counts as total work experience?

Answer: We consider professional work experience to be years of full-time work experience, so a job that requires about 40 hours per week.

Question: How much emphasis is given to the IR section of the GMAT and the AWA section while reviewing applications?

Answer:  At this point, we only have 2 years of data to analyze, and what we know for sure is that a 1 or 2 is not very good and an 8 is fantastic.

Question If we take the GMAT again after we submit our application, can we send the new score to Darden?

Answer: Yes, you can send us a new score after your application has been submitted.

Question: Could you please talk a little about the essay?

Answer: The Darden essay is very open ended, because we are hoping to receive great diversity in the responses. Use the essay to display your writing skills and tell us more about yourself. You will be asked to organize a persuasive argument to show us how you think about and approach business challenges. Emphasize those experiences, values and goals that are most important and meaningful to you. Be sincere and be specific. Tell us what particular experiences and expertise you will bring to the mix. The essay question field is large enough for you to answer the question thoroughly.

Question: How important is the “Activities” section of the application? Do you admit applicants who have no activities to list?

AnswerAt Darden we like to admit students who are engaged within their communities. Extracurricular activities are not a requirement, but you will want to explain why you are not involved in any activities outside of work. We have 60+ student run clubs at Darden, and we are looking to admit students who are going to keep the clubs running.

Question: How does the admissions office evaluate the application of candidates who are looking at the MBA to switch careers? Do they look at the essays to see what the person is interested in and has thought through the process? Do you have any advice for people who want an MBA to help switch careers?

AnswerSwitching careers is a leading reason for students returning to business school. Think about your application as a story. The experiences you have had have shaped you into who you are today and created your interest in moving to a new industry. I would guess that your future career goals, while perhaps in a new industry or job function, build upon your past experiences.

Question: I have a question regarding applying with a GRE score. Would I be at a disadvantage given the fact that there is less data available when it comes to GRE as compared to GMAT?

Answer: We do not prefer one standardized test over another. They are equal.

QuestionRegarding the optional essay — my background is in liberal arts. I took undergraduate courses in economics and statistics and have taken an accounting class since. Should I address my quantitative experience in the optional essay, or will my transcripts speak to that?

Answer: Use the Additional Comments to tell us anything you think we may still have questions about after reading your application. We will see your quantitative classes on your transcript.

QuestionI am looking for a career in product management in companies like Amazon. Can you help me identify the MBA concentration(s) that caters to this career path?

Answer: Darden is known for being a strong General Management school. We believe that our alumni are able to transition into any industry post Darden and are able to make an impact right away. Concentrations at Darden are a new option, and less than half of our students choose to take advantage of the designation. As you think about the electives you will take at Darden, focus on the holes you see in your resume that a tech company like Amazon might like to see, and choose your electives based on strengthening your skill set as opposed to being able to claim a specific concentration.

Question: I am interested in the dual MBA/MPH degree. How does the dual degree’s recruiting cycle differ from the standalone MBA’s cycle given the extra 2 semesters? Do dual degree students typically obtain internships in the summer after Darden’s first year?

AnswerDuring the first year of the dual degree program, you will be a full-time Darden student. During the last 2 years of the program you will divide your classes between Darden and the Department of Public Health Sciences program. Typically dual degree students will spend their summers taking electives for the MPH program in order to fit all of their coursework into 3 years.

About Darden Admissions

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