Q & A with Admissions
Question: Is there a ballpark word limit in the ”duties” area of the employment history section? I am curious as to how much background/reflection we should include if any?
Answer: My recommendation for all parts of the application is to be clear and concise. The employment section is where we learn more about your role and responsibilities. Your resume is where we learn about what you have accomplished. We like to see one page, generally in the STAR format: situation, task, action and result.
Question: If I am having technical difficulties filling out the online application form, whom do I contact? Specifically, my recommenders have not yet received their emails.
Answer: For technical difficulties, please e-mail email@example.com. When you input your recommendation writers’ contact information and click the ”Send E-mail” button, that should generate an e-mail to them. You may want to have them check their spam folder. Our IT specialist however can see if the e-mails were sent.
Question: In the question about your contributions to your learning team, are you looking only at the study groups or are you also looking at how an applicant would contribute to the school and its other activities such as student clubs etc.?
Answer: You do not need to specifically limit yourself to your learning team — we are a high engagement learning environment so we want to understand more about how you will be involved and contribute.
Question: Does Darden take applications on a rolling basis?
Answer: We do not have rolling admissions. Everyone who applies by Oct. 17th will receive a decision on Dec. 21st.
Question: Regarding the essay, do we have to talk about our own workplace experience? Or is it a general discourse on our perspective? What are the pitfalls we must avoid in this essay?
Answer: That is probably not a question I can answer specifically. There is no one right way to answer the question. Pick 1 or 2 examples that can highlight your perspective and your work. The essay helps us picture what you will bring to the learning environment. You should want to leave us wanting to learn more about you.
Question: My undergrad college does not grade students with the GPA system, but with the percentage system. So I believe I can leave the space for min and max GPA range blank. Is that correct?
Answer: If your undergrad institution does not use a GPA system, then please leave that blank. We can see from your transcript more about the grading system used.
Question: There is only space for college extracurriculars, whereas I have a MS degree and have notable extracuriccular achievements. What section should I write that in?
Answer: The college extracurriculars is also an appropriate place to tell us about graduate schools extracurriculars.
Question: What is an average GRE and/or GMAT score for individuals accepted into the program?
Answer: Our average GMAT score for the most recent incoming class is a 701. We do not publish our average GRE score because the % of students who matriculated with a GRE score is below 5%. However, we like to see 700 or above on the quant portion and 600 or above on the verbal.
Question: In case our recommenders do not enter their submissions by the due date despite reminders but because of their hectic schedule. Is there a buffer in such cases?
Answer: In order for your application to be considered complete, we need to have received two letters of recommendation. If your recommendation writers are a day or two late, that is okay, but we need them in by the 19th.
Question: I hold a MBA degree from an internationally unaccredited university. Am I eligible to apply to Darden’s MBA program and do I have to clarify (in an optional essay) why I would like to pursue a second MBA degree?
Answer: You are eligible to apply with your MBA from an institution unaccredited by the AACSB. We do not have an optional essay, but we will want to understand in your application why you are looking to earn an MBA from a U.S. school.
Q & A with Current Students
Question: I understand Darden has some ”crash courses” before classes start in August. I’ve heard they are for students who want to hit the ground running or brush up on one topic or another. Can you tell me more about them?
Answer: These classes are called the ”pre-matriculation” classes. The sessions offered vary each year in accordance with feedback from the previous class. This year, they offered sessions on Accounting and Excel. They are helpful for anyone who thinks that some extra attention to these subjects would be beneficial. They are for about half a day, three days in length.
Question: Can you tell us more about the experience of studying in the case study method? How do learning teams function and what are the kind of skills-sets students bring to the table in a learning team?
Answer: The case method is much like the board room for me. Every day you are practicing for the real thing. I enjoy being strategic in class more than anything. Learning teams are purposely very diverse. For that reason, many perspectives are offered. The purpose of the learning team is to review and better understand the materials before class. So you will theoretically review each case three times: once on your own, once in learning team, and once in the classroom. You walk out with a thorough understanding of the material because of it. During your learning team meetings, those who are confident in a case are often challenged to teach it, so everyone is ”stretched” in LT – either as a student or as a teacher.
Question: I have a question about changing concentrations. Do you find that most students stay on the same track initially intended or is it common to change careers?
Answer: Concentrations are actually a pretty new concept to Darden. I believe it’s only been in the last year or so that students could claim a concentration. As a result, many students don’t claim a concentration, opting for a general management experience that builds upon a variety of disciplines. Regarding career changes, it is very, very common for a student to come in expecting to pursue one career interest (such as banking) and realize during the First Year or after the internship that he/she may be interested in something else. Happens all the time!
Question: Since ethics is such an integral part of the school can you tell us about aspects of your student life where ethics is incorporated?
Answer: Ethics is certainly a part of the way we live here at Darden and how we work together. One particular example in which our commitment to personal ethics is especially strong is how we take exams. We have a period of 4-5 days after classes end to take our exams virtually, when and where we want. The tests are open book, open notes, and this opportunity is only available because of the strength of the honor code. I think it starts with the honor system at Darden and UVA. UVA self-governs student behavior. It is a core focus everywhere you look. The honor pledge is in every classroom. On top of that, we are constantly reading cases that involve unethical behavior. We talk more about the ethics than the decision most of the time.