Admissions, Weekly Chats

Weekly Chat Transcript: Non-Traditional Backgrounds, Application Criteria and More

By Darden Admissions-

Join us every Wednesday at 12:30 – 1:00 p.m. (EST) to chat with a Darden Admissions representative.

Question: Do you need some experience in business to apply to Darden?

Answer: No. You do not need a traditional business background to apply. We build a class made up of students from all industries and experience. We value diverse perspectives to contribute to the discussion during the case method and to provide a unique perspective for your learning team. We want to better understand your career goals and how our MBA fits into them.

Question: Does Darden have resources to help students from non-traditional backgrounds transition into a career in business?

Answer: Any of the three formats provide a broad enterprise perspective in General Management allowing you to advance in your current industry or develop the skills and knowledge to seek out other opportunities. You receive individualized career counseling from a functionally-aligned career advisor, as well as a Second Year student career coach. Both are available to meet with students one-on-one to review resumes and cover letters, prepare for interviews and negotiation processes, conduct mock interviews, etc.

Question: What are the differences between the full-time and executive MBA formats?

Answer: Executive MBA students receive the same MBA degree as our full-time students. They’re also taught by the same top-ranked faculty using the case study method. The main differences are the experience level of the cohort and the format/schedule in which instruction is delivered. Executive MBA students work full time while earning their MBA degree in 21 months.

Question:  I’m a round one applicant wondering about interview invitations.  Any news?  Or still just be patient until the December deadline?

Answer: We are still in our review process of Round 1 applications and are continuing to read through them. All first round candidates will be notified with a decision by December 17th.We will be continuing to send invitations for interviews over the next few weeks.

Question: What qualities do you look for in a typical applicant?

Answer: We take all aspects of a candidate’s application into account.  We will review undergraduate work, professional experience, GMAT scores, essays, professional letters of recommendation, etc. We are trying to get to know you as a person as much as we can.

I encourage you to watch Darden MBA Admissions Dean Sara Neher’s video blog on how to approach your MBA application. It contains very useful advice.

Question: Is the application process for the dual degree programs any different from the regular MBA programs?

Answer: Here is a helpful link to our dual degree programs. You do need to apply separately to each:

Question: Are GRE scores waived in any circumstance?

Answer: We require the GRE or GMAT for all full-time MBA applicants, so there are no waivers.

For our executive MBA applicants (EMBA or GEMBA) — In a very few exceptional cases, a waiver of the GMAT may be granted to candidates who hold an advanced degree in an analytic field. To request a waiver, please e-mail your résumé, academic transcripts and standardized test scores to