Q: I don’t have a lot of quantitative work in my background. How will the Admissions Committee evaluate my candidacy?

This is a fairly common question, as a number of our applicants come from liberal arts backgrounds (Political Science, English, History, etc.). Of course, we also have applicants who majored in business, economics, engineering and other technical disciplines, but if you studied (insert liberal arts major here) as an undergraduate student, you may be wondering how we will evaluate your candidacy given the quantitative nature of business school? After all, while Darden is a general management program, you will still have to do a fair amount of math.

First and foremost, if you were a liberal arts major, know that there are many students with your background who have been very successful at Darden. After all, when you think about Darden’s hallmarks – reading, reflection, teamwork, collaboration, interactive learning, a tight-knit community – many are also defining features of a liberal arts education, and it’s worth remembering this overlap when assembling your application.

However, it’s also important to convey that you are fully prepared to meet the challenge – math included! – that Darden presents. Here are some factors we consider when assessing a student’s quantitative readiness:

  • Undergraduate or graduate coursework – Did you take any math or quantitatively-oriented classes in college or a graduate program? How did you fare in those courses?  
  • Standardized test score(s) – Both the GMAT and GRE include quant sections, and we review your full score breakdown when evaluating your candidacy.
  • Professional certifications – Do you have any professional certifications that would be relevant to this evaluation?
  • Additional coursework – Have you taken any classes since college – Coursera, HBX CORe, professional development programs, etc. – that touch upon business school topics (Accounting, Finance, etc.)?
  • Work responsibilities – Are there aspects of your current or past jobs that require(d) you to leverage quantitative skills?

There are just a few examples of things our Admissions Committee may consider when evaluating your candidacy, but hopefully they give you a few ideas as to how you might tell your story and frame your readiness for Darden.

Pro Tip: Consider using the Additional Comments section of your application to highlight any aspects of your background you feel may not be immediately apparent to our Committee or to address any potential weaknesses or ambiguities in your prior educational or professional experiences. You may also consider asking your recommender to address your quantitative proficiency, if appropriate.

In our next blog post, we’ll discuss how you might consider strengthening the quantitative dimensions of your candidacy. Stay tuned!