Application Tips, Full-Time MBA

Application Advice! Marc Paulo Guzman Shares Tips for Consortium Applicants – Pt. 1

By Brett Twitty-

In today’s blog post we chat with Marc Paulo Guzman about his best advice for Consortium applicants. See Marc Paulo’s answers below, and check out his earlier blog interview to learn more about what led him to Darden and why he’s so passionate about diversity. This is part one of a two part application tips series for Consortium applicants. 

What is the Consortium?

The Consortium for Graduate Students in Management (CGSM) is a cooperative network of business schools as well as corporate partners that are committed to enhancing diversity and inclusion in global business education.

The organization was founded in 1966 at Washington University in St. Louis, and its original focus was to give African-American men the business skills they need to secure positions in American corporations. Since its inception, the Consortium has grown to 20 business schools and eligible members include U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents who identify as Hispanic, Black and Native American, as well as individuals, regardless of race/ethnicity, who meet the Consortium’s mission.

What are the benefits of Consortium membership?

There are a quite a few! Benefits include:

  • The ability to compete for one of the many Consortium full-tuition fellowships
  • Attendance at the annual Orientation Program (OP) prior to the start of the first year of business school. During this event, members get direct exposure to companies interested in hiring diverse candidates
  • A supportive community of dedicated faculty/staff and students while at business school and beyond
  • Lifelong access to CGSM online, an online portal for jobs and employers specifically hiring through the Consortium network.

Can you tell us anything about Darden’s recent Consortium cohort?  

We are very excited about our recent Consortium cohort. It’s one of the largest cohorts we’ve ever had and one of the largest cohorts within all 20 member schools. Darden Consortium students make up around 11 percent of the Class of 2020, and our Consortium members come from a variety of backgrounds prior to business school, including Teach for America educators, engineers, military service members, among many others. The Consortium community at Darden is a vibrant, tight-knit group where members find belonging and personal and academic support. Students have direct access to staff and faculty who are designated resources for Consortium members.

How does the Consortium application process work? Any key differences from Darden’s application process?

The application process for the Consortium works in tandem with Darden’s Round 1 and Round 2. Instead of applying directly to Darden, Consortium applicants apply through the Consortium, and the applications of candidates identifying Darden as a target school are shared with our admissions committee. One of the key benefits of applying through the Consortium is that with one application you can apply to up to six schools.

Candidates are reviewed both by the Consortium as well as our admissions team. It is worth nothing that the lens Consortium staff will use when evaluating your application is a little different than than the one we will employ when reviewing your materials. The Consortium staff focuses on vetting applicants for alignment with the Consortium mission, primarily through a separate essay and recommendation letter, while we will focus on your qualification to study at Darden.

If there is a “perfect match,” i.e. the applicant meets the Consortium’s mission AND is accepted by the school, the applicant will be considered for a full-tuition fellowship. However, even if there is not a “perfect match,” applicants will still automatically be considered for other non-Consortium merit-based scholarships.