Admissions, Exec Application Tips, Executive MBA

What You Need to Know Ahead of Next Week’s Executive MBA Application Launch

By Brett Twitty-
what-you-need-to-know-ahead-of-next-weeks-executive-mba-application-launch

A few weeks ago, we shared the deadlines for our 2019–20 Executive MBA application cycle, and today we’re back to announce that our 2020 Executive MBA application will launch next week!

Join Director of Admissions Brett Twitty on 13 August at 1:30 p.m. EDT for an Exec Application Launch webinar. Even if you are unable to join the live session,  we encourage you to register anyway. All registrants will receive a link to a recording of the webinar. 

Here are a few things to know about this year’s Executive MBA application:

Only one recommendation required. That’s right. For our 2020 Executive MBA application, we will require only one recommendation. Of course, if you are admitted and decide to matriculate at Darden, you will need to submit a company support letter prior to the start of school, but for our application process, only one recommendation is required.  

Short answer questions. As with our 2019 cycle, we are featuring several short answer questions rather than one long essay, but no question requires a response longer than 200 words. Here are this year’s questions: 

    1. Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you — personally, professionally, or both? (100 words)
    2. Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose. Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact. (200 words) 
    3. Diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission, and they work best when they are an integral and celebrated part of our community. Read the University of Virginia’s Diversity & Inclusion Vision Statement. Share a time in which you engaged with a perspective, identity, community or experience that was different from your own and how it impacted your worldview. (200 words) 
    4. What is your short-term, post-MBA goal and why? (150 words)

Learn about your test options. In our Executive MBA application process, we accept several standardized tests — the Executive Assessment (EA), GMAT, GRE, LSAT and MCAT. We also offer test waivers in select circumstances. 

Are you eligible for a test waiver? There is no harm in submitting a test waiver request, and many applicants start their application process here. Why? It’s an easy way to definitively determine if you need to take a standardized test to apply to our Executive MBA Program. The turnaround time on most waiver requests is 2-3 business days.  

If you do need to take a standardized test, we strongly encourage you to learn about the Executive Assessment. Of course, if you’ve already taken the GMAT, GRE, MCAT or LSAT, go ahead and apply with your existing test score. 

Why are we such big fans of the EA? It is a 40-question, 90-minute test and it requires, on average, around 20 hours of preparation (as compared to 60-plus for the GMAT or GRE). In addition, the test was designed in consultation with top Executive MBA programs and with executive format applicants in mind. We have accepted the EA for three years, and we’ve received scores ranging from the 140s to the 160s. For the past couple classes, our average score has been around 153. Read our recent blog post about the EA on the Forte Business 360 blog

Pro Tip: Did you know we will accept an expired test score as part of our Executive MBA application process? However, you will need your score breakdown to apply with an older or expired test score. 

Identify the deadline that is right for you. Our first deadline is 10 September, and our Executive MBA admissions cycle typically stretches until June (or until the class is full). Each of our monthly deadlines is focused on our class starting August 2020, and, as you will note from our deadlines page, each round has its own target interview period, decision release date and deposit deadline. With roughly three weeks from application deadline to decision, you won’t have to wait too long to know if Darden will be an option for you. We know our Executive MBA applicants are weighing a number of factors as they plan their application timing, and we offer a number of deadlines to give you maximum flexibility.

Know your story. The big questions for our application process are: Why an MBA? Why Darden? What are your career goals post-MBA? The more time you spend reflecting on these questions now, the stronger your application will be. To learn more about Darden, consider the following next steps:

  • Subscribe to our blog — Discover Darden is your source for all things Darden. Here you will find student and alumni interviews, application tips, news items of interest and more. New posts are shared daily.
  • Listen to our podcast — The ExecMBA Podcast features conversations with members of our Executive MBA community. Episodes are published on a weekly basis, and the pod is a convenient way to learn about the people who shape and define our program.  
  • Schedule a conversation — We offer both phone and in-person conversations (Office Hours). Connect one-on-one with a member of our Admissions Committee and get the information you need as you explore UVA Darden.