Admissions, Application Tips, Exec Application Tips, Executive MBA

Exec MBA Application Tips for May and June Applicants

By Maggie Dodson-
exec-mba-application-tips-for-may-and-june-applicants

Interested in joining our Executive MBA Class of 2022 starting this August? We have three remaining deadlines: 10 May, 10 June and 25 June. We still have seats available and scholarship money to award!

This is the time of year when candidates often ask, “Is it too late to apply?” It is definitely not too late to apply, and we connect with great candidates in this final quarter of our admissions cycle each and every year.

The Executive MBA process has a lot of built-in flexibility. Some of this is a product of the varying timelines from program to program, but a lot of it has to do with the Executive MBA applicant journey. Many of our students report considering an MBA for two or three years (or more) before actually applying.

Some applicants were ready to apply in September, while others realize in May or June that now is the time to pursue an MBA. This is the reason why we have so many deadlines and so much flexibility built into our application process. Each of our deadlines functions as a discrete round within a broader cycle and all of the deadlines are focused on one start date — August 2020. In other words, you have options, and we encourage you to apply as soon as you feel like you can put together a strong application.

As you review our deadlines, be sure to take note of the target interview period, decision release date and the deposit deadline for the round in question. Things move quickly in our Executive MBA application process, particularly in our later rounds. Later in our cycle, candidates typically have about one week to consider an offer of admission. In other words, do your research now — read our blog, listen to our podcast, join us for a webinar, schedule a conversation. Of course, we are also here to help. We can be reached at execmba@darden.virginia.edu. No question too small!

Application Tips

Here are three application tips for our readers who are currently working on an Executive MBA application. We also invite you to join Director of Admissions Brett Twitty next Thursday, 7 May at 12:30 pm ET for an Executive MBA Application Tips webinar. Attending this webinar will satisfy one-half of our new Executive MBA application fee waiver offer.

  1. As we move through these final rounds, we shift into more of a rolling admissions mode. Use our application deadlines as guideposts, but, once you have finished your application, go ahead and submit it, even if it is well before or after a deadline. This will allow us to begin moving your materials through our review process and even get you a decision much sooner.
  2. We accept a number of standardized tests in our Executive MBA application process — EA/GMAT/GRE/MCAT/LSAT — and the EA has been our most popular standardized test over the past two admissions cycles.
    However, we know that a number of our applicants have not had an opportunity to take a standardized test, and, if this sounds like you, we recommend starting with a standardized test waiver request. While the GRE and GMAT are currently available online, with an online version of the Executive Assessment (EA) likely coming this week, we recently added a test waiver request to the Test Scores section of our application, and our Admissions Committee will evaluate these requests concurrently with the full application and indicate at the time of decision whether a standardized test or additional quantitative coursework will be required. This approach can potentially save you some time and money as you navigate our application process, and it also allows us to consider your waiver request within the full context of your application. Of course, every applicant’s situation is different, and if you have already made significant plans to take a standardized test, you are absolutely welcome to proceed with those plans. If you have a future test date scheduled, go ahead and submit your application once you’ve completed the other parts of the application, and, as long as we have your test score in hand at least a couple days prior to the decision release date for the round in question, we will be able to keep you on schedule for an on-time decision.
  3. All interviews for our final rounds will be conducted via Zoom. In our Executive MBA application process, interviews are by invitation-only, and Darden interviews are very conversational in nature. You will interview with an Admissions Committee member, and the interview is an opportunity for you to tell your story and for us to get to know you better. The big questions to keep in mind for the interview are:
    • What is your background? Educationally? Professionally?
    • Why do you want to pursue an MBA?
    • What has attracted you to Darden?
    • What are your career goals? Short-term? Long-term?

You should also think about ways to highlight any leadership or global experiences, and you will want to leave time for sharing any meaningful hobbies/interests as well asking any questions you have about our Executive MBA program. 

You will have about 35–40 minutes for this conversation, and you should prepare accordingly. We recommend practicing telling your story to a friend, partner, spouse or colleague a few times in advance of your interview. Talking about yourself sounds easy, but it can be challenging to ensure you hit all your points given the time constraints. A little practice can go a long way!

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