Admissions, Darden Community, Equity and Inclusion, Full-Time MBA

Darden Diversity Conference Goes Virtual, Apply to Attend

By Maggie Dodson-

We welcome Associate Director of Diversity Recruitment Marc Paulo Guzman back to the blog for a Q&A about Darden’s upcoming Diversity Conference (1-3 October). This year’s event will be fully virtual — making it more accessible than ever!

Read on for insights about this year’s virtual event, as well as new and exciting additions to the program.

Interested in learning more about this year’s Diversity Conference?

Join Guzman on 17 August at 6:30 p.m. EDT for an online session featuring insights into this year’s event. The session will feature more information about the application process, the broader goals for the conference and programming highlights. Sign up here. We hope to see you online!

Q: What is the Diversity Conference?

A: The Darden Diversity Conference is an opportunity for prospective students to experience how Darden embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion. The conference provides special focus for prospective students from diverse backgrounds, including women, LGBTQ+ and members of under-represented domestic racial or ethnic communities.

The event also brings together current students and alumni from diverse backgrounds, or whose lives and career passions echo themes of diversity and inclusion. The mission of the conference is to help diverse candidates see themselves as potential students at Darden, experience the value of the case method as it relates to diversity and inclusion (D&I) and connect with members across the Darden community.

During the conference, participants will meet leaders of affinity clubs, Darden Student Association and other students passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). We will also feature breakout sessions focusing on memberships and scholarships through the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, Forté Foundation and Reaching Out for MBA.

We’re excited to announce new programming and incentives to those who attend! While we wish we were in person, we will be providing high-touch, high-engagement connections that mimic the Darden MBA student experience.

Marc Paulo Guzman, associate director of diversity recruitment

New for the 2020 Diversity Conference is the addition of pre-conference learning teams; students will be grouped into teams that mimic the learning experience with which students prep for cases prior to class. Each team will be led by a current student to guide the learning team process. Additionally, each student will be paired with current students who will serve as points of contact before and after the conference, as well through their application process.

Additional incentives include an application fee waiver to anyone who applies directly to Darden*. Stay tuned for additional incentives and surprises to come!

Q: What are you hoping to learn through the application process?

A: The goal of the application is to learn more about our potential participants and any D&I needs they may have. The application also allows us to make sure the conference is a good match for potential attendees. We hope that each person’s personal goals resonate with our broader vision for the event.

The application itself is fairly brief and should take no more than one hour to complete. Students will be asked to share some basic personal information (biographical details, academic background, etc.), upload a resume and answer a short essay question: “Introduce yourself and tell us why you would like to attend the Darden Diversity Conference (300 words).”

In addition, as a benefit for individuals who submit a Diversity Conference application and have not previously opened an application for one of the application rounds, the information you share in your Diversity Conference application will automatically create an application for the current application cycle. We hope this will save you some time should you decide to apply to Darden in this year’s cycle!

Q: How do you think you’ll choose attendees? Any sense of how you will approach the application review process?

A: We will prioritize those who plan to apply for this application cycle. That said, we also welcome candidates who are still in the earlier exploration stages of the MBA admissions process, and we hope to have them in attendance, space permitting.

Q: Any tips for Diversity Conference applicants?

A: First and foremost, give yourself time to put together a quality application. The essay, while pretty short (300 words), is a great opportunity for you to introduce yourself to our team. We have really enjoyed reading the responses we’ve received so far, and we look forward to hearing from additional prospective students in the coming weeks.

Apply early. Since space is limited, we will take note of the order in which applicants apply.

If you are invited to attend, please be sure to reply before the RSVP deadline, or else we will open your spot to another applicant on the waiting list.

Lastly, attendees planning to apply to join the Darden Full-Time MBA Class of 2023 will also have an opportunity to schedule an interview after the Diversity Conference (unless you applied in Early Action).

Q: When you think about this year’s Diversity Conference, what are you most excited about?

A: I am excited for prospective students to learn more about the Darden experience. During the three day virtual event, participants will be able to hear from current and former students about their experiences with diversity, inclusion and belonging at Darden.

I’m looking forward to attendees learning how much agency students have in creating positive change and fostering inclusion and belonging within the Darden community. Finally, I am excited for attendees to hear from our faculty and leadership team about the mission and vision of DEI in and out of the classroom.

Like last year, we plan to have representation and exposure from companies from various industries. We hope to hear from alumni at those companies about their professional lives, viewed through the lens of DEI.

We will also be showcasing how alumni can remain engaged with the Darden community after they graduate, including the contributions of the Dean’s Diversity Advisory Council (DDAC). We hope that this conference will provide a full-circle experience of the Darden community.

For more information, or to start an application, visit the Diversity Conference web page


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