Admissions, Application Tips, Exec Application Tips, Executive MBA

Executive MBA Admissions Tackles Applicants’ Most Commonly Asked Questions

By Brett Twitty-
exec-mba-faq

The launch of Darden’s Executive MBA Program application is right around the corner, and, in the spirit of the season, we wanted to answer some of the most commonly asked questions from our Executive MBA applicants.

The first Executive MBA application is just over one month away: 10 September. We offer monthly deadlines that are all focused on one enrollment date of August 20201 in order to give our busy Executive MBA applicants maximum flexibility. We encourage you to apply as soon as you feel you can submit a strong application.

Of course, we welcome the opportunity to get to know you! Schedule a conversation to connect one-on-one with a member of our Admissions Committee. We also invite you to join us for one of our upcoming application-themed webinars.

And now, bring on the questions!

Q: How can I learn more about the Executive MBA Program?
A: You’ve already successfully found your way to our blog (great job!), but did you know we also have a podcast? The ExecMBA Podcast is available on all major platforms, and features conversations with Executive MBA students, faculty, staff and alumni. It is a great way to hear firsthand from the people who shape and define our Executive MBA community.

We also have a number of helpful web resources, including our Application Process page and Frequently Asked Questions. We also invite you to join us for one of our upcoming online events. From small group “coffee chats” to topic-driven webinars, we have an event to meet you wherever you may be in your applicant journey.

Q: I haven’t had a chance to take a standardized test. What are my options?
A: When it comes to standardized tests, in the Executive MBA application process, applicants have two options — take a standardized test or submit a test waiver request.

Did you know: Applicants are required to report all valid (i.e. not expired or cancelled) standardized test scores in our application process. So, if you already have a valid EA, GMAT, GRE, MCAT or LSAT, you should apply with that score. No need to submit a test waiver request.

Standardized tests are just one piece of information in a much broader, holistic evaluation

Option 1: Take a standardized test. We accept several standardized tests — the Executive Assessment (EA), the GMAT, GRE, the MCAT and the LSAT — and we view these tests equivalently. We will also accept an older or expired score for any of these tests, but candidates who wish to submit an expired score will need to have access to their full score breakdown.

If you plan to take a test, we recommend choosing the test that best aligns with your strengths and application plans. In recent years, the EA has become the most popular test with our applicants. It was designed in consultation with top Executive MBA Programs and with executive format applicants (and their busy schedules in mind), and requires an average 20 hours of preparation.

Applicants planning to submit a test score with their application do not need to have taken the test by their target deadline. As long as we receive the test scores at least two days prior to the decision release date for the round in question, we can keep an applicant on schedule for an on-time decision release.

Self-reported scores are fine for the purposes of our application process, but you should also arrange for GMAC, ETS or Pearson Vue to send your official score report to the Darden Admissions office.

Option 2: Submit a test waiver request. We also offer standardized test waivers on a case-by-case basis. In the Executive MBA application process, our test waiver request form can be found in the “Test Scores” section of the application, and candidates who feel they have a strong case for a test waiver are welcome and encouraged to submit a waiver request. Waiver requests are considered along with the full application, and an update regarding the outcome of the waiver review will be provided at the time of decision.

In evaluating waiver requests, our Committee will pay particular attention to your prior coursework (both degree-related and non-degree-related), advanced degrees, professional certifications and work responsibilities.

Q: Do I have to choose my format at the time of applying?
A: No. You are applying to our Executive MBA Program — not a particular format. We do ask for your format preference, but this is simply for informational purposes, and it is not binding. Admitted students are offered their choice of formats (EMBA or GEMBA), and students formally indicate their format choice when accepting their offer.

Q: I noticed there are quite a few deadlines. When should I apply?

A: We offer monthly application deadlines to give applicants maximum flexibility. Each deadline is focused on one start date — August 2021 — and as our Deadlines page indicates, each deadline functions as a discrete round within our broader admissions cycle. Each deadline has its own interview period, target release date and deposit deadline.

The first deadline is 10 September, and we will accept applications until late June (or until our class fills). In recent cycles, we have used all of our application deadlines, and we encourage applicants to apply as soon as they feel they can put together a strong application. As a general rule, we have more flexibility and more scholarship money earlier in the cycle. As we move through each round, our class starts to take shape, and our scholarship budget is increasingly allocated.

Q: I applied in last year’s admissions cycle. Is there any special guidance for reapplicants?

A: Yes! If you applied in our prior admissions cycle for our Executive MBA Class of 2022, we would be happy to copy your application over to our new application period. To request this action, please complete and submit our Re-applicant Request Form.

Please note that you will need to provide answers to any new questions, and it is always a best practice to review previously submitted information for accuracy. In addition, all re-applicants are required to submit a new recommendation with their application.

Q: How many recommendations are required for the Executive MBA application process?
A: We require one recommendation for Executive MBA applicants. However, applicants are welcome to submit up to three (3) recommendations.

Q: I’m almost finished with my application, but I need a couple more days and the deadline is tomorrow. What should I do?
A: Contact us. We are generally able to accommodate applicants who need an extra day or two past our posted deadline to finalize their application. If you find yourself in this situation, please send us an email and we will advise you on next steps.


For more ways to get to know the Executive MBA Program, join Senior Director of Admissions Brett Twitty for our Executive MBA Application Launch webinar on Wednesday, 19 August at Noon ET. Register.

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