Today’s post is authored by Second Year student Luke Stephens (Class of 2021). Stephens is a member of the Second Year Admissions Committee, a group of students who work alongside Darden’s Admissions team to recruit future classes of MBA students. This group of students also serves as informal ambassadors to the Darden experience, lending their own knowledge and expertise to prospective students and applicants. 

Stephens and fellow Second Year Admissions Committee members Daniel Weidman (Class of 2021) and Louis Margules (Class of 2021) recently hosted a webinar about connecting with Darden. They highlighted the best channels to gather information about Darden, and shared insights about their own application journeys. View the recording here. 

By Luke Stephens

Luke Stephens, Class of 2021

Choosing to pursue an MBA is a significant life decision. It might involve leaving your job, moving across the world, and putting the rest of your life on hold for two years. While there is no substitute for visiting Grounds and sitting in on a live class session, there are still many ways that you can connect with Darden until (and even after) we re-open to in-person visitors.

Send a message to a Student Ambassador:

If you have specific questions to ask of a current student, connect with one of our many Student Ambassadors. Schedule time to have an open conversation where you can ask about the things that are the most important to you. If there are very specific topics that you would like to discuss that the Ambassador is not as familiar with, you might also request to be connected with one of their peers so that you can learn more.

Schedule a conversation or coffee chat with a member of the Admissions Committee or with a Darden student, staff member, or alum:

If you have questions related to the details of the application process, it might be a good idea to schedule a fifteen-minute one-on-one conversation with Admissions. You can also attend coffee chats with students, staff members, and alumni. For those interested, you can find conversations and coffee chats specific to MBA Women’s Recruiting and MBA Diversity Recruiting. Please note the following: MBA Conversations and Coffee Chats are intended for candidates who have not yet submitted an application to Darden. Due to the high demand for these sessions, please limit your coffee chat and conversation sign ups to 1 per month.

Other events: Keep an eye on our master Events web page for other opportunities to connect. Some events you might find that have not been mentioned above include panel discussions with some of our student-run clubs, “Ask Me Anything” webinars with professors, and application prep seminars. Space is limited in many of these events!

Follow the Experience Darden podcast:

The Experience Darden podcast is a great way to learn a lot about Darden that you might not be able to find anywhere else. Join host Brett Twitty from Darden Admissions as he chats with various members of the Darden community. Recent episodes include: guidance on preparing for your Darden interview, insights into how Darden has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a “hybrid” learning environment, and chats with current student leaders across many different organizations at Darden.

Follow the DardenMBA YouTube channel:

The Darden YouTube channel has hundreds of videos on subjects spanning student views, admissions tips, faculty profiles, educational webinars, and more. This was a prime source of information for me as I was applying to Darden. While watching some of the YouTube videos, you might find things that are of interest to you, which you can learn more about through chatting with an Ambassador or an Admissions team member.


I personally have spoken to at least three potential applicants who reached out to me directly on LinkedIn. If you wish to connect with someone who has worked at a specific company or attended the same undergraduate institution as you, LinkedIn might be a good way to find them. However, if you choose to pursue this route, please know that all students are extremely busy and you are not guaranteed to receive a response.

You owe it to yourself to be as informed as possible during your application process. In a time when you are not able to visit us in person, we want to help you make sure that you are still able to connect with us. Please reach out to us through any of the channels mentioned above, and also follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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