Our Full-Time MBA application for the Classes of 2024, enrolling August 2022, is now live. The Executive MBA program application will be available this week as well — keep an eye on the blog for updates!

We will feature a number of application-focused posts on the Discover Darden blog, “All About the Application…” throughout the current application cycle. Subscribe to the blog to stay up to date on the latest application insights!

Here are four tips for approaching Darden’s application process:

1. What deadline makes most sense for you?

We encourage candidates to apply when you feel like you can put together a strong application. It’s typically better to focus on putting together your best application rather than rushing your materials to meet an earlier deadline, but it is also true that, with each passing deadline, fewer seats in our class will be available, and we will have less scholarship money to award. We realize there are many factors at play when it comes to submitting an application, and we offer multiple deadlines for just this reason! 

Full-time MBA: Early Action is the first deadline (9 September), and is unique in that there is a binding option (for candidates who know Darden is their top choice) and there are also limited open interview slots. In all other rounds, interviews are by invitation only. Check out the full list of application deadlines here.

Executive MBA formats: We offer monthly deadlines to give busy working professional applicants maximum flexibility. In the Executive MBA process, interviews are post-submission and by invitation only. Check out the full list of application deadlines for the Executive MBA program here.

2. Do an application walk-through.

Take 10-15 minutes to simply read through the application. As you likely know by now, every school requires something a little different in the application process. Reading through our application before you get started will help you better plan and strategize your Darden approach.

While our application can likely be completed in a day or two of focused work, the strongest applications are the product of careful thought, intentionality and reflection. Giving yourself some time to get organized will put you on a path to your best application.

Application pro-tip: New for this year, we have added an Application Instructions section to our application. Here you will find instructions, tips and insights for each section of the application.

3. What’s your story?

Believe it or not, the application process is a storytelling exercise. In the most compelling applications, it is clear the applicant has done a great deal of self-reflection and has a clear understanding of why they are pursuing an MBA and where they hope to go post-MBA.

Rather than thinking about the different pieces of the application as disconnected parts, think about how they both complement and supplement this broader story. Each element of your application can contribute to this overall narrative of who you are and who you will be in the Darden classroom and community.

4. Take a step back (and have fun!)

Consider how both personal and professional dimensions can help to highlight your candidacy. Think about your application as our Admissions Committee will — holistically and objectively. What are the strengths of your application? What are those areas that you may want to strengthen?

Darden is known for being challenging, and our Admissions Committee wants to put you in a position to be successful as a student. As a result, we will look for indicators of your academic preparation — including undergraduate and graduate coursework, standardized test scores, professional certifications, additional non-degree-related coursework and even work responsibilities.

However, Darden also has a well-deserved reputation for its tight-knit community, collaborative spirit, and its high-engagement learning environment. With this in mind, we also want to get to know you through your application. Be sure to take full advantage of those parts of our application (short answer questions, resume, interview (by invitation), etc.) that allow you to highlight your passions and your personality.

And last but not least, approach the process with joy and pride in your accomplishments! Applying to business school is an exciting time, and we encourage you to enjoy the ride. You will meet incredible people along the way, and you will also learn a lot about yourself. Best of luck as you embark upon this journey!

Did you know? After the interview, your interviewer will write up the conversation. This evaluation will become part of your overall application and one of the materials our Admissions Committee reviews when evaluating your candidacy.

Be sure to consult the Latest News regularly for the most updated news releases and media hits. Check out faculty thought leadership published on Ideas to ActionAnd stay connected with us via social media: FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitterWeChat.