Senior Director of Admissions Brett Twitty and Director of Admissions Katherine Alford hosted an Executive MBA Application Launch webinar to kick off the new application cycle. 

During the session, Twitty and Alford shared insights about the application for the Executive MBA Class of 2024 as well as advice for Executive MBA program applicants. If you missed the session, or you simply want to review the conversation, check out a link to a recording of the webinar below and read on for five key app tips every Executive MBA applicant should know.

Watch: Executive MBA Application Launch Webinar

Five key tips for Executive MBA applicants:

  1. As you approach the application process, take a step back and think about your candidacy as our Admissions Committee will — holistically and objectively. What are your strengths? And what are those areas you may want to strengthen? What are those actions you can take now to ensure you are submitting your strongest possible application?
  2. The application is a storytelling exercise. Think about how each element of the application contributes to your overall narrative. Of course, you won’t be able to share everything about yourself in the application. With this mind, prioritize what is most important to you to convey in this initial introduction. Having a clear sense of priorities will help guide you as you shape your narrative. 
  3. Take advantage of parts of the application that allow your authentic voice to come through. These include the optional additional family information section, the short answer questions and your resume, to name a few. We are genuinely interested in getting to know you and understanding who you will be within the Darden community. The application is a great way for the Admissions Committee to begin to develop this picture. Of course, if you are invited for an interview, this is a further opportunity for us to hear your story and also assess those qualities that may be harder to judge from the application such as your communication style, your presence, how you relate to others, etc.
  4. Executive MBA applicants have two options when it comes to standardized tests — submit a test score OR submit a test waiver request with your application. How do you decide which option is right for you? When approaching this decision, it can be helpful to think about the role a standardized test typically plays in our evaluation process. It is a data point that can help our Admissions Committee understand your readiness for a rigorous MBA curriculum.

    Think objectively about your background, including any degree-related coursework, non-degree-related coursework (such as Coursera), professional certifications and work experience. Do you feel you can make a compelling case for your academic readiness for a rigorous MBA curriculum? Or, when you consider all of this information together, do you believe you would benefit from having a more recent data point regarding your academic readiness, i.e. a test score? We encourage you to choose the option that will allow you to put forward the strongest possible application.

    Pro Tip: It is also worth considering the full arc of the application review process when making your test/test waiver decision. Our admissions review is holistic in nature, but the scholarship process typically focuses on indicators of merit, for example degree-related coursework, standardized test score(s), professional certifications and career progression. While it is entirely possible to be granted a test waiver and receive a scholarship award, a test score can provide the Scholarship Committee one more piece of information to consider when making awards. If a scholarship will be an important part of your MBA decision, you may want to weigh this strategic consideration when finalizing your test/test waiver plans.
  5. The recommendation is typically one of the slowest parts of the application process. Get started early! As you choose your recommender, we encourage you to identify someone who knows you well. In the Executive MBA process, we do have a preference for a recommendation from your current supervisor since as an Executive MBA student, you will be working while pursuing your degree. We want to make sure you’ve talked with your supervisor about this decision and they are supportive of your participation in the program.

    However, we also recognize there are a number of reasons why an applicant might not choose their current supervisor as their recommender (new role, new relationship, etc.). If you choose a recommender other than your current supervisor, consider including a few sentences in the Additional Comments section of the application explaining your recommender choice. 

On a more general note, the Additional Comments section of the application is a great place for you to share more information about any aspect of your application you think would benefit from additional detail.    

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