The Part-Time MBA’s first application deadline is just a few weeks away on 1 October. With this in mind, we wanted to share a few of our best tips for Part-Time MBA applicants, and take on one of our most popular FAQs: What is the Admissions Committee looking for in a Part-Time MBA applicant?

Planning to apply in the 1 October application round, or just interested to hear more about the application process? Join Darden Admissions for the Part-Time Application Hotline webinar on 29 September at 6 p.m. Eastern. Register here to save your spot.

Darden’s Admissions Committee is seeking students who are interested in being active and engaged participants in their MBA experience, who are passionate learners, who are prepared and excited for a challenging MBA curriculum and who have a clear understanding of their story — what they have achieved, where they hope to go, and how an MBA, and more specifically, a Darden MBA, aligns with their goals and plans.

Yael Grushka-Cockayne teaches a hybrid course during fall 2020.

As Senior Associate Dean Yael Grushka-Cockayne shared in her previous blog Q&A, Darden has an incredible reflective quality. The more you put into the experience, the more you will get out of it.

Without further ado, read on for five tips for Part-Time MBA applicants:

1. Approaching the Application

Approach the application as a storytelling exercise. The application is an initial introduction to you as a candidate. What is most important to you to convey during this initial introduction? Taking some time to reflect on your story before beginning your application, and considering how your narrative maps onto the various parts of the application will ensure you are putting your best foot forward. In the Part-Time MBA application process, interviews are by invitation-only. If you are invited for an interview, this will be an additional opportunity for you to tell your story and supplement the information in your application.

2. Application Dimensions

There are three key dimensions to any MBA application — academic, professional and personal.

How are you making your case across each of these dimensions? What are your strengths? What are those areas you may want to bolster? For those areas you may want to strengthen, what can you do now? We encourage you to focus your time and attention on those things that are still within your control — for example, your story — as you embark upon the application process.

3. Standardized Tests

Part-Time MBA applicants have two options for standardized tests:

    1. Submit a test score and submit a test waiver with their application materials. We accept a number of standardized tests in the Part-Time MBA application process – Executive Assessment (EA), GMAT, GRE, MCAT and LSAT. Be sure to also check out our blog post all about the Executive Assessment. In our Part-Time MBA process, we will also accept older or expired scores for any of the graduate standardized tests outlined above. However, you will need access to the full score breakdown if you wish to submit an older or expired test score with your application materials.
    2. For applicants considering a test waiver request, we encourage you to take a step back from your application and think about your candidacy as our Admissions Committee will — holistically and objectively. Based upon the information in your application, do you feel like you can make a strong case for your readiness for an MBA curriculum? Or would you benefit from a more recent data point regarding your academic readiness that a standardized test score can provide? Pro Tip: In the Part-Time MBA application process, test waiver requests are evaluated along with the full application and an update is provided regarding the waiver request at the time of decision.

4. Short Answer Questions

Part-Time MBA applicants will respond to several short answer questions, rather than one long essay. We ask several questions to give you an opportunity to share more about you and your background and experiences, and you may notice that none of the questions are about why you are interested in Darden. At this point in the process, we want to get to know you, and we encourage you to think about how these questions can help you advance your narrative. Darden is a participatory learning environment, so your experiences, your values, your perspective will not only shape your learning experience, but will also contribute to the learning experiences of your classmates’ too.

5. Recommender Choice

When it comes to recommender choice for Part-Time MBA applicants, we have a preference for hearing from your current supervisor. After all, Part-Time MBA students will be working during the program, and we want to make sure your supervisor is aware and supportive of your interest in pursuing your MBA. Of course, there are a number of valid reasons why you might not ask your current supervisor to be your recommender (new role, new company, new manager). If you choose someone other than your current supervisor to be your recommender, simply include a note explaining your recommender choice in the Additional Comments section of the application.

Best of luck, and as always, we are here to help! Schedule a 1:1 conversation with a member of our Admissions team or send us a note at

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