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I'm not sure about highly accomplished, but I was fortunate that my experience matched perfectly with the criteria they were looking for in a particular award. It was based on entrepreneurship and the person who endowed the award required demonstrated entrepreneurial experiences (rather than just an interest in pursuing entrepreneurship). I also think that might interview might have played a big role. My interviewer and I really hit it off and we talked for twice the scheduled time; and of course Darden really likes to get to know applicants personally.
I don't know how it works at most other schools, but Darden seems to have a pretty decent supply of cash to dole out. Some scholarships are tied to certain characteristics. Some are for underrepresented minorities, some are for women, we have a few scholarships reserved for students from certain parts of the world. I know there are a few memorial scholarships set up by past classes to honor fellow students who passed away unexpectedly, and the criteria are generally set up to parallel the interests of the person being memorialized. A few are reserved for people with a media background, and a few more are reserved for people who apply early, and of course there are quite a few that have no set criteria; I'm not sure which are 100% scholarships. Based on very casual observation, I think a high GMAT score could be helpful in getting a scholarship offer. More accurately, I think a GMAT score below the school average could make it extremely difficult to get a scholarship offer.
Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).
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