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# Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants!

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SVP
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2008, 05:12
Finally recieved my interview invite!

congrats!!
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02 Dec 2008, 06:31
4
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liubhs02 wrote:
I've got a semi-stupid question. But I was having trouble finding more detailed information on it on Darden's website or HBS's. How exactly is the case method cases conducted? I get the general jist that you study a real business case along with the limited information and have to make decisions based on the information. But does anyone have any more in depth knowledge? Would some current students/alums like to share what a typical class is like? For example, how the professor choose the student to present the case, what that student typically do, how do the classmates play into the discussion, etc.

Here at the Darden, the case method usually goes something like this. At the start of class, the professor will usually cold-call on a student to lay out the case. This is an easy cold call, and basically the student is just expected to lay out the facts of the case and start identifying some of the issues. Anyone who has read the case can handle this first cold call with no problem, and of course every is expected to have read the case before class.

Then, the class will spend time discussing the various issues in the case. The professor will lead and direct the discussion, but the students will do most of the talking. Students volunteer if they want to contribute, so naturally some students do a lot of talking, and others are silent most of the time.

Then, depending on the type of class, about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through the professor will either cold-call someone or as for a volunteer to tackle the key element of the case. So for a finance or decision analysis case it might be to present a model or simulation structure, for a strategy case it might be to lay out a framework for attacking the major issues, etc. If this is a cold-call, it is considerably more challenging that the cold-call at the start of class. Then after the student called-upon presents their model or framework, the rest of the class comments and works towards a solution.

Case method is very similar to Socratic method, which is used by many law schools to lead their discussions. Basically, it's a method where a teacher asks a series of questions to get the students to think about certain ideas. Professors that are good at the case method are amazing in the way they can lead a class to learn the concepts that they are trying to get across. Sometimes, this includes allowing students to reach the wrong conclusion first (there is a famous decision analysis case here where students reach the wrong conclusion every single year) before directing them back onto the right path. Darden consistently has the highest rated professors (according to Princeton Review, which is the only group that rates this I believe) and it really shows during the first-year program. The case method is difficult to employ, and it's also very obvious when people are not good at teaching the case method. For example, I'm taking a class right now that's lead by a couple of guys that are retired professionals and not full-time professors. Their classes tend to be disjointed with random cold-calls that don't tie into the case at all. It really shows how difficult it is to teach class in this way, but the case method is "sticky learning" meaning you're more likely to learn something and retain it if you participate rather than just sit through a lecture. Hope that was informative.
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2008, 09:41
ac8706 wrote:
Finally recieved my interview invite!

congrats!!

solaris1 wrote:

Scheduled an interview for Monday, December 15. Is anyone around at that time?

Thanks guys!
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2008, 12:36
pelihu wrote:
liubhs02 wrote:
I've got a semi-stupid question. But I was having trouble finding more detailed information on it on Darden's website or HBS's. How exactly is the case method cases conducted? I get the general jist that you study a real business case along with the limited information and have to make decisions based on the information. But does anyone have any more in depth knowledge? Would some current students/alums like to share what a typical class is like? For example, how the professor choose the student to present the case, what that student typically do, how do the classmates play into the discussion, etc.

Here at the Darden, the case method usually goes something like this. At the start of class, the professor will usually cold-call on a student to lay out the case. This is an easy cold call, and basically the student is just expected to lay out the facts of the case and start identifying some of the issues. Anyone who has read the case can handle this first cold call with no problem, and of course every is expected to have read the case before class.

Then, the class will spend time discussing the various issues in the case. The professor will lead and direct the discussion, but the students will do most of the talking. Students volunteer if they want to contribute, so naturally some students do a lot of talking, and others are silent most of the time.

Then, depending on the type of class, about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through the professor will either cold-call someone or as for a volunteer to tackle the key element of the case. So for a finance or decision analysis case it might be to present a model or simulation structure, for a strategy case it might be to lay out a framework for attacking the major issues, etc. If this is a cold-call, it is considerably more challenging that the cold-call at the start of class. Then after the student called-upon presents their model or framework, the rest of the class comments and works towards a solution.

Case method is very similar to Socratic method, which is used by many law schools to lead their discussions. Basically, it's a method where a teacher asks a series of questions to get the students to think about certain ideas. Professors that are good at the case method are amazing in the way they can lead a class to learn the concepts that they are trying to get across. Sometimes, this includes allowing students to reach the wrong conclusion first (there is a famous decision analysis case here where students reach the wrong conclusion every single year) before directing them back onto the right path. Darden consistently has the highest rated professors (according to Princeton Review, which is the only group that rates this I believe) and it really shows during the first-year program. The case method is difficult to employ, and it's also very obvious when people are not good at teaching the case method. For example, I'm taking a class right now that's lead by a couple of guys that are retired professionals and not full-time professors. Their classes tend to be disjointed with random cold-calls that don't tie into the case at all. It really shows how difficult it is to teach class in this way, but the case method is "sticky learning" meaning you're more likely to learn something and retain it if you participate rather than just sit through a lecture. Hope that was informative.

That was great! Thanks!
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2008, 16:18
pelihu wrote:
Then, the class will spend time discussing the various issues in the case. The professor will lead and direct the discussion, but the students will do most of the talking. Students volunteer if they want to contribute, so naturally some students do a lot of talking, and others are silent most of the time.

Thanks for the quick response. I was wondering, for the discussion. Is it like a back and forth debate on what the best approach is or is it mostly professor led. For example, professor poses a question at an angle that the cold-call student has not thought about?
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2008, 07:48
liubhs02 wrote:
Thanks for the quick response. I was wondering, for the discussion. Is it like a back and forth debate on what the best approach is or is it mostly professor led. For example, professor poses a question at an angle that the cold-call student has not thought about?

Well, it depends a lot on the professor and the particular students in each class, but a lot of the discussion during class relates to ideas that students have. This is why work experience is so important to MBA admissions, because within a few weeks it's completely obvious who has relevant work experience, and those people are really the ones that you most like to hear from in class (even if you don't agree with them). People with little experience are rarely useful in class and it's a burden to everyone that has to listen to them. As I've pointed out in other threads, students really prefer to be in class with others who have stories and experiences that they can contribute.

Of course, if the discussion goes completely off-topic, the professor will interject and try to lead people back on track. This is especially true in the first-year core courses because there are basic things that everyone needs to learn. In more theoretical courses, the discussion can go anywhere, and in fact I've heard professors say things like "that discussion really didn't go the way I expected". But really, it's a very rare occasion that a class of 60 people cannot hit on all the issues (really rare as in maybe once during all the classes I've been in so far) and the professor has to really interject.
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2008, 12:26
just got the invite!! yessss
Director
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2008, 12:40
terp26 wrote:
just got the invite!! yessss

congrats man!!
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2008, 12:42
terp26 wrote:
just got the invite!! yessss

congrats!!
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2008, 13:14
congrats terp26! book ur date asap. not many remaining now. monday, december 15 is supposed to be the preferred date (i m interviewing).
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2008, 13:20
terp26 wrote:
just got the invite!! yessss

Well done!!!
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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05 Dec 2008, 09:04
Eeeeeright dudes, last post before I make the lovely drive down 29 to Charlottesville for my interview Monday. Will have Karate Kid II and Rocky IV soundtrack blasting for motivation. I'll check back in after the interview.
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05 Dec 2008, 09:06
Good luck bud! Looking forward to your debrief!

McDargoiowkel wrote:
Eeeeeright dudes, last post before I make the lovely drive down 29 to Charlottesville for my interview Monday. Will have Karate Kid II and Rocky IV soundtrack blasting for motivation. I'll check back in after the interview.

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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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05 Dec 2008, 09:09
Good Luck!
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05 Dec 2008, 09:14
Best of luck! Knock em dead!
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05 Dec 2008, 10:17
I can see the Rocky IV soundtrack, but Karate Kid II???
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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05 Dec 2008, 16:00
1
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Just got back from my interview today down at Darden. All in all a great experience. If you can, I would recommend planning on taking advantage of the lunch with faculty and the tour of the grounds (which are amazing by the way).

My interview was with a second year. Very low threat and conversational. Be prepared to tell your story.... I mean from high school. Why you chose your undergrad school, why your major. What have you done in your career, why an MBA, why Darden, why now. Particulary important is to talk about the case method and why it is right for you. The darden website has a pretty good description of the case method.

I had my interview in the afternoon (2:30) and I'm glad that it was then. It gave me lunch and the tour to ask questions and get a feel for the school. I think fit is hugely important at Darden. It is a very structured and academically vigorous program. After visiting a couple of other schools (M7s), I felt at some it was like "I am in this and that club, and meet with this and that person, and oh yeah, by the way, I go to class too." At Darden, the academics (especially in the first three quarters) are the first priority.

So I pretty much just started talking. My interviewer interjected with leading questions when he wanted to get some more information or wanted to take the interview down a certain path. It was about 45 minutes long and he took me afterward to meet with one of the adcom reps and I spoke with her for another 30 minutes or so.

I will say that this experience was class act all the way. Very intimate and personal.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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05 Dec 2008, 16:22
domtri33 wrote:
Just got back from my interview today down at Darden. All in all a great experience. If you can, I would recommend planning on taking advantage of the lunch with faculty and the tour of the grounds (which are amazing by the way).

My interview was with a second year. Very low threat and conversational. Be prepared to tell your story.... I mean from high school. Why you chose your undergrad school, why your major. What have you done in your career, why an MBA, why Darden, why now. Particulary important is to talk about the case method and why it is right for you. The darden website has a pretty good description of the case method.

I had my interview in the afternoon (2:30) and I'm glad that it was then. It gave me lunch and the tour to ask questions and get a feel for the school. I think fit is hugely important at Darden. It is a very structured and academically vigorous program. After visiting a couple of other schools (M7s), I felt at some it was like "I am in this and that club, and meet with this and that person, and oh yeah, by the way, I go to class too." At Darden, the academics (especially in the first three quarters) are the first priority.

So I pretty much just started talking. My interviewer interjected with leading questions when he wanted to get some more information or wanted to take the interview down a certain path. It was about 45 minutes long and he took me afterward to meet with one of the adcom reps and I spoke with her for another 30 minutes or so.

I will say that this experience was class act all the way. Very intimate and personal.

Hope this helps.

Great debrief domtri33. Best of luck!
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06 Dec 2008, 06:18
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Had my interview yesterday. It was with a 2Y and a member of the Adcom, and like the previous poster said, very casual. She (adcom member) wanted to hear about my life story - from where I was born up until now, in about 30 minutes. I honestly wasn't prepared for that, but I can talk, so I brought 'em up to speed. Then the "Why Darden?" question, which I think was pretty easy. I totally brain farted at one point and forgot to say something about the case method, but then threw it in there later, much to my own relief. The whole thing was about 45 minutes.

Then we had a little tour of the place by a 1Y and lunch with some professors. Most of the other applicants there were pretty cool people - lots of very attractive ladies, in case that piques your interest - and everyone was very nice. Compared to every other B-school I've visited (Stanford, Haas, Kellogg, Fuqua, UNC) Darden is by far the nicest facility. (Though Haas gives it a run for its money.)

Now a good story. My interview was at 10AM, meaning I needed to be there to register by 9:30. I'm staying at a friend's house, so I woke at 8, showered/shaved, went back to my bag and realized I had forgotten to pack a dressy white shirt. Balls! I busted into my friend's room (who had returned at 4AM from his bartending shift - it was a late night for me too, I'm afraid) and went straight for his closet. His one white collared shirt was stained with coffee. Hmm. So I jump in my car and run over to KMart. Bought a $20 boxed shirt that even came with a tie. Had time to stop by Bodo's for some bagels on my way back to his house. Got dressed, took a quick look online to make sure I wasn't supposed to bring my resume, and left at 9:15 and knocked that shit out of the park. Moral of the story: my$20 shirt = your \$75 one. Woot!
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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants! [#permalink]

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06 Dec 2008, 11:06
PHEW..... talk about getting a breather... .... and I was losing hope.......
Ms. Sara Neher herself reveals on her blog that not even a single international invite has been sent yet.......(but almost Half of the US invites are sent).....
So my International friends, the game's not even started yet........ dont fret...... CHILL......

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Re: Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants!   [#permalink] 06 Dec 2008, 11:06

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# Calling all Darden Fall 2009 applicants!

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