For essay #2 (how do you xontribute to the experience of other Darden students), I hesistate to say the typical stuff. Does anyone have a clever approach to answering this? I feel like all applicants will eddentially say the same thing...?
I'd love to know what you think most applicants would say
Don't be clever just to be clever. Usually it comes off as stupid, not clever. Here's how I approach it.
Find a few things you are interested in on an extracurricular level. Pick one or two that the rest of your story supports (i.e. if you've talked about a passion for skiing already bring that in). Now, talk about your experience skiing, your passion for it, and how you'd love to take a leadership role in the INSERT SKI CLUB HERE.
Then, move on to something non extracurricular, like who are as a person.
Talk about how thats a good fit. And of course, you know its a good fit because ...... (tie it back again). If you strugle with this, imagine the question was "Describe a person you would want to be stuck in an elevator with" - then describe yourself and then ask yourself, if you were the adcom, would you want to be stuck in an elevator with this person?
Then get into what everyone needs to talk about and what 98% of candidates probably focus on: Work experience. Talk a little about your strengths at work, use an example, and then relate this back to darden and how it will add value to the classrooms. This could be anything, just again, tie it back.
I have a little humor "tag line" I use at the end of these kinds of essays, I cant divulge it, but try and use something thats colloquial - balancing out the "Serious" aspect of the "I'm a f!@*(#! leader at work" part of your essay and ending on a soft note. So that the adcom ends reading your essay with a little smirk and thinks "hah, this guy seems like he'd be fun."
The key to these essays is not being creative, its being convincing
. Think back to your GMAT and compare the two sentences below.
To Darden I will contribute many things, such as joining the skiing club and skiing at resorts nearby with students.
Given my years of experience skiing across Europe and the US, I've developed a real passion for the sport. So much so, that last year I used every single day of vacation I had on a ski slope! I would thus love to join the Skiing Club in a leadership role and help students interested in the sport. Although Darden is located on the east coast, there are numerous ski resorts nearby (check to make sure of course, or you will sound stupid if you are wrong) and while not the French Alps, I look forward to them all the same."
This shows me:
(1) You have a passion for something
(2) I believe you that you actually give a crap about it
(3) You probably have the experience to be a leader in this thing
(4) You've done your research cause you know Darden has a ski club (I dont know if they do, so dont use my example!) and that there are ski resorts nearby.
1+2+3+4 = I believe you will actually probably do this.
You can take this another direction too and say something like "I'd love to plan a trip to my old ski resort in France with the ski club." whatever.