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Darden Interview [#permalink] New post 04 Oct 2006, 05:40
Well everyone, the long road to the MBA is coming to its summit on Friday when I will interview at Darden. I have been preparing for this moment for a very long time. The school has been a part of my family for thirty years and I am excited for the opportunity to tell them my story. I must admit that I am nervous, I havent interviewed in quite some time and to be going to my top choice first is unsettling. However, I am just going to be myself and tell them my story - I have accomplished a lot professionally and personally and hopefully that will shine through.

When I get back I will let everyone know how it went and a detailled summary of the experience. It will be nice just to finally be on a campus, visit a class, and see what an MBA is all about instead of reading the literature on it.

I do have some weaknesses in my application, but this is the opportunity to sell myself. Remember everyone, this is about much more then statistics - this is about showing you have the ability to make strong business decisions and lead. Best of luck to everyone on this board - you have been an inspiration for me to push myself to a higher level.
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Oct 2006, 07:34
All the best! Indeed this is a great steps towards your goals.
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Oct 2006, 09:44
All the best. Thats my dream school too. Hope I get an invite sooner.

Best of luck to you...... go break a leg
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Oct 2006, 10:13
jaynayak wrote:
All the best. Thats my dream school too. Hope I get an invite sooner.

Best of luck to you...... go break a leg


Jaynayak, I believe that Darden has applicant initiated interviews, and they are conducted on campus only. It's no picnic for us here on the west coast, but it must be tremendously difficult for someone in India.
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Oct 2006, 18:36
Go for it. Please let me know what kind of questions you get asked.

My Kellogg interview was just scheduled.
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Oct 2006, 20:06
pelihu wrote:
jaynayak wrote:
All the best. Thats my dream school too. Hope I get an invite sooner.

Best of luck to you...... go break a leg


Jaynayak, I believe that Darden has applicant initiated interviews, and they are conducted on campus only. It's no picnic for us here on the west coast, but it must be tremendously difficult for someone in India.


It sure is. I will be submitting the application soon. Then starts the waiting game.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2006, 13:45
Ok guys - I had my first day at Darden today and let me tell you - it was amazing. First of all, I was born in Charlottesville so this is a sort of homecoming for me. I woke up at 3 am this morning, took a shower, was out the door by 3:45 (I had a 6 AM flight and I live an hour from the airport). I arrived on campus around 9:00, walked the grounds for a while after checking in - it is a beautiful place. Around 10 I walked into the admissions office and one of the coordinators was just taking someone out to a class - she asked if I wanted to sit in on it since I was early (I was scheduled for the 11:45 class) so I figured why not.

When you go to class they make you introduce yourself, then we had to give them an interesting fact or embarassing moment - I bombed it because I was totally not expecting to talk but it was all in good fun. After the class I met with some of the students, the class liason was nice enough to offer me her contact info in case I have any questions after I leave - these people are friendly.

Then I was on to my second class, this time I had my own guide and he seemed to know everyone on campus - seriously - an e-mail had just gone out with his picture and name to everyone in the first year class because he apparently stole some groups mascot and for them to get it back they are performing a scene from romeo and juliet at first coffee tomorrow - in drag. Seriously, it was like something out of animal house - I am going to check this out tomorrow morning and see for myself if they act it out.

After class I got to speak to everyone in my guides group - they were all very friendly, most of them getting into long side conversations with me. On our way back I was greeted by people in the hallway who remembered me from the first class - my guide took note and said I was already making a name for myself at Darden.

When I returned to the admissions office, I chatted with the guide for about ten minutes and then we returned to the reception desk - they gave him something to fill out (I guess a mini review of our time together?). The admissions coordinator asked me if I would mind moving my interview scheduled for tomorrow at 9:30 out to 10:30 and I said I would love to - I was dead tired from waking up at 3am, sitting through 2 classes, and socializing. She said, "great, because I already changed it - the director of admissions called me and asked to interview you personally" - I guess being the child of alumni has its benefits.

I am nervous as hell but I am just going in there and being myself. I held my own with these kids today and Darden truly is a great school. These kids are some of the most driven people I have ever met.

I will fill you all in tomorrow after my interview.

Last edited by OasisNYK on 08 Oct 2006, 05:41, edited 1 time in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2006, 16:33
excellent post Oasis, go have more fun and tell us about the interview when you get back.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2006, 17:12
Makes me want to apply to darden.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2006, 11:56
Ok I am back from my first b-school campus experience. It was fantastic and totally reaffirmed my belief that I have made the right choice in pursuing an MBA. It also reaffirmed my belief that Darden is the school for me. I am not looking for an MBA factory, I am looking for a truly dynamic experience and I believe Darden offers that.

I had my interview on Friday with the admissions director. I also brought my girlfriend along so she could talk with some of the staff and find out what it is like to be the partner of someone who is attending the school. We both came away feeling Darden was the place for us if I get accepted.

As far as the interview - its pretty open ended. The director and I chatted for a couple of minutes and then she got down to business and told me the interview should continue as a conversation but I should tell her about myself and I have full control of the interview. I let her know this is exactly how I run my interviews at work and many times the person across the table cant handle how open ended it is. She agreed - and then I got into my personal story. Thats when I started to get nervous and jump around a little more then I wanted to. I began with a little family history (my father went to Darden) and then I got into my professional career - skipping over college (yikes). At one point when I ran out of things to say in my train of thought, I commented on how hard interviews like this are and she smiled and agreed. I settled down though and got into my hardest experiences as a manager, telling her about the first time I had to fire someone and asking if she has had that expereince. At one point she did ask me what I do outside of work and I covered working out and going to concerts - I could have done better on this one because I do a lot more then that but those are two things I am passionate about. I also discussed my time in college, my poor undergraduate record and how I had to prove my academic worth in order to graduate on time. Throughout the interview she made an effort to relate to me and I tried my best to cover the major talking points that show I am mature enough and smart enough to earn an MBA at Darden.

When it came time for me to ask questions I only covered two because our time limit was already over an hour. Believe me it went fast - and she agreed on that as well. At the end we discussed leadership, the direction of the school, how it has changed since my Dad attended.

I left with a good feeling - and I think I did well, of course I could have done better after replaying it in my head and analyzing the entire event - but I believe I helped my cause.

Then I met with a guy whom I have been keeping in touch with by phone and e-mail - he got me the interview with the director. He took me into his office and basically gave me a second mini interview. I stressed how great the experience was and let him know that Darden was my number one choice - something I didnt stress at the end of my official interview and I will cover in my thank you (I cant believe I missed that one, but nerves can throw you off your game). I was very clear with him though, and I am hoping when its time to compare candidates - I will have two people on my side pushing to admit me. We will see - now I have to finish the essays and submit.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2006, 13:07
Great summary. I have always liked Virginia's campus. I last visited some time ago when I was making my final decision on law school. The architecture and grounds are amazing.

Like many others, I have been wondering about Darden's recent numbers (GMAT 668, 49.1% admit, 39% yield). I actually asked their representative at the MBA Tour about them and she acknowledged them but said she didn't believe they would affect job prospects down the road.

I do think it is an awesome school and I'm almost sure I will be including it on my list (I'd prefer to go someplace that isn't freezing in the winter if possible). Darden really does have a lot going for it and your report certainly shows that. I'm just concerned that their numbers will precipitate a fall in prestige down the road. Any thoughts?
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2006, 13:08
pelihu wrote:
Great summary. I have always liked Virginia's campus. I last visited some time ago when I was making my final decision on law school. The architecture and grounds are amazing.

Like many others, I have been wondering about Darden's recent numbers (GMAT 668, 49.1% admit, 39% yield). I actually asked their representative at the MBA Tour about them and she acknowledged them but said she didn't believe they would affect job prospects down the road.

I do think it is an awesome school and I'm almost sure I will be including it on my list (I'd prefer to go someplace that isn't freezing in the winter if possible). Darden really does have a lot going for it and your report certainly shows that. I'm just concerned that their numbers will precipitate a fall in prestige down the road. Any thoughts?


Where did you see a 49.1% admit?
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2006, 13:27
This appears in the 2007 US News Graduate School Rankings. There were several highly unusual numbers for this year. Duke had a 45.6% admit rate, but their average GMAT was 701. Cornell had a 660 average GMAT and a 34.4% admit rate.

Darden's admit rate, average GMAT and yield actually puts it down with the next cluster of schools like North Carolina and Purdue. Now, I'm not suggesting that Darden is not an elite school. You guys may remember that I've stated in other posts that I have a very positive opinion of Darden and I would certainly go of accepted (depending on other acceptances of course).

The big concern is whether these numbers will have a trickle down effect on employment and prestige down the road. As they say, the MBA is the brand you hold for your entire career - the last thing anyone wants is to have their brand lose value in the future. I was told that the admit rate at Darden was a function of a 25% increase in class size that year - and I anticipate that as people see the average GMAT and admit rate they will apply in greater numbers so the admit rate should go down in the future.

On the flip side, I think that Yale will continue to move up in the rankings. They have a super-premium name of course. But there is also evidence that they have been making a concerted effort to increase their hard numbers. For example average GMAT went up from 683 to 701 in the last year. Combined with an admit rate of 28.1% and you can't help but think that they are on the way up. I don't think I will be applying, but I do believe the value of its MBA brand will increase in the future.

On the plus side, Darden had the highest rate of employment for an elite/ultra 3 months after graduation at 95.4%. Their average salary was also certainly in with the elite crowd. I think the numbers are a temporary blip but it makes sense to find out for yourself.

Will be interesting to see if anyone talks about this in the BW webcast when the announce their rankings. Maybe I will ask.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2006, 15:50
I think Darden is making an effort to raise its stats this year and as far as brand name - I wouldnt be too concerned with Darden losing its image.

Yale seems to be where Darden was 30 years ago (althought Yale is Yale as most people say) their program is young and ambitious. They do not yet have the network of alumni that other schools have. By the way, Darden is usually ranked at or near the top in terms of its alumni network - that alone is worth its weight in gold.

I believe both programs would benefit anyone who attends - especially if you are on the outside looking in when it comes to schools like Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2006, 16:40
I totally agree. It is easy for people like us that are looking so closely at each and every school to get lost in the details and lose sight of the fact that all of the schools in the elite and ultra-elite clusters are just that, "elite". We're trying to get admitted to multiple great schools and then draw distinctions between them so we can make a final choice, but the reality is that the great bulk of business school hopefuls would be ecstatic to go to any of the elites.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2006, 17:24
pelihu wrote:
I totally agree. It is easy for people like us that are looking so closely at each and every school to get lost in the details and lose sight of the fact that all of the schools in the elite and ultra-elite clusters are just that, "elite". We're trying to get admitted to multiple great schools and then draw distinctions between them so we can make a final choice, but the reality is that the great bulk of business school hopefuls would be ecstatic to go to any of the elites.


As I put it to a friend:

"You know, if I had to pick between a ferrari and a maserati, I'd probably pick one eventually, but frankly, I'd take either one."

Kellogg - sumbitted, missing both recs
Chicago - not yet submitted but complete, missing both recs
Harvard - submitted, all recs are in
Cornell - submitted, all recs are in
Darden - at 0%
Georgetown - at 0%

Is my finalized list. I dropped Ross because I just dont want to live in Ann Arbor.

If I get accepted at any of those first 3, I'm happy. I'd have my preferences sure, but again, maserati, ferrari, either or, I'll take it.

If I have to pick between Cornell and Darden, itll be a harder choice, but I imagine I'd pick Darden for a variety of reasons (namely a better long term fit I think). If I had to pick between Darden and Georgetown (oh god please dont let that be the case) then I'd be hard pressed. Darden for sure for me, but Georgetown would have major signficant financial advantages -- that is, its actually located in a city where my wife could find gainful employment.

She was also against Ross, so I had to pull it - unfortunately after paying the $28 to send the darn GMAT scores to them.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2006, 18:28
rhyme wrote:
pelihu wrote:
I totally agree. It is easy for people like us that are looking so closely at each and every school to get lost in the details and lose sight of the fact that all of the schools in the elite and ultra-elite clusters are just that, "elite". We're trying to get admitted to multiple great schools and then draw distinctions between them so we can make a final choice, but the reality is that the great bulk of business school hopefuls would be ecstatic to go to any of the elites.


As I put it to a friend:

"You know, if I had to pick between a ferrari and a maserati, I'd probably pick one eventually, but frankly, I'd take either one."

Kellogg - sumbitted, missing both recs
Chicago - not yet submitted but complete, missing both recs
Harvard - submitted, all recs are in
Cornell - submitted, all recs are in
Darden - at 0%
Georgetown - at 0%

Is my finalized list. I dropped Ross because I just dont want to live in Ann Arbor.

If I get accepted at any of those first 3, I'm happy. I'd have my preferences sure, but again, maserati, ferrari, either or, I'll take it.

If I have to pick between Cornell and Darden, itll be a harder choice, but I imagine I'd pick Darden for a variety of reasons (namely a better long term fit I think). If I had to pick between Darden and Georgetown (oh god please dont let that be the case) then I'd be hard pressed. Darden for sure for me, but Georgetown would have major signficant financial advantages -- that is, its actually located in a city where my wife could find gainful employment.

She was also against Ross, so I had to pull it - unfortunately after paying the $28 to send the darn GMAT scores to them.


Thanks for dropping Ross...now maybe I can get in.. :lol:
..and is it too late to ask you to show Cornell the bright exit sign ??
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2006, 07:02
Rhyme - best of luck on your apps and decisions - I think you have a great shot at Kellogg and Harvard. You have a great story and you are a driven individual. There is no reason why they won't love you - just be articulate in your essays and interviews and they will love you.

As for Darden - if you don't get into those top choices and we both get into Darden, I think it would be pretty cool to have a fellow GMAT Clubber around. I will let you know where I stand with Darden when I hear in December.

Apps Progress:
Darden:
Essays 98% done, waiting on recs - everything else has been submitted.
Yale:
Essays 98% done, waiting on recs - everything else has been submitted.
Duke:
Essays 50% done, waiting on recs etc.
USC:
10% lol
Cornell:
0%
Kellogg:
0% - both of my rec's are coming from Chicago natives - one went to Chicago the other to Kellogg. I am not doing this one early because it is such a tough school and I want to be prepared by the time I walk in the door there. Plus if I get into Darden, I wont even bother looking anywhere else.

Best of luck to all.
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2006, 20:52
Attended the Darden reception in San Francisco tonight. It was a totally different experience than the Chicago & Kellogg receptions. At those, everyone was seated for a presentation from the school, and then broke off afterwards for some conversation.

The Darden reception was much less formal. Many alumni and school representatives were there to chat, and the only formal remarks were made by the Dean, lasting about 15 minutes. I was able to speak with the Dean and ask him about the recent trend in scores and admit rate. His words to me were that they had a great admissions season (largest class ever) and that they had "turned the corner". He thought that the trend would not continue down the line.

The alumni that I spoke with were friendly and engaging, and the atmosphere was good. I left with a positive feel for the school. I was quite impressed that the Dean was in attendance; the other schools just sent admissions office people.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Oct 2006, 04:21
Can I ask a few questions about the interview?

I know yours went a bit differently than most might, but...

Did you wear a suit? I imagine so, but I'm curious.
Did you call ahead to go to a class? (Was this a super saturday?)
Can you give me some idea of what was asked? I know you say it was very open ended - but at least some idea would help. I'm imaging there are a few obvious ones - "Why do you want an mba?", "Why Darden", "Why now"? Or was it truly one of those "Tell me about yourself" opening lines where you talk about whatever in the world in you want to talk about?
  [#permalink] 18 Oct 2006, 04:21
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