hey guys, admitted and here's a brief debrief... hope it helps people. keep in mind that these are my opinions, based on my experience, and it isn't the one and only correct opinion.
i applied R1 with a 660 GMAT. i've since rectified this with a 730, but as far as Darden apps were concerned, i scored a mere 660... 40Q/40V.
background was in both MNCs (P&G mktg) and entrepreneurship in Philippines.
Darden likes entrepreneurs, which is something you can't say for other schools; in fact, they have a scholarship for former entrepreneurs - they're willing to waive enrollment fees just to give incentive to entrepreneurs to enter darden. i don't know yet whether i will get one, but an entrepreneur friend of mine from last year did. it's called the batten scholarship.
Darden prides itself in being very ethics oriented. I capitalized on this in one essay, by showing just exactly how ethical i am... and i hinted heavily to my recommenders to put a good ethics bent on their recommendations. I tihnk this showed a good fit with Darden.
The other question was rather unique. I had an enjoyable time answering it. "How did you react to the global economic crisis, and how has this changed/affected you?" (paraphrased, because i don't remember the exact wording). I had a uniquely enriching way of dealing with the crisis: i backpacked around southeast asia, and volunteered to teach in the poorer areas i went to. Did this help? I don't know, but it certainly was unique, and hopefully the admits committee found value in this.
The interviews were blind - meaning that the interviewer will not have read my essays/profile before the interview. It was VERY loosely structured in that she basically just said: ok, here's how it's gonna happen, you tell me about your life since college, up to now. You do that for about 30 mins. I'll jump in if I want to know about particular details (although she rarely ever did). For the last 15 mins, you can ask me some questions, and I will answer them.
I did a good job I think explaining my history (6 applications for round 2 asking for the same thing will do that to you), though I did extend a bit beyond 30 mins.
I messed up a bit in the questions portion, because I didn't have any good questions to ask... but I recovered by saying that the reason for this is because I have friends who are current students, as well as alums, who have answered all my questions already. this is true. and i also said that i know all i need to know about virginia and darden, and that about the only bad thing about it is the extremely cold weather. she laughed that off and we parted happy.
two weeks later, I miss the call by the admits committee, because I thought it was my alarm going off. they did call at 7am! instead, i got an email saying i got in, and that the admits package was on its way. congrats.
that was a good day.
The day after, I get emails from four different alumni congratulating me (ok granted, three of whom I knew personally, and only one whom I didn't), and saying that if I had any questions I could just ask them. The kicker is that they sent this to the three other admits from my country, whom they did not know personally. That's a tight knit community!
hope this helps potential applicants here. cheers!