University of Virginia Darden Executive MBA 2014 Admissions Tips

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UVA-Darden1Given that the Darden EMBA application presents only one essay question to answer, the balance of your application – the online form, the resume, the recommendations, the interview – all carry even more weight than they do in most EMBA applications that contain several questions (usually including one pertaining to your goals). The application as a whole must show that you are at the appropriate level in terms of organizational position and experience to both benefit from the Darden EMBA and contribute substantially to its program. Moreover, to be competitive you should also show that you are a high performer relative to peers.


Share your thought process as you encountered a challenging work situation or complex problem. What did you learn about yourself? (500 words maximum)

The question may sound a bit daunting, but it is essentially asking for a story. “Your thought process” is simply your narrating an experience – the story – through the lens of your perspective as it happened. The “pivot points” – your decision points – are the most important points in this story, so when you get to these parts of the story, briefly include why you decided to do B. After you complete the story narrative, culminating the outcome, add a short paragraph briefly explaining how this experience gave you insight about yourself – note what this new insight/learning is, and relate it back to the story. With only 500 words to work with, I suggest keeping the structure simple. Devote about the first two-thirds to telling the story, and conclude with the reflection. This learning should be meaningful and significant – they are asking this question because they value your ability to grow and respond and adapt, and also your ability to self-critique and self-reflect.

With only one essay, selecting the topic – the work situation or complex problem – should be done strategically. The topic can show you advantageously – perhaps working in an underrepresented industry or function, or shouldering a difficult decision, or influencing executive decision makers, or grappling with issues of high importance. It should be fairly recent.

UVA Darden EMBA Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decisions Released
Dec 15, 2013, Jan 30, 2014
Jan 15, 2014 Feb 28 2014
Feb 15, 2014 March 28 2014
March 15, 2014 April 30,2014
April 15, 2014 May 13, 2014
May 15, 2014 June 18, 2014
June 15, 2014 July 2, 2014

If you would like help with Darden’s executive MBA essay, please consider’s MBA admissions consulting and MBA essay editing services

Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The Finance Professional’s Guide to MBA Admissions Success, and author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with's experienced admissions consultants can help you create the most impressive application possible with comprehensive packages, or provide targeted assistance from picking perfect programs to designing a dazzling resume, constructing engaging essays, or preparing for intense interviews…and more! has guided thousands of applicants to acceptances at top MBA programs since 1994 – we know what works and what doesn't, so contact us to get started now!

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