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Expert advice for Darden from Admissions Consultant blogs

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Expert advice for Darden from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2017, 14:07
Recently, news broke that Dawna Clarke, former director of admissions at both the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, has joined mbaMission’s team of elite admissions consulting professionals.

Now, we are proud to announce that Dawna will host her first exclusive event—a live online Q&A session, “Insights into the MBA Admissions Process,” on Wednesday, June 28 at 9 p.m. EDT.

For almost two decades, Dawna served as the director of admissions at two of the country’s leading MBA programs, interviewing thousands of candidates, reviewing tens of thousands of essays and recommendations, and acting as the final decision-maker on more than 60,000 MBA applications. Now, as mbaMission’s Chief MBA Strategist and a Senior Consultant, she is ready to tap into what she has learned from her many years of experience to help aspiring MBAs with their admissions-related questions.*

During this Q&A session, you will have the opportunity to directly ask Dawna any questions you may have about the process—including which exam to take, in which round to apply, and how to overcome a low GPA or GMAT score—and benefit from her firsthand insight into the admissions world so you can begin the process of submitting your best application.

We hope that you will join us for this valuable event that will be essential to your b-school planning. Space is limited! To enroll for free, click here.
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Re: Expert advice for Darden from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2017, 10:21
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TheDarden School of Business is a top tier MBA program at University of Virginia. Due to the strength of its academic community, UVA has significant entrepreneurial activity and is interested in fostering innovation within the MBA program.

Darden has only one required essay as part of the application. While answering only one essay question may seem simple, it requires discipline to highlight all of the important parts of your profile for the admissions committee in one short essay. Writing a successful essay with such limited space requires you to focus on your most compelling attributes.

Think about the other areas of your application and what they cover. Your academic potential should be highlighted through GMAT or GRE scores and your academic transcripts, leadership and professional accomplishments should come through clearly from your recommendations, and finally your essay is a chance to outline your personal qualities.

When considering which personal qualities to highlight in this essay, consider that leadership is crucial to future Darden MBAs. Your ability to work well within a team of peers is also important to Darden, a school with a small, tight-knit community.
Talking to a current student is a great way to learn more about Darden, and the admissions committee makes it easy for you to reach out, directly on the admissions website.

REQUIRED ESSAY QUESTION
When preparing for class at Darden, students formulate an opinion on each case before meeting with their learning teams and class sections. When encountering different views and perspectives from their own, opinions frequently shift. Tell us about a time when your opinion evolved through discussions with others. (500 words maximum)

This question is called a behavioral essay question, because it asks for information about how you behaved in a specific situation in order to evaluate how you might behave in the future. An essay question that asks for a specific example (“tell us about a time”) is often a behavioral question.

Darden, similar to HBS, is devoted to the case method of teaching. The case method requires the ability to communicate and learn from your peers through discussion-based classes. With a question like this, Darden wants to understand how you behave and interact with others.

When choosing a story to tell for this essay, think about a situation that may also showcase a key accomplishment or tell the admissions committee something about your work tasks or responsibilities. Many jobs require collaboration across teams or within your team, and you have likely worked with a group that contains diverse viewpoints. To answer this question you should clearly lay out the situation, describe what you did, and also take time to describe your thoughts and feelings as your perspectives and opinions changed.

It is particularly important to describe the process you went through as your thinking evolved. Did you change your mind because the facts were clear? Did empathy for another person evolve your viewpoint? Or were you able to see another side of the question because of your own new experiences? Darden is interested in how you think.

Because you have only one essay question to present yourself, make sure you have a trusted reader to tell you if you are effectively communicating why you are going to be a strong leader who deserves a spot in the UVA Darden MBA class.

Looking for perspective in your approach to your Darden MBA application? Contact us to discuss how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.

 
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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New post 31 Jul 2017, 10:27
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The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has announced the following MBA application deadlines as well as an updated essay question for the 2017-18 admissions cycle.
Round 1
Application due: October 5, 2017
Round 2
Application due: January 9, 2018
Round 3
Application due: April 3, 2018

All applications for the full-time MBA are due by 12:00 p.m. EST (noon) on the deadline day. All decisions are released at 12:00 p.m. EST (noon) on the decision release day, which as of this posting has not yet been announced.
Required Essay Question
When preparing for class at Darden, students formulate an opinion on each case before meeting with their learning teams and class sections. When encountering different views and perspectives from their own, opinions frequently shift. Tell us about a time when your opinion evolved through discussions with others. (500 words maximum)

For more information about the program, please visit the Darden MBA admissions website.
Image by Andrew Shurtleff, courtesy of University of Virginia
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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Re: Expert advice for Darden from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2017, 11:35
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The UVA Darden School of Business has partnered with the UVA Data Science Institute to provide an opportunity for students to earn a Master of Science in Data Science and a Master of Business Administration in 24 months—rather than the 32 months that would be required if each degree were undertaken independently.

Students who pursue the new joint degree program will become coveted hires and indispensable leaders in a variety of fields, including consulting, finance, and technology, according to the school.

“This new dual degree represents an incredibly exciting development for the Darden School and prospective students,” said Raj Venkatesan, Darden professor and faculty lead for the dual degree. “There is a clear demand from students for this kind of analytics-driven curriculum and from organizations for employees who can harness the almost limitless power of Big Data to develop new business models. These graduates will be coveted hires and become indispensable leaders.”

The new dual degree, which began enrolling a limited cohort of students this summer, with a fuller launch planned in 2018, will deliver both the Darden curriculum of core and elective courses and the 11-month MSDS curriculum offered by the Data Science Institute over a two-year span. Tuition fees for the new program will be the sum of the standalone MBA and MSDS programs.

The Darden core curriculum provides students with an integrated perspective on general management in the first year, focusing on key themes such as finance, marketing, decision analytics, strategy, ethics, accounting and leadership.

Beginning in the final term of the first year, students choose from a diverse selection of more than 100 electives and begin to tailor the Darden education that most closely meets their interests and professional aspirations.

The MSDS curriculum, with core courses in computer science, statistics, and systems and information engineering, provides students of all backgrounds with a base in languages, computation and linear modeling before building on those skills to move to the practice and application of data science.

The program also addresses the ethical implications of data and analytics and culminates in a capstone project focused on a real-world data science problem. The capstone project will address a business problem and how data science can be used to address those challenges.

“This new program will change the way that top business leaders of tomorrow are thinking about data,” said Don Brown, director of the Data Science Institute. “This game-changing dual degree will give students a deep understanding of data science along with a top-ranked management program that will allow them to unlock new ways of questioning, answering and thinking about today’s top business challenges.”

Students must apply for admission to Darden first and then submit a supplemental application to the DSI. To be eligible for the dual degree, you must receive admission from both programs.

“Students from all backgrounds want to be equipped for jobs in technology and entrepreneurship,” said Sara Neher, former assistant dean for MBA admissions, now Darden’s assistant dean of Strategic Initiatives. “This new dual degree will be a way to differentiate yourself.”

The DSI supplemental application will be available on October 15, 2017.
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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New post 31 Oct 2017, 11:41
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has selected a very familiar face as its new executive director of admissions and financial aid with the appointment of Dawna Clarke, announced earlier this week. From 1990 to 2005, Clarke served in various leadership roles at the Darden School, including five years as admissions director and as director of alumni relations.

Clarke then moved on to serve as director of admissions at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College for 11 years. Clarke returns to Darden from mbaMission, where she recently served as chief MBA strategist and senior consultant.

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“The Darden School community is thrilled that Dawna is rejoining our team,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “She has an incredible track record of finding and cultivating global talent and a passion for leadership in the field of admissions.”

“I am honored by the opportunity and excited to return to Darden,” said Clarke. “I believe deeply in Darden’s mission and values, and I look forward to bringing my experience and ideas for innovations to find and educate the next generation of business leaders from all over the world.”

“Admissions consulting — and walking side by side with 20 applicants applying to multiple top business schools — has been a formative experience that has provided me with new insights and ideas that I will bring to my new role at Darden, which I hope will positively impact both the selection process and the applicant experience,” said Clarke.

As executive director of admission and financial aid, Clarke will oversee the recruitment strategy for admission to the full-time MBA and the Executive MBA, which offers an intensive global format, the Global Executive MBA, and sections in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area.

She will also oversee Darden’s new Future Year Scholars program, a deferred admissions program for top undergraduate and fifth-year master’s students, and help grow cutting-edge dual degrees such as the MBA/Master of Science in Data Science program with UVA’s Data Science Institute.

Clarke will also drive the strategy to attract diverse demographic groups. During an award-winning stint at Tuck, the percentage of women increased from 25 percent in the class before her arrival to a record 44 percent of the class of 2018 and average GMAT scores reached 717.

“In addition to drawing praise for clear quantitative gains, Clarke was frequently lauded for her customer-centric approach to admissions,” said Ron Wilcox, Darden senior associate dean for degree programs.

Upon her departure from Tuck in 2016, industry publication Poets & Quants referenced three international awards she and her team received for best practices in MBA admissions.

Throughout her career in business education, she has interviewed several thousand business school applicants and reviewed tens of thousands of essays and recommendations. She has traveled frequently throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America, and she has a comprehensive knowledge of various international educational systems and multicultural issues.

Widely known and respected in the world of graduate business education, Clarke has served on multiple committees for the Graduate Management Admissions Council and the Educational Testing Service. She was also a member of the board of directors for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management for 17 years.

“In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work for nine business school deans across three institutions,” Clarke said. “I am so impressed with the incredible, positive momentum that Scott Beardsley and his team have brought to Darden. I’m eager to be a part of this remarkable leadership team.”

Clarke will assume the role on October 15th.
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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New post 12 Feb 2018, 14:16
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The University of Virginia Darden School of Business recently announced a new full scholarship called the Indonesia Fellowship, created through a gift from the Jakarta-based Rainbow Foundation.

The fellowship, originally created in 2012, is now offered as a scholarship providing up to the full cost of attendance for an academically qualified Indonesian national with proven need for financial support. Selected students can attend Darden’s full-time MBA program or Executive MBA program, with an option for the Global Executive MBA format.

“This is an incredibly generous offer for talented students from Indonesia,” says Dawna Clarke, Darden’s executive director of admissions and financial aid. “The level of funding the fellowship provides exceeds that provided by other scholarships in the market, and it gives deserving students the opportunity to study at one of the world’s top business schools.”

The Indonesia Fellowship will cover for recipients the cost of Darden tuition and fees, course materials, health insurance, computer, living and travel expenses.

“In a world of astonishing complexity and rapid change, Darden develops global leaders from an inspiring premise: Business combined with purpose will improve the world,” says Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “We are incredibly grateful to the Rainbow Foundation for its generosity inspiring the next generation of leaders from Indonesia to pursue their purpose.”

To learn more, visit www.darden.virginia.edu/indonesia.
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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New post 04 Apr 2018, 10:26
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The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has announced the new Batten Foundation Darden Worldwide Scholarship program. A $15 million gift from the Batten Foundation unlocked a matching gift from UVA’s Bicentennial Scholars Fund, and the resulting $30 million endowment will ultimately provide every student in Darden’s full-time MBA program a scholarship to attend a Darden Worldwide course at no incremental cost.

In recent years, Darden has significantly increased its offering of Darden Worldwide courses — faculty-led courses of typically seven to 10 days. Over the past two years, student participation in courses outside the U.S. has more than doubled.

During the courses, students visit local companies, educators and officials, gaining hands-on experiences in new business environments and cultures guided by a Darden faculty member.

This spring, students will have the option to choose from 14 courses on five continents, including courses exploring business in uncertain economic environments in Argentina, artificial intelligence and robotics in Germany, and government’s influence on business in China, among others.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Batten Foundation for enabling this game-changing opportunity, which positions Darden to provide each MBA student funding for a global course through a scholarship,” said Darden Dean Scott Beardsley.

“This gift will have a major impact on Darden. It makes the School more affordable and global, and gives students the opportunity to explore the world in which they will be tomorrow’s leaders.”

The gift makes Darden unique among top MBA programs in its ability to offer each student a global experience fully funded by philanthropy.

The Batten Foundation Darden Worldwide Scholarships will have an immediate impact for the MBA Class of 2020, which will arrive in August 2018. For these incoming students, the gift, combined with other philanthropy and Darden investment, will allow Darden to award a scholarship to every student in the class that will cover fees for a Darden Worldwide course, if the course is not already funded.

When the Batten Foundation gift is fully funded in 2020, the scholarships will cover course fees and most travel costs for every Darden full-time MBA student to participate in a global experience.

The gift is the largest gift to the Darden School since the Batten family established the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation through a $60 million gift in 1999.

“The University of Virginia is committed to the intertwined principles of excellence and affordability,” UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan said when announcing the gift. “Darden fully embraces these principles, and with an infusion of energy from this generous philanthropic gift, Darden can continue to pursue its mission of preparing students from all walks of life for global leadership and service.”

 
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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New post 29 Jun 2018, 16:00
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The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has announced the following MBA application deadlines for the 2018-2019 admissions season, and will now offer an Early Action deadline.

Early Action is for candidates who believe that Darden School is their first-choice school. These applicants have the opportunity to schedule their own interview and do not have to wait for an invitation.

Early Action candidates can interview beginning in mid-July through the end of September. Interview slots will be available online in early July and filled on a first come, first served basis.

Applicants living in the U.S. are required to interview on the Darden Grounds if they apply in the Early Action round. Candidates living outside of the U.S. and who apply in the Early Action round will have the option to interview via Skype during the open interview period.
Early Action
Application due: September 7, 2018
Decision released: October 17, 2018
Round 1
Application due: October 4, 2018
Decision released: December 12, 2018
Round 2
Application due: January 10, 2019
Decision released: March 20, 2019
Round 3
Application due: April 3, 2019
Decision released: May 8, 2019

All applications for the full-time MBA are due by 12:00 p.m. EST (noon) on the deadline day. For more information on applying to UV Darden School of Business, please visit the Darden admissions website.
Image by Andrew Shurtleff, courtesy of University of Virginia
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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New post 29 Jun 2018, 16:00
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The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has announced it will forgo its traditional single long essay question this year, and instead will ask applicants to answer multiple short essays for the 2018-2019 admissions cycle. The reason for the change? “We want to get to know all of the various facets of your background and personality,” the Darden admissions team explains.
Required Essay Questions
“Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personal, professional or both.”
(100 words)

“Each year, Darden connects with over 80 countries. If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to go with Darden? And why?”
(50 words)

“Darden strives to identify and cultivate leaders who follow their purpose. At this stage, how would you describe your evolving leadership style and please provide an example.”
(200 words)

“Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact.”
(200 words)

“What is your short-term, post-MBA career goal and why?”
(150 words)
New MBA Scholarships at Darden
Earlier this month,the school also introduced new scholarships for top MBA students. Fundraising for scholarships at Darden has increased 700 percent over the past two years, and innovations to the school’s scholarship offerings include:
  • The Batten Scholars Program: Sponsored by Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, this competitive program supports full- and partial-tuition scholarships for top students with interest and experience in entrepreneurship, innovation and technology.
  • New Batten Foundation Darden Worldwide Scholarships: Beginning in the 2018–19 academic year, the scholarship program will fund the course fees for all full-time students who participate in a Darden Worldwide Course.
  • Madison and Monroe Scholarships: These prestigious scholarships will be awarded each year to top candidates.
  • Darden Jefferson Fellowships Competition: Top candidates from around the globe will now have the opportunity to compete for a nomination for the prestigious Darden Jefferson Fellowship, directed by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation. International candidates interested in the fellowship must apply in Darden’s Early Action round.

Applications will be reviewed by the Darden Admissions Committee and considered for nomination to the Jefferson Scholars Foundation. U.S.-based candidates interested in the fellowship should apply Early Action or in Round 1.

For more information about all facets of the program, please visit the Darden MBA admissions website.
Image by Andrew Shurtleff, courtesy of University of Virginia
***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.
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New post 12 Jul 2018, 07:23
Round 1 deadlines are on the horizon
The Fourth of July holiday has come and gone in the United States, and Round 1 MBA application deadlines are on the horizon. There are basically eight weeks between the publication of this post and Harvard Business School's Round 1 deadline on Wednesday, September 5. [In Europe, HEC Paris's first rolling deadline was June 1 and IESE Spain's early date is September 4.]

HBS kicks off a six-week early-and-Round-1 deadline sprint (marathon?) for leading U.S. MBA programs. The application race doesn't let up until mid-October, after The ConsortiumIndiana KelleyRice JonesUNC Kenan-Flagler, and NYU Stern wrap up a busy October 15. Vanderbilt Owen follows four days later, at which point we'll be less than 11 weeks from the dawn of Round 2.

The goal, of course, is for none of this to ever feel like a race. And that requires planning. With that in mind, I prepared an MBA deadline calendar that looks out over the next few months, focusing on early and Round 1 deadlines (and all the days in between) for 29 top full-time MBA programs in the U.S. and a handful of programs in Europe and Asia. I'll update the calendar as we approach Round 2.
A few things to keep in mind
There are a few things to keep in mind as you look over the days and weeks below. First, I've only included deadlines for flagship full-time MBA programs. The calendar does not include part-time, truncated, or specialty programs, so you won't see the likes of NYU's Fashion & Luxury MBA or Tech MBA down there, both of which are one-year programs that carry R1 deadlines of September 15.

I included a single asterisk (*) for programs with non-traditional round structures – think Sep-Oct-Jan at Cambridge Judge, Sep-Nov-Jan at INSEAD and Oxford Said, Oct-Nov-Jan at NYU Stern and Cornell Johnson, Oct-Dec-Jan at UNC Kenan-Flagler, and Oct-Dec-Feb at Georgia Tech Scheller. [You will note that I did not tag programs with separate "early rounds" in the same manner.]

​I added a double asterisk (**) for programs with rolling admissions, namely Columbia Business School on the U.S. side. There's also a slew of European and Asian programs with rolling admissions that are not shown because they don't fit neatly into the calendar – IE Business School (Spain)HEC ParisIMD (Switzerland)SDA Bocconi (Italy), and National University of Singapore, to name a few.

As of this writing, USC MarshallWash U Saint Louis (Olin)Notre Dame MendozaLondon Business SchoolESADE (Spain)HKUST (Hong Kong)CEIBS (China), and others have not yet published their 2018-2019 MBA application deadlines. I will add them as soon as they are available. Please review and confirm all deadlines and cutoff times directly with the programs to which you are applying.
Round 1 deadline calendar (all-in-one-place)​
Please visit the Avanti Prep blog for an updated and clickable version of the deadline calendar

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This post originally appeared on AvantiPrep.com

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New post 19 Jul 2018, 09:00
With Dawna Clarke back at the admissions helm for the University of Virginia’s Darden School after almost a decade and a half since her previous tenure there (and a stint as an mbaMission Senior Consultant), we were not surprised to see that she has put her stamp on the application process for this season, completely revamping the essay prompts. The single question Darden has posed the past few years has been replaced with five new prompts, each requesting a short blast of an essay that together total 750 words and cover applicants’ personal, professional, and educational objectives, while subtly acknowledging Darden’s character (its learning teams and 80-country reach, in particular). Our analysis follows…

“Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personal, professional or both.” (100 words)

Before you start writing, we suggest you do some background work on what a learning team is and how it functions. At Darden, learning teams are carefully selected groups of five to six students, assembled with the intent of creating an eclectic mix of personalities and backgrounds. This group meets in the evenings, Sunday through Thursday, to tackle the next day’s case work together (and if you are not familiar with the case method, now is the time to do your homework on it as well!). Learning teams are a core element of the Darden experience, in part because some cases are so voluminous that students must take a divide-and-conquer approach and teach one another the material. In short, learning teams are intense and complex, requiring strong teamwork skills and contributions but capable of providing support and camaraderie as students work their way through Darden’s notoriously challenging first year. For your essay response to be successful and compelling, you will need to show that you have something to offer your future teammates.

So, in a mere 100 words, you must reveal that you have a perspective, attribute, or background that will better enable your learning team to function. We are advocates of using anecdotes to reveal this kind of information and suggest you consider focusing on a single experience that demonstrates your positive team attributes and can represent how you would function on your learning team. This does not mean that you must describe a clichéd team experience to prove you are a team player. The key is simply to show you bring something of value to the table in this context—perhaps you are a great debater and can clearly see and elucidate multiple sides to a story, or you have particular experience with and insight into geopolitics, or you are naturally intellectually curious and have amassed a broad range of basic knowledge. Within reason, the trait does not matter! Establish that you have a skill or attribute that would be advantageous to Darden’s learning team experience, and you will send a compelling message.

“Each year, Darden connects with over 80 countries. If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to go with Darden? And why?” (50 words)

In just two or three sentences, you have an opportunity to show your adventurous or intellectual side by selecting a country that reveals something interesting about you. However, this should not be a travelogue. Just succinctly explain why and how your choice will enhance your education and others’ as well.

(Note that that paragraph is exactly 50 words long!)

“Darden strives to identify and cultivate leaders who follow their purpose. At this stage, how would you describe your evolving leadership style and please provide an example.” (200 words)

An example! Fantastic. We love requests for examples, because they all but force you to write using a compelling narrative structure. In revealing your “evolving leadership style,” you will have to choose an experience that changed your approach. For example, you might start by briefly describing a challenge: “I had never led a committee that spanned three departments before, but I found myself…” By launching into the narrative this way, you are clearly explaining the “newness” of your experience, and the idea of evolution is naturally understood. We recommend allocating approximately 125–150 words to recounting the experience and then spending the rest of your limited space reflecting on the change that occurred, and most importantly, your growth! Avoid just reiterating the thesis—“I grew by leading others across the firm, and it was meaningful!”—and instead share some insight into how the experience was meaningful, the tools you developed, and possibly even what takeaways you could apply in similar situations in the future. All in 200 words? Piece of cake!

“Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact.” (200 words)

As with the previous essay, we suggest that once you have identified a compelling relevant experience, you launch directly into your narrative. In this case, Darden wants to know about “impact,” which means you have to show very clear results of your actions. Simply saying that you have experience leading is not enough here—leadership is not impact. The admissions committee needs to understand that the decisions you made and steps you took clearly paid off and that a project, company, organization, coworker, or product experienced some kind of change as a result. Although the school’s prompt does not specifically ask you to reflect on the experience, wrapping up your story with some brief thoughts about why it was significant for you might make your essay slightly more compelling, and certainly would not hurt.

“What is your short-term, post-MBA career goal and why?” (150 words)

Darden wants to know that you are approaching the MBA experience with purpose—that you have a clear and attainable goal in mind. Note that the admissions committee is asking only about your short-term goal, which is often a pretty practical one, compared with applicants’ typically more idealistic long-term goals. So, first make sure that the path you have chosen is a sensible one for you. Ask yourself, “Will a Darden MBA help me get from where I am now to where I want to be?” If, for example, you are a journalist and have dreams of working at a hedge fund after you graduate, the admissions committee will probably not respond very positively to your plan, because hedge funds tend to be the domain of math PhDs and seasoned finance professionals. The school wants to feel that you will be able to attain your aspirations after completing its program, so you want to avoid goals that could sound farfetched. Instead, as a journalist, you would need to identify a far more realistic path, but one that is true to who you are. Being ambitious is great, but the goal you present must be connected to reality, and to demonstrate that connection, you will have to spell out why your objective is a reasonable one for you. Establishing briefly that you have the skills and knowledge to enter your target field will make that logical connection for your admissions reader, reassuring them that you can be a happy and productive graduate.

One’s short-term goal is a common topic in a traditional personal statement, so we encourage you to download your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. This complimentary guide offers detailed advice on approaching and framing these subjects, along with multiple illustrative examples. Be sure to claim your copy today.

For a thorough exploration of Darden’s academic offerings, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, community/environment, and other key facets of the program, please download your free copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to UVA Darden School of Business

The Next Step—Mastering Your Darden Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the UVA Darden Interview Primer today.
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Re: Expert advice for Darden from Admissions Consultant blogs &nbs [#permalink] 19 Jul 2018, 09:00
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