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In it to win it - Interact with Darden R1 admit

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In it to win it - Interact with Darden R1 admit  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 06:17

Darden R1 Admit Is Here to Answer YOUR Questions!

One of our forum members, GoalMBA2019 recently got an admit at Darden in Round 1. He accepted our invitation to interact with the new applicants, share his insights about the application process, and answer the queries of applicants.

If you have any questions about the application process of Darden now is your chance to get them clarified by posting your questions here in this topic. For follow up communication, we have a live chat with him on Thursday, Jan 3rd, 9 PM IST in our chat room.

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New post 01 Jan 2019, 04:51

Chat session with another R1 Darden admit is happening on Jan 6.

R1 Darden admit, Amaranth, has offered to provide application tips and insights to applicants applying in subsequent rounds via a chat session! The details are as follows:

Date & Time: Sunday, Jan 06, 2019; 11:30am EST / 4:30pm GMT / 10pm IST
Join Link: GMAT Club Chat Room

Tune in at the stated date and time to get some first hand insights from a fellow applicant who got in to Darden recently. Feel free to ask last minute application tips, Dos n Don'ts before submitting your application, and everything that you feel you must get clarified.

Looking forward to a huge turnout! :-)

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Re: In it to win it - Interact with Darden R1 admit  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jan 2019, 22:51

Transcript from the Darden R1 admit chat with @GoalMBA2019

Hi everyone, I am happy to help and answer any question you guys may have about the Darden application process. GMATclub members were very useful to me when I was applying so more than happy to help others.

I completed my B.E. in Mechanical engineering back in 2011. Thereafter I joined my family business that manufactures equipment for the energy industry. In 2017, I also launched an Ecommerce startup. So in total I have 7-8 years of work experience.

Would you mind telling us a bit more about your post MBA goals and reasons for choosing Darden?

Post-MBA I wanted to work at management consulting firm in the operations field or join a large corporate such as Amazon in a general management role. Long term I hope to continue pursuing Entrepreneurship by returning to my family business or starting something new.

Initially, I didn’t know much about Darden because it is not that well known in India but when I read up about it I was gradually impressed by the school. Mainly its case study method was the biggest draw. Also, I wasn’t very keen on pursuing an MBA in a big city like New York or Boston and wanted a more community and collaborative environment so Darden for the bill perfectly.

How was your interview experience for Darden?

The interview experience was good. I had my interview with a member of the admissions committee, it was very conversational. She initially laid out all the questions she wanted me to answer such as speak about myself and my work experience, Why MBA, Why Darden, Post MBA short and long term goals. She allowed me to take control of the interview and I was able to connect the dots and answer her question without making it sound I was going sequentially. Further, she kept giving her inputs and probed me on further questions she had doubts on. She also gave me ample time to ask questions. My Skype video stopped working 10 mins into the interview. She was okay with it and we continued the rest of the interview on whatsapp call. So if there is any technical issue guys during the interview you need not worry. Further, my interview went on for 65 mins as compared to 30-45 mins for others, so the amount of time for an interview has no bearing as to your performance on the interview

That sounds great but I need to ask one thing you have mentioned in your post-MBA goal that after working in some big MNC you want to switch to entrepreneurship, isn’t that is taken negative way?

Hi, not necessarily. Many people from not entrepreneurial backgrounds also chart a similar path. so no it's not seen in a negative way. What’s important is to show that your short and long-term goals are viable and that you have done or will do things in your short-term goal which will prepare you to pursue entrepreneurship

Wow. That’s an eventful interview. Panicking doesn’t help. You did a great job switching to the WhatsApp call and I guess that might have been taken into evaluation on how you respond in unfamiliar situations

Yes, I had read somewhere online that panicking doesn’t help your cause. So I guess that advise came in handy :)

Hello, I’ve joined the chat late (just now). Here’s my question: Does Darden place a lot of emphasis on the "size" / "popularity" of a company that an applicant has worked in? For e.g If I have had a 1.5 year managerial/leadership role in a startup (after a 1.5 year of non-mangerial role). Does that makeup for a decent application? What are the key things in a student story that Darden looks for? The question pertains to only work ex and quality of work ex. (Assuming GMAT score and GPA is greater than or equal to class average)

I am not sure whether Darden places emphasis on the size/popularity of the company where the applicant has worked. It certainly helps if you are from a big company. On the flipside, if you have worked at a startup you may have experience of working across various verticals of business especially if the startup is at a nascent stage so if you can correctly articulate that experience in your application it may help you stand out. I can’t comment on your profile without knowing the quality of work experience you have had. Further, Darden clearly looks for certain traits in their students. Leadership being the foremost followed by international experience, impact and collaboration skills

Hello! Congratulations on your admit. Did you apply to schools other than Darden? Do you think you had an upper hand considering your entrepreneurial experience?

Thank you. I did apply to other schools as well. No, I didn’t feel I had the upper hand because of my entrepreneurial experience, instead, I felt having 7-8 years of entrepreneurial work experience would work against me. I only felt that having leadership experience over the years was an advantage.

Thank you for your response. Did you get offers from other schools as well? What made you choose Darden over other schools?

No, I didn’t get offers from other schools. I am on the waitlist at one. So Kellogg was my top choice and Darden was my second choice so I am very happy to go to Darden. As I said earlier the case study method, community and not wanting to be in a big city was the biggest draw for me at Darden. Also, I spoke to a few current students before applying and was impressed by what they had to say about Darden. Further, as I researched more schools I felt Kellogg and Darden were two schools with which I had a good ’fit’.

Can you tell us which component of your Darden application you found the most challenging?

Honestly, I didn’t find the Darden application very challenging as they have broken down the questions to allow you to showcase different aspects of your profile but if I had to pick one it would be the question about changing leadership style.

Is a GRE score of 320 a good one to get sorted from academics point of view and focus on the rest of the application?

Sorry buddy I don’t have much idea about GRE Scores at Darden but I know a couple of admits from India with a 710 GMAT

I’ll be applying for fall 2020, considering form now what are the most important parameters that can be worked on/improved so as to better present yourself other than things that cant b changed( like work exp), I mean like certification courses, int volunteer?

GMAT/GRE is something that you should really work on and get it above the median especially if you are an Indian. Try to get some international work experience or do some volunteer work internationally if that feasible for you. If you have done engineering in undergrad I don’t think you ’need’ to do any other certificate course, of course it doesn’t harm to have them on your profile but they won't compensate for the low GMAT score. Also, make sure that your extracurricular that you do are in some way linked to your goals or beliefs. Just doing EC’s for the sake of it doesn't help.

Can you tell us who did you choose to write your recommendations?

I chose my clients as recommenders as I didn’t have any non-family member senior to me at my family business.

Thanks. Also, it looks like Darden values International experience a lot. Did you have international experience too?

Yes, I did my undergraduate from Dubai, UAE

Considering not many ppl apply with GRE score if I apply with aGRE but above the median score, would it be treated at par with a GMAT score?

I don’t have the data to answer that but more schools are increasingly accepting GRE Scores. Many MBA classes have 15-20% admits with GRE scores.

Thanks for the info. Did you visit Darden or any other school during the application? and how was that experience?

No, I didn’t visit any schools as I am residing in India and wasn’t possible for me to travel at that time. Also for all those applying please check out Darden application tips videos from Dawna Clarke on youtube about resume and essay question she gives some really insightful tips.

Have you decided on matriculating at Darden?

Yes most probably. Haven’t applied anywhere in R2

Does applying in early decision round in sept help?

Yes, definitely. Please try and apply in Early action if your application is ready. Especially if you are confident of doing well in the interview as in Early Action you can schedule your interview and don’t have to wait for an invite.

Thanks, GoalMBA2019, We greatly appreciate the time and information you have shared with us here. We certainly have a lot of takeaways from this chat and I will be posting them in the chat transcript. Thanks again for your time.
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In it to win it - Interact with Darden R1 admit  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2019, 23:43

Transcript from the Darden/Tuck R1 admit chat with @Amaranth

What is your professional background?

Thank you! Happy to be here. I have a background in Marketing. I’ve done a B.Com and a Master’s in Marketing from the UK. I’ve worked in the marketing department of a large financial services company and am currently employed at my family business

What are your post-MBA goals?

I’m looking to get a job in consulting or general management after my MBA, but I am keeping an open mind going into bschool

My question is for the Tuck application. As I understand, Tuck places a lot of emphasis on outreach. I am based in India and did not schedule any campus interview. However, there is a small question in the form that asks applicants to justify if they have not attended/scheduled any interview. Is it ok to write that there were no dates available that suited my professional schedule? (FYI - all available dates are already filled up)

Tuck does not expect you to visit campus to schedule an interview. They do understand that making an international trip just to visit and interview on campus is fairly expensive. You can just say that an international trip is beyond your means/you don’t have enough time off from work. Or your own reason works, I wouldn’t overthink this too much.

As a quick follow up, did you yourself make the campus visit?

I actually did visit campus, but I didn’t use an admissions consultant. Decided I’d rather spend the money visiting campuses and I’m really happy with that decision :)

Smart call, I’ll keep that in mind in case I have to re-apply next year. Thanks!

I am a reapplicant at Tuck, so feel free to get in touch if that is the situation!

Did you visit both Tuck and Darden and can you tell us a little bit about that experience?

I visited both schools, among a couple others. I’d say the Darden classroom experience is one of the best I’ve ever had. The professor was absolutely fantastic at keeping a discussion going and there was a lot of energy from the students attending the class. Additionally, Charlottesville is a quintessential college town and the campus is beautiful.
I, unfortunately, visited Tuck at a bad time, most first years were writing exams so there were no classes going on. But Tuck was also a really great visit, our student guide had to keep pausing to say hi to people everytime they passed her. I think the community at both schools is extremely similar and friendly.

Despite the fact that the current season is really tough for international applicants (especially Indian applicants), you managed to secure admits from two very prestigious programs. Which factors or components of the application you think played a decisive role in gaining these admits?

I think the biggest factor in my case was understanding why I needed an MBA and how it would help me. No consultant in the world knows your story better than you, so it is important for you to explain to the adcom why an MBA makes sense, why a specific school makes sense and what you see yourself doing with that MBA. I did have improvements in my GMAT score, but I’d say that understanding my story and improving my Resume were the two biggest factors for me.

I would like to point out here that my grades at college weren’t great and my college brand is non-existent, the companies I’ve worked in are not big brands and my family business is small. So in my case, the diversity of my work experience and ECs were my biggest strengths.

Amaranth Seems like a very tough call but have you decided on where you will be matriculating? :)

I have, it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. But I am going to be a proud Tuckie and will be matriculating there in the fall :)

What is generally the right time to visit any school?

It depends. If you want to just visit campuses I’d say go early in the year before you start writing essays. I wanted to interview, so I visited in September end/October. It wasn’t easy because I was writing essays while I was visiting and had to finish a lot of my applications before I even started my trip

If I may ask, how early did you have to schedule an interview to find slots for September end/October (will use that as a yardstick in case it’s needed later)

I decided that I was visiting in early July and bookmarked the interview pages of the colleges I wanted to visit. I also came up with a flight plan beforehand so I knew in what order to look for dates.

So what are your plans after MBA? Going for MBB or coming back to India to lead the family business?

I am looking to recruit for consulting as soon as I’m done with my MBA. My family business might be a long-term thing, maybe 10 years down the line.

so did you mention consulting at ST and family business as LT goal in apps?

Yup, I did! Exactly this :)

Did you interact with the Indian students at the two colleges? ANd what was their view of the overall job market in the US? Many Thanks

The general understanding is that it is harder. That said, most of the students I’d spoken to seemed well-prepared for the recruiting season. I didn’t get into too much detail on this, unfortunately, but you can reach out to ambassadors and they’ll be able to give you a more accurate picture.

Just wondering, did you visit any other schools too?

I did a formal visit/interview to UNC and a visit to Ross. I also informally visited Kellogg, CBS, and Stern. By informally, I mean I didn’t register for an official visit on their website

I understand you were a reapplicant at Tuck. Do you know/feel is there anything specific that Tuck looks for in reapplicants?

I’m not sure if there’s anything specific for reapplicants. But Tuck really does care about the 4 factors in their current application. All their essay questions and recommendations are around that, so bringing those into your essays and your interview would be a good idea.

You mentioned you were a re-applicant. Could you describe some common points you heard in the feedback that you received then from Tuck/others?

I actually did not request feedback from Tuck. I had a fairly good idea why I was rejected (thanks to ApplicantLab!). The biggest thing was my career vision and story, I did not connect the dots well and did not convince the schools that I could achieve the goals I was looking for.

Can you tell us a little about your recommendations? Whom did you chose and did you work with them on your recommendations?

So I actually had different recommendations for Tuck and Darden.
For Tuck - I had a consultant who works with my family business write one. But my second recommendation came from the Founding Trustee of one of the NGOs I volunteer with. I felt she would be able to answer the Nice, Smart, Accomplished and Aware questions better.

For Darden, I had the same consultant with my family business and a former supervisor from my previous company. I did not have to work with my recommenders at all. I did give them a background on the schools I was applying to, why I wanted an MBA and what I felt were my biggest strengths. I also did explain to them the cultural differences in recommendations from India and other places. For instance, we tend to downplay a lot of things. But aside from that, I trusted them to do a good job.

I have another question - a lot of T’20 people I contacted from Indian background had some international experience (1yr+). This was simply a trend I observed in a small sample. Are you able to identify any recent Indian admits who got in with less international experience than that?

I don’t think this was something I noticed. Anecdotally, I know that one of my friends who’s a T’20 does not have any international experience. I think this could be one of those points that will help you if it exists in your background but won’t necessarily hurt you if it isn’t

Do you think a lack of significant/impactful social work hurts applicants in general? Focusing on Darden here

It is understandable if you have very hectic job schedules that don’t allow you to spend time on social work. That said, I personally believe that not having any extra-curriculars will hurt you because you lose out on a chance to show the adcom a side of you aside from your Resume. It's also a chance to showcase your initiative and it could show adcom how you will give back to the school as a student there.

like I said earlier, one of my biggest strength was the diversity of my ECs because the pedigree of my jobs and lack of good grades is something I cannot change at this time

Can you tell us more about your interviews? Do you feel that on-campus interviews are better than skype especially if one can afford and has the time to do it?

I’m extremely uncomfortable with Skype interviews. I did a skype interview later on in the application season, and it did not feel as good as doing one in person.

I think on-campus interviews are great if you can afford it. I decided to spend the money on that instead of a consultant and I’m very happy with that choice. It felt relaxed, natural and the school and students really did appreciate the effort I put in to understand what made their program unique. I got into both schools after I visited and interviewed on campus, I think that alone makes the trips worth it =)

If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell us the reasons for choosing Tuck over Darden?

Like I said, this was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Darden was my top choice going into this application season. I feel both schools are extremely similar - both have really great communities, strong general management focus and both use the case method (Darden more than Tuck in this point).

Culturally, I felt that I would fit into both places. I did not want to give up the brand and prestige of Tuck given the current visa situation. I feel that if I’m 100% staying on in the US, Darden and Tuck are the same, but if I had to return to India the brand of Tuck will be slightly better. I also didn’t get a scholarship at Darden so it felt that I was giving up the ivy name and prestige for a slightly better fit which didn’t make sense.

Not sure if this would make sense for anyone else, but it seemed to me like I was choosing between two amazing options, so I picked the more practical one in the long run.

Did you ever feel 710 may hamper your chances since you mentioned low GPA?

Yeah, my GPA is low, but I did retake the GMAT and get a 750. I still did have a low quant score, but I didn’t think a 750 would keep me out of any school.

Oh I thought 710 was your last attempt.

I had an unsuccessful year of applying and improved the score while I was on the waitlist. I still didn’t get off the waitlist, but the improved score did help with my applications this year :)

Do you think Indian applicants are disadvantaged in terms of scholarships because we are just too many? And the adcom doesn’t need to make efforts to recruit Indians as compared to other geographies?

I think Darden has been extremely generous to Indians in terms of scholarships. I’d say we aren’t disadvantaged, but we do have higher competition. A lot of other admits from India have received a fairly significant scholarship.

Particularly since Darden is known to give scholarships, I am surprised you didn’t get one :)

I’m not actually. I think the lack of pedigree and grades on my Resume did hurt me. It's fairly humbling to read the profiles of other candidates who have been admitted.

Amaranth says "Thank you all, happy to be here! Feel free to get in touch if you have any specific questions!"
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In it to win it - Interact with Darden R1 admit   [#permalink] 06 Jan 2019, 23:43
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