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University of Virginia Darden MBA Essay Analysis 2017!

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Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 6715
Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
University of Virginia Darden MBA Essay Analysis 2017!  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Aug 2017, 02:29
Hey all you future Dardenites!

Admissionado back once again with fresh, off-the-shelves essay analyses for Darden's 2017 application! We wanted to jump in and give you a head-start on those essays questions jog that imagination, and give you a few tips and tricks to get started on your University of Virginia Darden essays to get you started on the best foot this year. Soooooo, without further ado:

Darden MBA Essay Analysis

“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)


There’s a lot going on here. On the one hand, there’s the actual “discussion” and the evolution of your opinion over time. That part is hard enough… and it’s only one aspect of this whole thing. The real key is this:

You started the conversation convinced that your opinion was correct. This is critical, otherwise, any movement away from that opinion toward another one will be weak. You started out EXTREMELY sure of yourself. Explain that frame of mind. Sell us on it. And walk us through WHY you were so confident that you were right.

But then, something changed. Someone else offered up a new angle. It could have been a contradictory idea. Or someone simply shed new light on it by way of a fresh, new perspective. Something that caused your original opinion to… no longer hold as perfectly as it had PRIOR to that conversation. Maybe it was one person, maybe it was truly a group of people. Maybe it happened in one sit-down, maybe it happened over weeks and months. Doesn’t really matter, your opinion evolved.

Now, the part that we really need to get a sense of is your thirst for not just “your own opinion” but “the better opinion.” The fuller one. The nuanced one. The more complete one. “The better one.” At least, you ended up there. It’s possible that your grip on your opinion was initially very TIGHT and that, through this experience, you changed your attitude. Maybe it was the “lightbulb moment” when you stopped focusing on being in love with your own ideas, and began thirsting for other people’s insights that may help enrich your take, improve upon it, etc. On the other hand, you may just be the person who ALWAYS seeks out others’ opinions precisely because you’re obsessed with “better” and not just “yours” when it comes to “opinions.” It doesn’t really matter which one of those people YOU are, what matters is that you’re able to look back on the moments and track the evolution of your position.

It’s all about that last bullet. Your ability to track your movement of your opinion from Starting Point A to Ending Point B speaks to (1) self-awareness and (2) a respect for “the best idea” whoever’s it is (or better yet, stripped of ownership entirely). Why? These are the trademark qualities of capable leaders. These are the people who aren’t afraid to hire top talent who might offer new insights, challenge the status quo, etc. These are the people who are more likely to learn from a mistake than be stubbornly protective of their reputation. These are the folks with limitless potential.

500 words. Here’s one version of how it might go:

Part 1 – Setup “your opinion.” Give us just the nuts and bolts that lead up to your position on whatever it is we’re talking about. Explain why you believed what you believed, especially the “why you were incredibly sure you were right.” If you do this section correctly, we should be utterly convinced that you were well justified believing what you believed. (100 words or so)

Part 2 – But then, someone throws a wrench into the thing. A new idea. A contrasting perspective. Something. Perhaps initially you completely disagreed. Or, instantly, the idea blew your mind in a good way. Whatever it is, it took you OFF your original position, either a little, or a lot. Tell us about that. Why hadn’t that occurred to you before? Had you considered and dismissed it? Why did THIS version work better? Had it not occurred to you at all? What was it about this new person’s experiences that gave him/her access to this new perspective? Take us inside it. It doesn’t need to be either of those things, but now you have a sense for the KIND of detail we’re looking for. (125-150 words)

Part 3 – This could go a few different ways, depending on which version of the story you’re telling. If this was the first time you were moved OFF of an opinion and it was uncomfortable/new, walk us through THAT. If this was NOT the first time you moved off an idea, walk us through the deltas between the original opinion, and then the next iteration, and then the next, reveling in the fact that it’s getting better and better each time.

Part 4 – Why should anyone care about this? What’s your take on why this is relevant to anyone at all? But then, why might this be an important weapon in YOUR particular arsenal given all your aspirations?

Humility is the name of the game here, folks. Being extremely comfortable “admitting” to moving off an opinion is the key. In fact, the person who truly embraces this concept sees it less as moving OFF of an original opinion and more like moving TOWARD a better one. (See the difference?)

And that's that. Helpful, eh? If you have any questions on it or Darden or anything, just reply here or shoot us a PM. And if you want more Essay Analysis Goodness, check out more schools here. We're updating 'em daily as new prompts are released, so keep checking back.
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University of Virginia Darden MBA Essay Analysis 2017!   [#permalink] 17 Aug 2017, 02:29

University of Virginia Darden MBA Essay Analysis 2017!

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