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.
This entry was posted in Application Tips, Virginia Darden Advice and tagged application, application deadlines, application tips, applications, Darden School of Business, Essay Questions, Essay Tips, Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips, MBA application, UVA Darden, Virginia MBA.
Bookmark this post..
UVA / Darden MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018
Following up on the announcement of the Darden essay topic for 2017-2018, we wanted to take a closer look at this season’s prompt for UVA MBA Class of 2020 hopefuls.
This is the fifth consecutive year that the Darden essay section has comprised a single 500-word essay asking applicants to recount the specifics of a past experience. This year, Darden has set the spotlight on their use of the case study method and asked applicants to showcase their potential ability to thrive in their learning environment.
UVA / Darden MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018
Let’s take a closer look at the Darden 2017-2018 essay topic:
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)
Darden has replaced their usual prompt about constructive feedback for one focused on communication and teamwork amidst diverse points of view. In Darden’s MBA application video tip series, Sara Neher, long-time assistant dean of admissions, talks more about the new essay.
In the video tip, Neher notes that the adcom wants to see how applicants would fit in the classroom – not only listening to and learning from other people, but also having ideas and opinions to share. As a relatively small program, Darden seeks to assemble as wide of a set of viewpoints as possible in their classrooms and within learning teams – and to foster an environment in which diverse points of view are welcome. Therefore, having an open mind and showing respect for others in your essay would leave a positive impression of your potential role as a Darden MBA student. Of course, it’s absolutely fine to discuss a time when differences in opinion led to discomfort, conflict or confusion – as long as you then detail how you worked through this and what lessons you learned.
Effective responses will open by providing context; explaining the setting and situation for the opinion and discussions, the people involved, and the events that inspired one’s evolution. Discussing your engagement with others and your reactions to differing points of view will entail a level of self-reflection on your personal growth and shift in perspective. That said, while the prompt places emphasis on discussions, keep in mind that taking action is a key part of demonstrating leadership as well. So, while the base communication is important, it would be ideal to recount a situation in which the evolution of your opinion led to a positive, tangible impact. In wrapping up the essay, it would make sense to comment on how the particular situation would translate to thriving at Darden. The adcom sets the stage of the learning environment in the opening of the prompt—you can conclude with how you would add to it based on the experience you share. You might also comment on your enthusiasm for the type of debate and exchange that case-based instruction fosters.
Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Darden MBA essay topics. As you work on your Darden MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s UVA offerings:
Posted in: Application Tips, Essay Topic Analysis, Essays
Schools: UVA / Darden