A quick glance at Darden’s rankings will reveal just how scattered and silly the whole business school rankings game has become. The Economist puts UVA’s Darden School at number three in the world, behind only Chicago and Dartmouth Tuck. Rival British publication, The Financial Times, has Darden at a rank of 32nd in the world. Both results lack any credibility, largely due to the severely flawed methodologies followed by those two lists.
Darden’s Class of 2015 was among the most highly compensated MBAs in the world. The average starting salary and bonus was $136,474, up 14.4$ from $119,278 five years earlier. The 2015 pay numbers make Darden MBAs the 11th highest paid graduates out of U.S. business schools, with Chicago Booth and Duke Fuqua just ahead of the school’s graduates and Northwestern Kellogg, NYU Stern just below the Darden numbers.
When it came to employment, Darden did even better. Some 94% of the Class of 2015 had jobs three months after graduation. That was seventh best among the top 25 U.S. MBA programs, with Wharton, Emory, and Dartmouth Tuck just slightly higher.
Round 1: 05 October 2017
Round 2: 09 January 2018
Round 3: 03 April 2018
Decision 1: 13 December 2017
Decision 2: 21 March 2018
Decision 3: 10 May 2018
APPLICATION ESSAY TIPS
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.
Essay 1 –
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.