Virginia, Darden MBA Interview

According to publicly available reports, Darden bundles a half-dozen interview questions into one covering statement that directs interviewees to tell their story.

  • In a nutshell, Darden’s single question is “Tell me about yourself.”

In at least one case, this extended version of the same question was asked:  

“I am here for you to tell me your story. Just tell me about yourself. In the process you can cover college, anything before college if relevant, your resume, why MBA and why Darden.”

According to the public reports you should expect:

  • to be given 20-30 minutes for your story (though the whole interview itself may last longer should you talk for a long time and follow up questions are saved until the end of your monologue.)
  • to be interrupted sometimes with follow-up questions.
  • to be interviewed by a current student, possibly with an adcom member present (unless, of course, you have arranged on an off-campus interview with an alumnus.)
  • the interview to be blind (i.e. the interviewer will not have seen your resume.)
  • a relaxed atmosphere: In the Virginia Darden MBA interview interviewers seem genuinely interested in hearing applicants’ personal histories, from what I’ve seen in reports.
  • to be given the chance to ask questions about Darden to the interviewer.

Based on what the reports say, Darden really seems to want to get to know the person “behind” the application- the person who wrote the application essays and earned the test scores that inspired Darden to extend an interview invitation.  

Considering that most interviewers are students, and the fact that they are allowing interviewees the freedom to talk so much about their lives, suggests they consider this the best way to select for people who would be the most interesting future classmates.

Darden MBA Frequently Asked Interview Questions

  1. Walk us through your resume
  2. Why MBA? Why now? Why Darden?
  3. Share some of your leadership experiences. How will your help the Darden community.
  4. How did you first became interested in Darden?
  5. What was the different thing you found in your undergraduate college
  6. Tell us about your current job
  7. What are your long and short term goals? How would your friends describe you?
  8. What are your concerns about Darden? Are there any questions about Darden that you wish to ask?

Darden MBA Interview Questions - 10

My interview was during the first week of February. I received an invite to interview on January 23rd and the only available options were the following week. Since Darden makes you fly to Charlottesville to interview if you live in the U.S., I didn’t really have an option, but to fly in. I flew in Thursday night to Charlottesville and stayed at the Inn at Darden (which I would recommend). The hotel itself is not the nicest, but it’s so convenient to be able to walk to your interview in the morning and not worry about catching an uber or lyft to campus.

On my actual interview day, there was a standard agenda that I followed. The admissions office offered a “continental breakfast” which was really just bananas, coffee, and bagels. They had students who came and talked to us throughout the morning.

I interviewed with an admissions officers and the interview was broken up into four sections. She started by giving me an introduction to who she was and told me that this was a time for me to tell my story- my values and interests and what has led me to this point. After giving me one section, I would respond and then she would provide me with the questions/transition to the next section.

  1. What are your values, passions, your background (feel free to start from your early years). Where did you go to college and why? What major did you select? Talk about any internships you had in college and any leadership positions you held.
  2. Let’s talk about your career. What was your first job? Have you changed jobs since then? If so, why? In your jobs, what was a challenge you faced and what has been an accomplishment? (I have worked at two companies and I provided a challenge and accomplishment for each).
  3. Why MBA? Why Now? Long term/short term goals? Why Darden?
  4. Sometimes you are the only one like yourself in the room or in a certain setting. Tell me about a time when this was the case. What did you learn? What were some of the challenges?How will that equip you to be successful in business school?

Overall, Darden was the interview that I felt most comfortable with throughout the process. I did not feel that the AO was trying to trip me up- I truly felt that she wanted to hear my story. This forum has been extremely helpful for me, so I hope my review is useful. Best of luck!

Darden MBA Interview Questions - 9

All Darden interviews are blind, so the interviewer has not seen your application or resume. My interviewer was an admissions staffer who explained to me that invitations to interview are determined by two admissions staffers’ evaluations of the candidate’s application, then a third staffer does the blind interview and writes a report that gets added to the admissions file. The last step is for two additional admissions staffers to review the completed file (application plus interview report), after which they make a decision to admit, waitlist, or reject by December 16.

The interview was exactly as others described. The prompt was to tell the interviewer “your story” starting with where you grew up, where you went to college, what you’ve done since college, why you’re applying to business schools, why Darden specifically, and what your specific plans are post-graduation. She told me that I had about 30 minutes and to manage my time accordingly, and she largely let me talk except to stop me three or four times to ask follow-up questions (how did you pick your undergrad school, what did you find challenging about this job, etc.).

At the end, she asked me two Darden-specific questions. One was what my experience was with both international travel and working with people from different countries and how a “global” program like Darden’s could enrich me in those respects. The other was what organizations I would engage with outside of “professional clubs” to have a work-life balance at Darden. In the end, she let me ask her two or three questions, then that was it!

For those scheduling an interview, go for an earlier time slot. I interviewed at noon and found myself done with First Coffee, campus tour, financial aid info session, etc. at 11 and killing time for an hour. In retrospect, I should have scheduled a class visit during the hour of the campus tour and gone on the afternoon offering of the tour instead. Also, book class visit slots ASAP since they fill up fast!

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Darden MBA Interview Questions - 8

I had a 30-min interview with a 2nd year international student. It was very easy going and conversational. It was also a blind interview and my interviewer did not take notes. The questions are very typical for MBA.

They include:

  • Introduce yourself and tell me about your background.
  • Why MBA?
  • Why Darden?
  • How do you see yourself getting involved on campus?
  • Tell me about a conflict you had with a coworker and how you resolved it?
  • What is your international experience?
  • What classes are you interested in?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Darden MBA Interview Questions - 7

Thank you Clear Admit for these wonderful interview reports! I completed an interview with Darden for the second round, and it was EXACTLY what I expected based on previous interview reports. Most other interviews that I did were more question and answer, question and answer, question and answer.

Darden was different in that the interviewer, in my case a second-year student, laid the ground rules, but basically said, “Tell me your story.” I actually rolled through the typical narrative that other interviews require. This included where I came from and where I want to go and ultimately how Darden fit into the equation.

With that said, it went well, however, my interviewer’s phone went off in the middle of the interview when I was telling my story. I found it straightforward and relaxed. I didn’t have my watch, but I think it lasted for about a half hour or so and that was with questions for the interviewer.

Great experience overall! I got a military fellowship, and I will be on my way to Darden this fall. I love Charlottesville! I highly recommend. Great history to the school and fantastic employment statistics!

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Darden MBA Interview Questions - 6

All Darden interviews are blind, so the interviewer has not seen your application or resume. My interviewer was an admissions staffer who explained to me that invitations to interview are determined by two admissions staffers’ evaluations of the candidate’s application, then a third staffer does the blind interview and writes a report that gets added to the admissions file. The last step is for two additional admissions staffers to review the completed file (application plus interview report), after which they make a decision to admit, waitlist, or reject by December 16.

The interview was exactly as others described. The prompt was to tell the interviewer “your story” starting with where you grew up, where you went to college, what you’ve done since college, why you’re applying to business schools, why Darden specifically, and what your specific plans are post-graduation. She told me that I had about 30 minutes and to manage my time accordingly, and she largely let me talk except to stop me three or four times to ask follow-up questions (how did you pick your undergrad school, what did you find challenging about this job, etc.).

At the end, she asked me two Darden-specific questions. One was what my experience was with both international travel and working with people from different countries and how a “global” program like Darden’s could enrich me in those respects. The other was what organizations I would engage with outside of “professional clubs” to have a work-life balance at Darden. In the end, she let me ask her two or three questions, then that was it!

For those scheduling an interview, go for an earlier time slot. I interviewed at noon and found myself done with First Coffee, campus tour, financial aid info session, etc. at 11 and killing time for an hour. In retrospect, I should have scheduled a class visit during the hour of the campus tour and gone on the afternoon offering of the tour instead. Also, book class visit slots ASAP since they fill up fast!

Darden MBA Interview Questions - 5

My interview was at 9am at Darden’s admissions office with a member of the Adcom. There were about 10-20 interviewees also there for morning interviews, with about 4-6 scheduled every hour. My interviewer stated at the beginning that the interview would be completely blind, as she had not even viewed my resume. She then asked me to spend about 15-20 minutes talking about myself. Although 15-20 minutes sounds long, I was in reality telling her aspects of my life that she would then ask clarifying questions about. Overall, the interview was more conversational than question and answer style. However, she did ask some specific questions related to Darden and my background, including:

– Why MBA?

– Why Darden?

– How do you see yourself contributing to Darden?

– What would you become involved with at Darden?

– Describe a time when you had difficulties in a team setting?

In general none of the questions really surprised me, but I did gain a sense of the Darden community. Specifically, Darden seems to represent a homely, family environment that caters to those seeking an intimate learning environment.

Darden MBA Interview Questions - 4

The interview was a Skype interview with a member of the Adcom. She started with an outline of how the interview would go. The questions I should expect (the common questions) e.g Short-term and Long-term goals, Why an MBA, Why Now and Why Darden etc. I started with my story which went on for about 25 minutes and I made sure I answered all the commonly asked questions. She interrupted twice to ask follow up questions.

All in all, it was easier than I thought it’d be. Mostly because my interviewer was very warm and friendly which is also what surprised me the most. For anyone who has scheduled to interview and is yet to: Make sure to have your story – which answers all the commonly asked questions – down to a science. When I told mine she literally told me she had no other questions to ask as I had already answered them.

Darden MBA Interview Questions - 3

I was told from the very beginning that this is a blind interview and she hasn’t read anything about me. I have 30 mins to tell her my entire story right from:

  • where I grew up
  • undergrad
  • majors
  • activities
  • why I took up a particular job
  • current job
  • why MBA
  • why Darden
  • hobbies
  • any activities I would take up at Darden.

Conclusion:

Darden really wants to focus on the fit about your expectations at school and how you would utilize the opportunities for your future goals.

It was very conversational and she kept asking questions wherever she deemed it fit.

Darden MBA Interview Questions - 2

My interviewer (a second-year student) was very friendly and the atmosphere was casual. The interview was similar to those that others have reported – I was given about 30 minutes to “tell my story”. This task was MUCH less daunting than I expected it to be.
I approached this as combing the “walk me through your résumé” question with the “why an mba/why now/why XX school” questions. This seemed to be effective. My interviewer interjected just a few times with questions relevant to my story. He also asked about what role I feel I serve on teams, and what value would I add to my learning team. He also answered my questions thoroughly.
All in all – one of the more relaxed interviews I’ve had!

Darden MBA Interview Questions - 1

I’m very glad I prepared ahead of time for this interview. My interviewer was the Associate Dean of Admissions! After I got over my nerves at the beginning the conversation went very smoothly. The interview was totally blind. She opened with the Darden, “so tell me your story.” I went chronologically but she interjected with questions along the way and I wove in specifics about why Darden throughout the story process. After I finished my story she had some follow-up questions such as:

  • Why Darden?
  • What do you hope to get involved in while at Darden
  • Tell me about a time when you observed the actions of a leader or manager who embodied who you want to be as a leader. OR on the flip slide a time when you observed the actions of a leader manager and thought to yourself, “I will never do that.”

She left a lot of time for me to ask about the school and the programs in place so have a lot of questions prepared.

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