Category Archives: Virginia Darden Advice

UVA Darden MBA Essay Tips

Darden was the trendsetter two years ago when they first introduced the single MBA essay question. The other school most devoted to the case method, HBS, has followed suit this year and many other programs …

Darden was the trendsetter two years ago when they first introduced the single MBA essay question. The other school most devoted to the case method, HBS, has followed suit this year and many other programs have streamlined the number of questions or the word counts for the essay portion of the application.

While writing only 500 words may seem simple, it gives you much less room to highlight all of the important parts of your profile for the admissions committee. Writing a compelling essay with such limited space is actually quite challenging and requires you to focus only on the most important aspects you need to communicate. Leadership is crucial to future Darden MBAs. Personal qualities are also crucial to Darden, a school with a small, tight-knit community. Learn more about the school by visiting the Darden website, attending events and speaking with current students and alumni.

MBA Application Essay Question:
Share your thought process as you encountered a challenging work situation or complex problem. What did you learn about yourself? (500 words maximum)

In this question Darden is asking to understand how you behave in a challenging or complex situation and what such challenges have taught you about yourself. The best use of this essay space will use specific examples to illustrate how you handled the challenge or problem and how you arrived at your change in perspective.

Before you start answering the question it may help to brainstorm some of your best professional accomplishment stories. As you think about the areas where you have excelled you may find that many of your accomplishments were preceded by a challenge or problem you needed to solve. Work backgrounds from the accomplishment to see where the challenge or issue arose and how you transformed it into a learning experience.

Once you have a list of all of the potential experiences to discuss, choose the examples that will also demonstrate some of your personal qualities to the admissions committee. You have your career history submitted in your resume. Your GPA, transcript and GMAT will demonstrate academic ability. This essay is one of your few opportunities to show how you think, what your leadership approach is, and how you handle teamwork and conflict. Think about the situations that showcased your best performance at work, or that taught you something about your interests or future career goals.

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.

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Darden School of Business Offering Application Feedback

Receiving a ding from your program of choice can sting harshly, and sometimes applicants have a difficult time understanding where exactly they went wrong, if indeed there was a misstep of some sort. Unsuccessful applicants …

Darden application feedback

Receiving a ding from your program of choice can sting harshly, and sometimes applicants have a difficult time understanding where exactly they went wrong, if indeed there was a misstep of some sort.

Unsuccessful applicants to the MBA program at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business have the rare opportunity among top b-schools to ask for feedback on their application during the month of June.

If you plan on reapplying to Darden, you should definitely take advantage of the 15-minute feedback phone calls with an AdCom member currently offered by the school. This is a great way to find out what you can do to improve your candidacy for the coming year.

 

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UV Darden Admissions Updates

The MBA blog from University of Virginia Darden School of Business recently posted a few important reminders and clarifications for current and upcoming applicants. Round one applications have already been reviewed, for the most part, …

The MBA blog from University of Virginia Darden School of Business recently posted a few important reminders and clarifications for current and upcoming applicants.


Round one applications have already been reviewed, for the most part, but the admissions committee is still reading and conducting interviews either on campus or via Skype for international applicants. Darden will continue to extend interview invitations until the final decision release date coming up December 19, 2012.

If you do receive a request for an interview, the turn-around time between receiving the request and coming to Charlottesville is generally one to two weeks, though the school notes it can be somewhat flexible on timing.

Some MBA candidates planning to apply for the Round two deadline on January 9, 2013 have asked whether they can submit an optional essay, which many other programs allow. The admissions committee candidly admits they don’t want to read an extra essay, but do offer a section for additional comments that applicants may use should they feel the need to elaborate or clarify any issues.

If you do land on the waitlist, UV Darden asks that you keep in touch and provide updates if anything in your personal or professional life changes.  The admissions committee will continue to review your application in subsequent rounds. Candidates should note that you can’t be placed on the waitlist without an interview.

Classes are already out of session, so UV Darden won’t be scheduling visits or open houses this month. Any R2 applicants who had hoped to make a school visit prior to hitting submit will have to wait until late January when classes are once again in session.

That doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck however, since current students are hosting a series of coffee chats in their hometowns around the world throughout December and January. This is a great way for prospective students  to learn more about UV Darden straight from the source, so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity if you find a student host near you!

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Tuesday Tips: UVA Darden MBA Essay Tips

Continuing the trend started last year, UVA Darden again asks candidates to answer only one essay question. While you only have to write 500 words, you have to make those words count. Leadership is crucial …

Continuing the trend started last year, UVA Darden again asks candidates to answer only one essay question. While you only have to write 500 words, you have to make those words count. Leadership is crucial to future Darden MBAs. Personal qualities are also crucial to Darden, a school with a small, tight-knit community. Learn more about the school by visiting the Darden website, attending events and speaking with current students and alumni.

MBA Application Essay Question:
Share your thought process as you encountered a challenging work situation or complex problem. How did this experience change your perspective? (500 words maximum)

In this question Darden is asking to understand how you behave in a challenging or complex situation and what such challenges have taught you about yourself. The best use of this essay space will use specific examples to illustrate how you handled the challenge or problem and how you arrived at your change in perspective.

Before you start answering the question it may help to brainstorm some of your best professional accomplishment stories. As you think about the areas where you have excelled you may find that many of your accomplishments were preceded by a challenge or problem you needed to solve.

Once you have a list of all of the potential experiences to discuss, choose the examples that will also demonstrate some of your personal qualities to the admissions committee. You have your career history submitted in your resume and your GPA, transcript and GMAT to demonstrate academic ability. This essay is one of your few opportunities to show how you think, what your leadership approach is, and how you handle teamwork and conflict. Think about the situations that showcased your best performance at work, or that were a turning point in your approach to problem solving.

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.

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A Glimpse Inside the Case Method Approach at UVA’s MBA Program

If you’re a UVA MBA applicant who’s just emerging from yesterday’s tryptophan-induced coma, sit back, relax and take a gander at these videos designed to help you learn more about the case method experience at …

If you’re a UVA MBA applicant who’s just emerging from yesterday’s tryptophan-induced coma, sit back, relax and take a gander at these videos designed to help you learn more about the case method experience at Darden.

Students are exposed to over 500 cases in a variety of industries and functions during their time at the UVA MBA program. If you are able to visit a Darden class, you’ll see that students do most of the talking. But if you can’t visit, watching these highlights of a case study class is the next best thing.

Here, a Global Economies and Markets class taught by professor Peter Rodriguez

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This video shows how Darden teaches the First Year MBA Accounting course using the case method of instruction.

And finally, here’s a candidate from the UVA MBA for Executives Class of 2012 explaining why he values the case method approach.

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Tuesday Tips – UVA MBA Essay Tips

Tuesday Tips tackles UVA Darden’s brief essay questions. With only 1000 words the essays require focus on your application strategy.

With only two essay questions and 1000 words to communicate your qualitative benefits to the UVA MBA program, you will need to be incredibly strategic when approaching the UVA MBA essay questions this year. Leadership and the Darden community are the main focus of the two questions and you are never specifically asked about your career goals or why an MBA is necessary for you.

Remember to formulate your examples and answers strategically ”“ you will want to hit upon your management and leadership experiences at work and community service as well as your fit with the unique UVA MBA culture. If you focus on providing specific examples in the questions you will be able to demonstrate who you are and how you benefit any community you are a part of, as well as your approach to leadership.

MBA Application Essay Questions 2010-2011

1. The UVA MBA program expects students to actively participate in learning teams, the classroom, and the broader community. Please share one or two examples from your past experience that best illustrate(s) how you will contribute to this highly engaging and hands-on learning environment. (500 words)

This question is an opportunity to both describe your fit with the UVA MBA program and sell yourself to the program. Starting with what you bring to the table is an effective way to approach this essay. What are your points of differentiation from other MBA candidates? Do you bring a unique leadership style or knowledge you can share? How will you contribute to the classroom and the community? Do not limit yourself to purely academic pursuits as the close-knit UVA MBA community expects involvement.

Because you are never specifically asked about your accomplishments or even your goals, this is also an opportunity to hit some of that material as you discuss your contributions at work and in the community that highlight how you will contribute to Darden.

Thorough school research will be a huge asset to this essay. Do not forget the personal touch, speaking with current students and alumni will be invaluable.

2. Please discuss how a global event that has taken place in the past two years has impacted the way you think about leadership broadly and personally. (500 words)

Last year, Darden asked specifically about the economic upheaval in the prior 18 months. This question is more open-ended and therefore might be even more daunting to approach. Start by brainstorming about the events you can easily recall over the last two years. Were there any news stories that struck you either personally or professionally?

For example, perhaps you are interested in focusing on clean energy in your post-MBA career and the Gulf oil spill highlighted the importance of this choice for you. Or you were laid off during the financial crisis and had to learn what was really most important in your life. Once you have a list of potential events, think about the ones that have the most personal resonance and why. If the reasons are consistent with an MBA application and will inform the UVA MBA program about your potential as a student and a leader, consider using that topic.

An additional layer to your topic is the second part of this question, which deals with your approach and thinking about leadership. To thoroughly answer this question you will need to establish how you previously thought about leadership and how the global event you are writing about has either reaffirmed your attitudes or completely changed them. While a personal example is not specifically called for in this question, it would enhance your essay.

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