Unlike at some schools, the interviews at Darden are anonymous. Meaning, your interviewer doesn’t know anything about you beforehand other than your name and interview time.
The adcomm team believes this is the fairest approach because your interviewer will have no pre-formed expectations before meeting you. “It’s a level playing field for EVERYONE,” they note, adding, “This ‘uninformed’ approach is one of the best things about interviewing at Darden.”
Remember to pay attention to first impressions. Ensure your initial interactions with your interviewer—or the person setting up the interview beforehand—via email, by phone, or in-person are favorable and demonstrate your enthusiasm and positive attitude.
As the Discover Darden Blog explains, the Darden MBA interview is conversational and provides a chance to tell your story. You should highlight things such as leadership experience and global exposure, as well as examples of teamwork and impact. Don’t neglect to share your hobbies and interests, too. “After all, you will bring your whole, authentic self to Darden,” the adcomm notes.
Consider answering questions in the C.A.R. format. The acronym stands for Context, Action, Result. As you answer the question, you’ll first summarize the situation, then tell the interviewer what you did, and finally, discuss what happened afterward. Remember to include anything quantifiable—give them the numbers—whenever possible.
The Darden MBA Interview in 2020
Ample practice is key to a successful interview. The school cautions against mistaking its conversational interview approach as a free pass to wing it. You have only about 35 minutes to convey a lot of information about yourself.
Your Darden MBA interview will take place virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Look over our tips for virtual MBA interviews, and make sure you feel comfortable with Zoom technology.
Find a quiet place with a reliable internet connection so you can interview without interruption. “This doesn’t mean you have to go full celebrity bookshelf, but you should give some thought to your surroundings, your lighting, and any items that may be in your background,” they advise.
Finally, remember to ask smart questions at the end of the interview. Your interviewer can learn more about you from the kinds of questions you ask him or her. So, think of something you’d like to know that you couldn’t find on the school website and that works for many kinds of interviewers, no matter their level.
If you can convey your passions, self-awareness, and curiosity about the world around you, you stand a good chance of acing your Darden interview.