The University of Virginia Darden has only grown in reputation in recent years, especially as it has continued to further successfully diversify its class. Known for its rigorous academic program and the tight-knit community it creates, Darden has maintained its position as one of the most sought-after MBA programs.
Before we dive into the essays, if you haven’t already, be sure to take a look at Darden’s deadlines.
Essay 1: Given that you will be forming lifelong connections with your classmates that extend beyond the classroom, what is important for your classmates to know about you that is not on your resumé? (200 words)
UVA Darden is intensely invested in the idea of fit, which is the hidden theme of this question. In other words, the admissions committee is using the answer to ascertain whether you’re the sort of individual that’s going to bring a positive benefit to the class. They’ll judge your level of fit not only on the content of your response but also on its presentation. With 200 words, can you concisely spark their interest?
A good approach here would be to try to identify episodes or characteristics in your profile, ideally outside of the context of work, that illustrate your ability to have some sort of beneficial contribution to your future class and highlight some strengths that Darden is looking for among its candidates, such as leadership, team-mindedness or innovation. However, you could also head in another direction by discussing something unique or formative in your background.
To make the selection process easier, start by creating a list of potential topics, and then weigh each option against the other content in your application, before committing to one.
Essay 2: Please describe a tangible example that illuminates your experience promoting an inclusive environment and what you would bring to creating an inclusive global community at Darden. (300 words)
Inclusivity has become a vital aspect in MBA admissions. Darden is especially conscious of the importance of creating a diverse student body, in terms of its makeup and its mission. Concentrate on an example that illustrates your activity or interaction with diverse individuals, either in the workplace or outside of it. Make sure to focus in on an instance where you had a tangible effect—Darden is looking for examples of inclusivity promotion, rather than just participation. Though, keep in mind, that tangible doesn’t have to mean outsized: changing the mind or experience of a single individual could serve as an excellent story.
Once you’ve written out the example, you need to tie it into the UVA MBA program. How does your experience testify to your ability to contribute to inclusivity at Darden? By now, you should have done enough research on the MBA in order to be able to identify concrete areas where you could be of benefit. Moreover, try your best to avoid generality in this part of your response, as you want the AdCom reading your answer to be convinced of your interest in and understanding of the program.
Essay 3: At this time how would you describe your short-term, post-MBA goal in terms of industry, function, geography, company size and/or mission and how does it align with the long-term vision you have for your career? (200 words)
From this answer, Darden is trying to identify how realistic and attractive your particular goals are. When choosing your short-term objective, you should endeavor to consider it both in the context of your past experiences and of the types of roles that an MBA from Darden can provide you with. If Darden senses that your short-term goal is either too paltry or too ambitious for your profile, your chances at the program would likely be significantly impacted.
When it comes to long-term goals, you can dream bigger. The admissions committee wants to select future leaders that desire to have a positive impact on their industries and communities; so, while you may not want to exaggerate, you do want to illustrate your intention to rise up and have an impact.
If you’re looking to maximize your entry chances to UVA Darden, be sure to connect with our Darden Experts. And, for information on technical aspects of the application process, you can visit UVA’s official site.