Darden led the way with a one-essay application. Some may feel that fewer essays indicate that essays are losing importance. My suspicion is that the remaining essays and short-answers are as or more important than they ever were. Especially at a program emphasizing the case method and experiential learning, evidence that you can communicate, analyze a problem from multiple perspectives, and handle the rigorous program that Darden is famous for are all critical.
My tips for answering the Darden application essay are in blue below.
1. Share your thought process as you encountered a challenging work situation or complex problem. What did you learn about yourself? (500 word maximum)
Interesting question, and there are lots of different ways to approach it. Here’s one: Start by describing the work situation or complex problem. The more vividly you can describe the scene, the better. Steer away from problems where the complexity is entirely technical. There can be a technical component, but you want to make sure your reader understands what you were facing. A problem with a leadership or inter-personal element is a good one. How did you decide to deal with the challenges you were facing? What were the factors that influenced your approach?
In relating this story, don’t omit the results of your approach. Was it effective? How did it resolve the different elements of the problem?
Conclude with the lessons you learned from the experience. Show that you have the maturity and self awareness to reflect thoughtfully on your own actions. In what way(s) did your perspective on leadership or other components of your challenge change? Demonstrate growth and the ability to change as you analyze the effect of this experience on you.
If you would like professional guidance with your UVA Darden MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the UVA Darden application.
|Application Deadline||Decisions Released|
|Round 1||October 15, 2013||December 17, 2013|
|Round 2||January 7, 2014||March 25, 2014|
|Round 3||March 27, 2014||May 6, 2014|
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.