UVA Darden 2014 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines


UVA_DardenDarden 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. 

UVA Darden 2014 Application Deadlines:

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

Linda Abraham By , 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.

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for UVA Darden, please provide the following information:

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
    6) Your post-MBA goal.

    Or if you just have a question about MBA admissions, I’ll do my best to answer it.

  • henry

    Hi, I am 25 years old from Indonesia
    I would like a profile evaluation for UVA Darden, so here is my information
    1.) I have 3 years work experiences in an Insurance Company
    I started as a trainee and after rigorous training, I was assigned as claim officer in the head quarter.
    After 6 months, I had a chance in a branch office as a claim supervisor, leading a small team of 5 new claim officers. It was quite a success hence I got a promotion as a head of operational, in another branch office on another city.
    My job was to handling 3 main things, insurance claims, policy services, and finance
    2.) I have not taken the GMAT yet , but i am for 700
    3.) I have a double degree on Mechatronics Engineering in a local college called Swiss German University and on Project Management in a German College called FH Suedwestfallen. My GPA is 3.48. Year of graduation : 2011
    4.) Founder of robotics club in college and regular religious community activities
    5.) No special certifications
    6.) MY post MBA goal is to advance my career in management, esp in technology area

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham


      Assume your GMAT ends up as you intended, you have a competitive profile for Darden. However, don’t apply exclusively to Darden. Also consider other programs, like Duke, Cornell Johnson, CMU Tepper, UCLA, Rotman