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. Describe the most courageous professional decision you have made or most courageous action you have taken at work. What did you learn from that experience? (500 word maximum)
First of all, I strongly encourage you to watch the video with Darden’s Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions Sarah Neher where she lays out what they’re looking for in this essay:
What is courage? The strength to act in the face of fear, difficulty, criticism, opposition, and possibly danger. Hopefully you didn’t need courage because you were facing true danger on the job, but perhaps you needed it for some of the other reasons I provided. When did you have the strength and courage to take ownership of a project, position, or initiative? When did something become your baby? What was the decision? What did you do? Why was it so important to you? What was the result? And most importantly (per the video), what did you learn?
They not only want to know your reaction to a particularly challenging situation; they want to see how you respond when you are personally invested and excited about a challenge, initiative, or project.
Final tidbit: Make sure you answer all elements of the question. That’s critical.
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 10, 2014||December 17, 2014|
|Round 2||January 7, 2015||March 25, 2015|
|Round 3||April 1, 2015||May 6, 2015|
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.