Darden’s website is very user-friendly in terms of support for developing your application overall and your essays specifically. I can’t top it, so I’ll present a couple of key points from it that I consider essential to successful Darden EMBA essays. First, “An effective application is one that leaves our Admissions Committee thinking, ‘This is someone we want to learn more about.’” After determining that you are qualified, which they will do based on your transcripts and work history, they are still looking for that something extra – something to engage, fascinate, entice them. Of course, your resume, recommendations, and even transcripts might make them want to learn more about you. But the essays are where you can and should grab them.
Second, that website provides succinct, on-target advice for how to effectively address the application’s short essays (and indeed it’s advice that I give clients for almost any essay): “When crafting your responses, think about the narrative you are trying to advance with your application… we encourage you to think of it as a story-telling exercise.” In other words, the essays as a whole should (a) enhance and enliven the impression of your candidacy and (b) make you stand out as a unique, interesting, dynamic individual – potentially a valuable contributor to the program. All the explanation in the world won’t do this, but a powerful story will. View these short essays as facets of a robust picture – each must be a strong stand-alone statement, while also resonating with the others.
Darden Executive MBA 2019-20 application essays
Darden EMBA essay #1
Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personal, professional or both. (100 words)
This question is essentially an elevator pitch. By asking you to address the learning team, the adcom can gauge how well you understand and connect with your peers, a critical point for a program that is small and close-knit. At the same time, there’s a second audience: the adcom. It’s like they’re “observing” you interact with your peers. So, pay attention to tone and expression – make it clear that you’re “talking to” your EMBA peers. But also, consider substance: while you will naturally include professional points of interest, you can also include some personal factors that are particularly relevant. This short essay captures both content that “frames: your profile and your Social IQ.
Darden EMBA essay #2
Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose. Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact. (200 words)
This question is a great opportunity to show that you are a person of significant impact, a person who leaves a mark. It’s also a chance to let the adcom see you in action, performing at a high level with significant stakes. Most people will select a story from work, and I suggest something fairly recent, if possible, to show what you will be bringing to the EMBA table. Tell the story straight, and end by detailing clearly the meaningful impact. By the way, “meaningful” indicates something beyond big numbers. It should involve some constructive change that has occurred (to an organization, to some people, to a community, etc.). So, if a big number is part of it, e.g. a record-breaking transaction completed by your team, discuss also the positive effect on the team and/or team members, what it means for your department or organization, etc.
Darden EMBA essay #3
Diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission and they work best when they are an integral and celebrated part of our community. (Diversity stands with ethics, integrity, and academic excellence, as a cornerstone of University culture. The University promotes an inclusive and welcoming environment that embraces the full spectrum of human attributes, perspectives, and disciplines. When people of different backgrounds come together, they exchange ideas, question assumptions including their own, and broaden the horizons for us all. A University of Virginia community rich in diversity affords every member equal respect and provides a forum for understanding our differences as well as our commonalities.) Share a time in which you engaged with a perspective, identity, community, or experience that was different from your own and how it impacted your worldview. (200 words)
Another story – and this one can be from any area of your life. The keys to making this essay shine are (a) selecting a situation that really affected you and how you see things, and (b) being frank about your growth and new insight – presumably, you had something to learn from the situation, something you didn’t already understand or perceive or know. Let your story show your curiosity and your openness to engage with people who are different from you. Do not just say this experience influenced your worldview; rather, show through example how it did so.
Darden EMBA essay #4
What is your short-term, post-MBA career goal and why? (150 words)
Give the facts: what position(s), company or types of company, industry, location, expected scope of accountability. As for why – this is your motivation. What draws you to this path? And what do you hope to achieve in terms of external impact, what do you hope your footprint will be?
If you would like professional guidance with your UVA Darden Executive MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Package, which includes advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Darden EMBA application.
UVA Darden Executive MBA 2019-20 remaining application deadlines
|Application deadline||Decisions released|
|January 10, 2020||January 31, 2020|
|February 10, 2020||February 28, 2020|
|March 10, 2020||March 27, 2020|
|April 10, 2020||April 30, 2020|
|May 10, 2020||May 29, 2020|
|June 10, 2020||June 23, 2020|
|June 25, 2020||July 8, 2020|
Note from the website: At UVA Darden, we offer monthly deadlines – from September through June. Each deadline functions as a discrete round – with a target interview period, decision release date and deposit deadline. All deadlines are focused on our class starting this August.
Which deadline is right for you? Our general advice is to apply as soon as you feel like you can put together a strong application. With each passing deadline, fewer seats in our class will be available, and we will have less scholarship money to award. Most applicants will apply between September and April. However, we have monthly deadlines to provide you maximum options.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***Want Cindy to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!