Darden is on the upswing! Lots of new energy there and plenty of opportunities available from a school that is actively reinventing and reinvigorating itself. Good luck to everyone trying in Round 2!
How do you write an essay about getting your perspective changed?!?? Well, we’ve got some ideas!!
2017 Darden MBA Essay Question – Class of 2020
A new one! And thankfully they’ve given you a full 500 words for it (unlikely some stingier schools!):
“When preparing for class at Darden, students formulate an opinion on each case before meeting with their learning teams and class sections. When encountering different views and perspectives from their own, opinions frequently shift. Tell us about a time when your opinion evolved through discussions with others.”
This is a VERY challenging question that Darden is asking! This is somewhat similar to what some other schools are asking about how your perspective has changed based on differences with others. This question is ideal for a discussion of any cross-cultural experiences you have had — or, what about politics? They’re clearly inviting you to talk about how you have been open-minded and flexible and receptive to others’ ideas (or even better, a time when you were not! and you had to change!).
The most important advice we can offer is don’t just make this a conceptual or intellectual discussion. Instead, the best way to present your story of how your opinion evolved is to show what you did differently as a result. We will go into a full layout of ideas, pitfalls and opportunities for this question in the Darden MBA essay guide (which we will be updating soon!).
See discussion of past season Darden application questions below if you want to understand what they’ve asked before – that can often give you insight into what a school cares about, and may even trigger some ideas for how to handle this year’s essay. Darden also appears to have overhauled its website (at least, it’s way better than we recall from the last time we saw it). There is a lot of info and it’s clearly laid out in easy to follow sections. Be sure to study the information they’re offering to you there.
Darden also typically has some important questions within the application itself. We discuss what those have been in past years in the Darden application guide (which has not yet been updated for 2017, but it will be!).
The Darden GMAT score for the Class of 2018 is 712. All-time high, and they did it with a larger class size than ever before.
UVA Darden 2017 MBA Deadlines
Darden MBA Class of 2020 Application Deadlines
- Round 1: – this is around the same time as schools like Columbia.
Rd 1 interview invites will start to come out at the tail end of November and they can come all the way through the decision day in mid-December. They usually issue invitations to U.S. residents first; if you’re living here, you’re expected to travel to Charlottesville for your interview. The second wave is invites to international applicants, and those interviews are either with an alum local to you or via Skype with someone on campus.
- Round 2: – yay Darden for maintaining their applicant-friendly slightly-later Round 2 date! That’s awesome, says EssaySnark (and future BSers). For Round 2, don’t expect interview invitations to start coming till well into February.
UVa Darden MBA RecommendationsDarden had (pretty close to) standardized recommender questions in 2016; we need to see what they do for 2017.
Darden made our list of 5 favorite business schools in Fall 2014!
University of Virginia Darden MBA General Info
Our 2017 Darden guide has been rewritten from the ground up to help you with this year’s unique essay question about changing perspective!
from the EssaySnark blahg:
Also useful: A local’s guide to the best 29 restaurants in Charlottesville! 2016 edition
For Reference: Darden’s Past-Season Questions
Included in case anyone wants to see what UVA asked before.Click to view 2016 questions
Here’s what we said when last year’s questions came out… remember this analysis is from *last year*.
Same question as last year!
Describe the most important professional feedback you have received and how you responded to this feedback. (500 words maximum)
Darden’s essay question was clearly inspired by the standard questions that some schools are asking of recommenders.
When Sara Neher introduced this question last year, here’s what she offered as advice:
Warning: If your essay topic even remotely resembles the example she gave…. that’s not gonna be so great for you.
See discussion of past season Darden application questions below if you want to understand what they’ve asked before – that can often give you insight into what a school cares about, and may even trigger some ideas for how to handle this year’s essay.
Here’s the blog post from Darden Admissions where they announced the question this year .
Darden also typically has some important questions within the application itself. We discuss what those have been in past years in the Darden application guide, which is a great opportunity for you to prepare some meaningful answers both for the application dataset and also potentially for your interview experience.
You probably want to go for our 2016 Darden MBA essay guide which includes a complete discussion of best practices (and some gotchas to avoid!).
[end discussion of last year’s questions]
Click to view 2015 questions
This is the 2015 info
Describe the most important professional feedback you have received and how you responded to it. (500 words maximum)
Now here’s a question that allows you to show your maturity! It’s also a really hard question to answer (at least, to answer well!).
And here’s Darden’s Admissions Director giving you great advice and an example from her own life:
Warning: If your essay topic even remotely resembles the example she gave…. that’s not gonna be so great for you.
Here’s the blog post from Darden Admissions where they announced the question in 2015 .
You should be aware that this one essay isn’t the extent of the writing you’ll do for Darden. They also typically have some questions within the application itself, though that hasn’t been released yet so we’re not sure what those will be this year.Darden has (pretty close to) standardized recommender questions in 2015.
You just need to warn your recommenders about an error in the Darden process, though!
So EssaySnark is on bschool QA duty today? Heads up @DardenMBA: The email your app sends to recommenders has LAST YEAR'S DEADLINES in it.
— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) August 28, 2015
We don’t know if it’s been fixed.
[end discussion of 2015 questions]
Click to view 2014 questions
2014 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis
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 words maximum)
NOTE 6/25/14: The words in bold above were ADDED after the question was originally posted on the Darden website . PAY ATTENTION TO THOSE WORDS WHEN YOU’RE FIGURING OUT WHAT TO TALK ABOUT IN YOUR ESSAY!
This question is a great change 2014 and it’s also a very refreshing alternative to the trend that’s been happening with other schools that have few essays all focused on goals and the school. This question actually a) will make you do some thinking, to come up with a great story, and b) has the potential to let you share something interesting and useful for the Darden adcom.
Bravo to Sara Neher and her team for this.
More bravo to Sara for this: “How to Approach Darden’s 2014-15 Essay Question”
Man, we almost don’t need to update the essay guide, when we get great stuff like this from the adcoms!
(But of course, we did!)
[end discussion of 2014 questions]
Click to view 2013 questions
2013 Essays – EssaySnark’s Analysis
Here’s what we said when the 2013 questions came out.
UVA has had just one essay in its MBA app for years. Here is this year’s version:
Share your thought process as you encountered a challenging work situation or complex problem. What did you learn about yourself? (500-word limit)
They also have some questions within the application itself. Note: They don’t want you to talk about why you want to go to Darden in these answers. Instead, for each one, be sure to ANSWER THE QUESTION exactly as asked.
[End 2013 question section]
Click to view 2012 questions
2012 question – this is VERY OLD
Here’s what they asked before:
- Share your thought process as you encountered a challenging work situation or complex problem. How did this experience change your perspective?
[End 2012 question section]
[Index of essay questions by business school]
While answering only one essay question for your Darden MBA application essay may seem simple, it requires discipline to highlight all of the important parts of your profile for the admissions committee in one short essay. Writing a successful essay with such limited space requires you to focus only on your most compelling attributes.
Think about the other areas of your application and what they cover. Your academic potential should be highlighted through GMAT or GRE scores and your academic transcripts, leadership and professional accomplishments should come through clearly from your recommendations, and finally your essay is a chance to outline your personal qualities.
When considering which personal qualities to highlight in this essay, consider that leadership is crucial to future Darden MBAs. Your ability to work well within a team of peers is also important to Darden, a school with a small, tight-knit community.
Darden, similar to HBS, is devoted to the case method of teaching business subjects. Learn more about the school by visiting the Darden website, attending events and speaking with current students and alumni.
MBA Application Essay Question:
Describe the most important professional feedback you have received and how you responded to this feedback. (500 words)
In this question Darden is seeking to understand how you take feedback and how you process and learn from feedback. Feedback is often the first stage to grow and develop as a professional and as a leader. Learning to take all feedback – both positive and critical – and examining and incorporating the lessons from that feedback into your development is a sign of maturity.
As you describe the professional feedback you will want to set the stage for the feedback by describing your relationship with the person who gave you the feedback and any background facts. Take the time to describe how you felt while receiving the feedback, and don’t be afraid to talk about having uncomfortable feelings about it.
It’s a normal reaction to feel threatened by criticism, which is often what professional feedback is perceived as. If the feedback was positive make sure you can use the story to demonstrate development and growth.
If you can’t think of the most important moment of feedback you have received, think about working backwards from a professional accomplishment you are proud of. As you think about the areas where you have excelled you may find that the trigger was a piece of important advice or feedback from a manager, peer or customer.
Make sure your feedback story enhances the overall package of your application. This essay is one of your few opportunities to show how you think, what your leadership approach is, and how you improve as a result of input from other people. Think about the situations that showcased your best performance at work, or that taught you something about your interests or future career goals.
Because you have only one essay question to present yourself, make sure you have a trusted reader to tell you if you are effectively communicating why you are going to be a strong leader who deserves a spot in the UVA Darden MBA class.
Looking for perspective in your approach to your Darden MBA application? Contact us to discuss how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.
This entry was posted in Application Tips, Dartmouth Tuck Advice and tagged advice, application advice, application tips, Darden School of Business, Essay Questions, Essay Tips, Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips, MBA application, MBA Essays, MBA program.
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