Scott Edinburgh
May 26, 2022

University of Virginia Darden MBA Application Essay Analysis 2022-2023

The UVA Darden MBA application is open! Do you want to attend an MBA program that puts collaboration and teamwork at the forefront of your experience? If so, UVA Darden School of Business may be a great choice for you.

UVA Darden is known for its case-based and customized learning experience. As first years, students are assigned to learning teams that enable them to delve deep into case discussions, strengthen their communication skills, and form strong relationships with their classmates.

Second-year students at UVA Darden use these tools learned in their first year to personalize their academic experiences, targeting specific career goals and skill sets.

If you’re looking to apply to UVA Darden’s MBA program during the 2022-2023 application cycle, the school offers a standardized test waiver. These requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and the admissions committee takes several factors into account when reviewing waivers.

The upcoming UVA Darden MBA deadlines are:

Early Action: September 8, 2022

Round 1: October 5, 2022

Round 2: January 5, 2023

Round 3: April 5, 2023

The 2022-2023 Darden MBA application essays are below:

Community of Belonging: Student clubs and organizations at Darden enhance and integrate with the academic experience through social, cultural and community events.

Given that you will be forming lifelong connections with your classmates that extend beyond the classroom, what is important for your classmates to know about you that is not on your résumé? (200 words)

UVA Darden has updated this first essay question for 2022-2023 MBA applicants, instructing applicants to consider the role of community more broadly.

Personal MBA Coach advises most applicants to use this essay to share a personal aspect of their candidacy as opposed to talking about their professional leadership or track record. Topics discussed here should enhance (not repeat or conflict with) your “Personal Story” and should allow admissions committee members to learn more about you.

This is not the time to present a laundry list of hobbies, passions or accomplishments. Instead, focus on what makes you unique. Think about how you might add to the diversity (think literal diversity and/or diversity of perspective) on your learning team.

Be specific and keep in mind that actions are the best predictors of future behavior and provide examples wherever possible. Go beyond just sharing details about you and include the “so what?”

For example, if you were raised in a unique environment, explain this to the reader but then push further. Consider how this shaped who you are today, what makes you unique and what you will bring to the table for your learning team.

Regardless of the topic selected, show the reader that you are someone your peers will be excited to learn with!

Inclusive Leadership: The University of Virginia promotes an inclusive and welcoming environment that embraces the full spectrum of human attributes, perspectives, and disciplines. Diversity stands with ethics, integrity, and academic excellence as a cornerstone of University culture. Review the University of Virginia’s Commitment to Diversity.

Consistent with this ethos, the Darden School of Business seeks to improve the world by developing and inspiring responsible global leaders. We are committed to developing the School’s ability to leverage our global diversity — the multitude of different experiences and backgrounds among our stakeholders from around the world — to achieve excellence in business education in today’s complex marketplace. We do so in the service of our mission, adhering to an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe all key stakeholders — students, faculty, staff, alumni — play a critical role in cultivating an inclusive environment, and every action — whether big or small — in service of this goal is important.

Please describe a tangible example that illuminates your experience promoting an inclusive environment and what you would bring to creating a welcoming, global community at Darden. (300 words)

This question covers a topic that continues to be important to leading MBA programs: inclusion. Earlier this month Personal MBA Coach attended the annual AIGAC conference with leading admissions directions, and Diversity & Inclusion were top of mind for all schools! Therefore, Personal MBA Coach is not surprised to see Darden’s leadership essay focused on D&I.

A personal or professional example would work here. However, Personal MBA Coach encourages candidates to look at their applications holistically when selecting a story to discuss. You want to ensure this story fits with who you are and that your Darden application includes a nice balance of personal and professional stories.

Remember that inclusion is a broad term here. Do not limit yourself to current event topics unless they are relevant to your story!

Ensure that you limit the amount of time spent on set-up and instead focus on your thoughts and actions. While remaining authentic is important, think about the qualities Darden is looking for in applicants and make sure the story selected clearly SHOWS how you demonstrated them.

While the bulk of this essay should be focused on the story itself, be sure to leave time to discuss the implications of this experience and how this experience changed your leadership style and has positioned you to contribute on campus.

Careers With Purpose: Darden’s Career Center delivers personalized career searches, support, and resources to empower students in their goals to create value as purpose-driven leaders. The team of dedicated, expert career coaches spans every major industry, function and geography and collectively represents over one hundred years of coaching experience. Coaches are prepared to support students wherever they are in their search, as career goals shift and evolve while pursuing an MBA. Through a wide variety of career-related programming, students gain lifelong skills they will continue to leverage throughout their careers. This support continues after graduation with access to complimentary career support for life through Darden’s Alumni Career Services.

At this time how would you describe your short-term, post-MBA goal in terms of industry, function, geography, company size and/or mission and how does it align with the long-term vision you have for your career? (200 words) 

This question is a straightforward career goals question. If you need help articulating your goals, check out this blog! With this short essay, be specific and include both your ideal position and organization type. Articulate what you hope to accomplish in this desired role and why this objective is interesting and important to you.

Darden once again specifically asks candidates about their long-term vision. Given this, be sure to discuss what you hope to learn in the short term and how this experience will prepare you to achieve your long-term goals.

Once again, this year’s Darden MBA application includes two other straightforward short-answer questions:

What are you excited to explore in Charlottesville? (25 words)

Darden has an incredible network of alumni and partners around the world, and, in a typical year, the School connects with over 80 countries. If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to travel? (5 words) And why? (50 words)

If you are looking for more Darden essay tips, feel free to contact us to learn more about how Personal MBA Coach’s services can help you get into your dream MBA program.

About Personal MBA Coach:

Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach has been guiding clients for 15 years and is consistently ranked #1 or #2 by leading sources. Personal MBA Coach is the #1 most favorably reviewed US Consultant of all time on Poets & Quants.

We help clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing, and mock interviews. Our team includes former M7 admissions directors and former M7 admissions interviewers.

Last cycle, our clients earned more than $6.5M in scholarships!

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