UVA Darden MBA Essay 2023 – Tips and Analysis

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The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia has always emphasized how strong its community is, how students work together to learn and grow both inside and outside of the classroom, and how important it is to bring people from different backgrounds and with different ways of thinking together. The school’s application essay prompts focus on all of these ideas.

There is a new application cycle, and the essays for Darden have been updated. Even though there are connections between last year’s essays and this year’s, this year’s essays are more focused and no longer give you choices within the prompts. 

UVA Darden MBA essay analysis and tips

Through its application essays, UVA Darden wants to know how you will work with others as a Purpose Driven Leader to make a difference. And what you’ve done in the past is the best way to tell if you’ll be able to make a difference in the future. 

Before you sit down to answer each of the school’s questions, take a step back and think about the most important strengths you want to show in your application as a whole. 

Then, think about what stories you can tell and how you can tell them to show off those strengths.

Pay attention to the stories that don’t already show up in other parts of your application when writing these essays.

UVA Darden MBA essay 2023 intake

These questions are a great opportunity for you to help the Darden Admissions Committee understand who you are and who you will be at Darden.

  1. 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 resumé? (200 words)
  2. Please describe a tangible example that illuminates your experience promoting an inclusive environment and what you would bring to creating an inclusive global community at Darden. (300 words)
  3. 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)

Essay 1

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 resumé? (200 words)

The first essay question for MBA applicants in 2022-2023 at UVA Darden has been revised to include a more expansive definition of community.

At Darden, the people you study with are a big part of your learning. You will be put together with a set of diverse classmates to talk about your case assignments before class. The goal of these talks is to make sure that everyone is ready to take part in the class discussion. Your classmates should be part of a group that helps each other out.

This essay is your chance to tell everyone at Darden about yourself. What do your classmates need to know about you? What different point of view will you bring to the classroom? Maybe you’ve done things in your job that no one else has done before.

An understanding of the Darden community, as well as facts you want to share with your students, is required for this essay prompt

The less you know about the Darden community, the more difficult it will be to compose an essay that shows how well you will fit there. So before everything else, do your homework. What makes the Darden community special, and what are some of the resources available to you while on campus?

After completing your research, we advise you to begin crafting your profile by selecting a few distinguishing characteristics. According to the essay guidelines on the school’s website, any form of example may be used for such a question. In their words: “This is your opportunity to shine as your authentic self. Hobbies, passions, interests, and ideals are all fair game here.”

So, maybe you’re a great debater who can see and explain different points of view. Or maybe you’re good at calming down tense situations with humor and can keep a group of tired, stressed-out students with strong but different opinions in a good mood so they can work together in a civil way. 

Or, if you have an interesting and/or unique hobby, interest, or background outside of school, you could start or join a club to share it with other students. 

As long as it makes sense, the skill or trait you choose to highlight here doesn’t matter as much as showing that it would make you a good addition to the MBA experience at Darden.

Do you want to impress the Darden Adcom?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
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Essay 2

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

This is a new essay that sort of replaces the leadership and diversity essays from last year. In a case-based learning environment like the one at Darden, it’s important to both share your opinion and actively listen to and learn from others. This way, you can help come up with new and creative solutions. Also, remember that Darden’s goal was to find and train leaders who cared about making a difference.

The first part of the essay prompt asks you to think about a time when you worked to make a culture that was open to everyone. Think of a specific example that shows how you support inclusion, and use the SCAR (situation, challenge, action, result) method for the first 150 words.

In the second part of the essay, you should try to use the remaining 150 words to show how you will enthusiastically welcome and embrace different points of view at Darden, creating an environment where everyone feels welcome. Build on the experience you talked about in the first part of the essay and show how you’ll use what you’ve learned at Darden. Think about what you can do and where you can do it (class, clubs, career management, etc.) to help make everyone feel welcome. Think about what you want to do at Darden and how you can help make those places more welcoming. Be real, and if you can, show through your experience or plans to make a difference that you will play an active role in making sure that your Learning Team and class as a whole will have a culture that welcomes everyone.

Essay 3

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)

Note that the admissions committee specifically asks about your short-term goal, which is often more practical than applicants’ long-term goals, which are usually more idealistic. 

So, first, check to see if the path you’ve chosen makes sense for you. Ask yourself, “Will getting an MBA from Darden help me get where I want to be?” 

For example, if you are a marine biologist who wants to work in Private Equity after you graduate, the admissions committee probably won’t be too interested in your plan, since Private Equity is usually run by people with years of experience in finance. 

The school wants to know that you will be able to reach your goals after you finish their program, so you shouldn’t set goals that seem impossible. 

As a marine biologist, you would need to find a much more realistic, but still true to yourself, path. 

Being ambitious is great, but the goal you set needs to make sense in the real world. To show that it does, you’ll need to explain why your goal is a good one for you. 

Establishing briefly that you have the skills and knowledge to get into your desired field will help your admissions reader make the logical connection and feel confident that you will be a happy and productive graduate.

Do you want to impress the Darden Adcom?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Optional Essay

If there is further information you think would be helpful to the Admissions Committee, please provide it:

If you think your application gives a full, accurate picture of who you are and why you should be accepted to Darden, it’s probably best not to add anything else here. 

Adding to the admissions committee’s work by asking them to read another essay that doesn’t add much to your profile isn’t worth it. 

But if you have something truly unique to say that you think will make you stand out, or if you have a problem with your application that needs more explanation (like a gap in work experience or education, a low GPA or score, or a problem with discipline), this is the place to talk about it and explain it.

Let us help you get into UVA Darden

We will help you write essays that portray your unique strengths and experiences in the most favorable light so that your application shines above the rest. We have helped hundreds of students get into top US business schools. Let us help you too.

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