Darden School Essay Analysis

University of Virginia Darden School of Business Essay Analysis 2020 – 2021

Last updated on September 17th, 2020

Reading Time: 11 minutes

If you had in mind that the business schools in the United States of America started with Harvard and ended with Columbia, you are wrong. There are many more institutions in the country that offer quality education to their MBA candidates there. Darden School of Business is one such institution. You have come to the right place if you want to know more about the B-school and the essay questions you need to answer to complete your 2020-2021 application.

Here’s something very unique about Darden. At Darden they have a ritual: the first coffee. After the first class, the entire Darden community comes together, and for half an hour to forty minutes, they have coffee and interact. This gives the sense of the culture they have at the B-school. They have a small community, with respect to other B-schools, where the students bond with each other. This translates into a stronger and deeper network, even if the network is small.

Before we get into the Darden MBA essay analysis for 2020-2021, let us know a bit more about the B-school.

Getting things straight

Darden School of Business gives a lot of importance to diversity and the learning experience it can bring. This is evident even in their MBA application essay questions which we will get to soon.

Imparting knowledge the right way

At Darden School of Business, they follow the case study methodology in their MBA classes. This is similar to the methodology followed at Harvard Business School.

They believe that their MBA candidates should be able to learn beyond their textbooks. They want their students to understand how their learnings can be applied in the real world. So,the students are expected to read up on the case study a day before and then come to class and participate in discussions and debates.

What Darden School of Business is looking for

If you are looking to apply to Darden, you need to know this: Darden looks for a wide variety of abilities in terms of work experience and academic background among its MBA candidates.

You should be able to showcase your skills and growth potential to them in ways other than academics. It could be how you progressed in your job or how you went about doing the one thing that you like.

Darden receives thousands of applications every year and accepts approximately 340 students. So, you need to make your mark to be at Darden.

What’s in it for you

The business school is not in the city. But this helps them maintain their community and culture. Though unlike other B-schools, the surrounding area will be quiet and not really buzzing, this is a perfect place to go if you want to be in a space in which you can grow as a person and in a community.

And Darden has a very small and close-knit community. As mentioned in the beginning, they all have their coffee together after their first class and then proceed with the day. With this, you will be able to build a small but strong network.

Darden School of Business Essay Analysis 2020-21 

You need to answer five essay questions if you need to complete your MBA application to Darden this year. In this, two are slightly long essays and the other three are short essays. We will now look at the questions, how to go about answering the questions, and also the word limits that you need to keep in mind.

Darden School of Business Essay Question 1

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. 

Word limit: 200 words

Let us make the question simpler for you. What is it that you have done by which you were able to create an impact? What is your purpose? With this question, they are trying to understand the leader in you.

When you are answering this question, you can either tell them a story in which you made an impact professionally or it could be something personal as well. When it comes to a personal story, it could be about how you voluntarily did something and created an impact.

But before you start with the story, you have to identify your purpose. Let us say that your purpose is to share your knowledge with others. In your essay, you need to tell them how you created an impact by doing it.

If you are sharing a professional example, it could be something like this. Let us say that you organized a knowledge-sharing session in your office. It could have been during lunch hour or after office hours. Or if there is a new product that your company is coming up with and your co-workers are not very familiar with the technology used. You could have had a session in which you shared what you knew about the technology with them and had a discussion about it. In the essay, you should also mention the impact it created.

If you are looking at sharing an example from your personal life, it could be about how you voluntarily associated with an NGO and helped children improve their lives. It could have been by teaching them. As long as your involvement is clear and your impact is on spot, the essay is good to go.

Here’s how you can utilize the 200 words to structure your essay. Use 50 to 60 words to tell them about your purpose. It is not a lot but you will be able to do it if you choose your words carefully. You can make use of 100 words to tell them the impact you created. This will be slightly longer because you need to explain well. And you can end the essay by tying the impact to the purpose. You can use 40 to 60 words to do it.

Darden School of Business Essay Question 2

Diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission, and they work best when they are an integral and celebrated part of our community. Read the University of Virginia’s Diversity & Inclusion Vision Statement. 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.

Word limit: 200 words

Before you answer this essay, you need to understand what diversity is. Diversity is not just about meeting people from different cultures. It is also about knowing people who are from different socio-economic backgrounds, knowing people who have different cultural values, and understanding them. 

Through this essay, they are trying to understand whether you have the self-awareness to acknowledge this. While you need not agree, you should agree to disagree. 

You need to tell them how such understanding and interaction has changed you as a person. Have these interactions had any impact on you or your thought process?

You need to identify the point of diversity you want to focus on first. It could have been from when you traveled abroad or any kind of international experience that you have had. For instance, if you have been abroad and have interacted with people there, you might have realized that the way they spend their money is different from how we spend money in India. What is it that you learned from this experience and how did this impact your world view. That is what you need to tell them.

You can either mention in your essay about how you incorporated the learnings from your experience in your life or you can say how it changed your view of the world. You need not have agreed with it or incorporated it into your life. 

So, start your essay with what it is that you want to change, then move and speak about the incident that ties it to the diversity quotient and close it with a strong ending. You can use around 50 to 60 words to speak about the diversity aspect. Then you speak about the incident in about 100 words and add a conclusion with 20 to 30 words.

Darden School of Business Essay Question 3

The Batten Foundation Worldwide Scholarship provides all Darden students in our full-time MBA program with an opportunity to participate in a Darden Worldwide Course. If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to travel, and why?

Word limit: 50 words

The best way to approach this essay is by first understanding your post-MBA goal. You can then look at locations that will help you achieve your post-MBA goals. It could even be locations that will give you a global perspective.

So, you can use approximately three sentences to write this essay. In the first sentence, you can tell them where you want to go. And then, you can use the second and third sentences to tell them why you want to go to that location. How will the location help you?

Darden School of Business Essay Question 4

Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personally, professionally, or both?

Word limit: 100 words

Given that you can use only 100 words to write about yourself, we understand that it might seem a little too restrictive. But you can definitely do it as long as you have the points clear.

We would suggest that you tell them about you, both personally and professionally. Use 50 words to explain both.

Consider this essay as an elevator pitch and tell them something about yourself that will impress them. For instance, looking at the professional aspect, it could be that you are the person that gets things done. You could be the go-to person for your colleagues. At the same time, you might be into music and maybe you even play a musical instrument. This could be your personal bit. Remember, you can even combine both personal and professional personality traits. 

More than anything, remember that these are points that you want your learning team to know. They are your peers. So, keep it simple and also ensure that through these points, you tell them what your contributions will be to the team.

Darden School of Business Essay Question 5

What is your short-term, post-MBA goal and why?

Word limit: 150 words

This is usually the most difficult essay of all. And with 150 words, you might find it too restrictive.

They are not asking you to tell them about your MBA at Darden or the B-school itself. They are looking to see whether you have clarity on your goals. And they also want to know what in your background equips you to achieve that goal. You can probably have one sentence that tells them how Darden MBA might help you achieve the goal.

You need to be very specific when it comes to your post-MBA goal. You should know the industry that you want to enter and maybe even leverage LinkedIn by looking at potential employers in the space.

You can use 50 to 60 words to speak about your post-MBA goal. Be very specific and clear. Then you give them a clear understanding of why this is your goal. How you are perfect for the role that you are aspiring to fit into. Then utilize about 10 to 15 words to give a good conclusion to the essay.

Darden School of Business MBA Application Deadlines

If you really want to get into Darden School of Business, you might want to keep these deadlines in mind. Moreover, with these deadlines, you can now plan your MBA application process better.

Darden School of Business MBA Application Deadlines

Round 1: October 5, 2020

Round 2: January 4, 2021

Round 3: April 7, 2021

So, here we leave you with the most important points and dates that will help you get into the Darden School of Business. This is one of the schools that require you to answer many essays. Make sure you get your application form done as soon as possible. Don’t prolong it, the essays can take a long time to write. 

And, if you feel that you need more help in drafting your essays or reviewing your application or let’s say, even brainstorming your ideas, you can always reach out to us.

You can click on the image below and get in touch with our expert.