Personal MBA Coach: University of Virginia Darden of 2022 – Essay Questions & Analysis – Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

Darden has joined the growing list of MBA programs that has released its 2019-2020 MBA application questions and deadlines. Find out what changed this year and get tips from Personal MBA Coach on how to approach the Darden application!

This year’s deadlines are as follows:

Darden has retained its short answer questions this year, swapping out one of the five questions while adding a bit of detail to two other questions:

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For the 2019-20 application cycle, Darden will again offer multiple short answer questions. We want to get to know all of the various facets of your background and personality.

Essay 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. (200 words)

Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts: While Darden asked this question last year, the statement about responsible leadership is a new addition and should help candidates to focus their answers. One should naturally choose a situation where she made a considerable and hopefully lasting impact. It is important that the selected story also paints a solid picture of your leadership style. Responsible and Purpose are crucial words to consider and extracurricular and volunteer work would fit nicely here. That said, do not force this question. There are many examples of informal leadership that could work well if you do not have a strong extracurricular story. As candidates brainstorm topics for this essay, they should consider both personal and professional examples. Make sure to consider the impact that you have made. What was the result of following this purpose?

Essay 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 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. (200 words)

Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts: This question is new for Darden, though it covers a topic that is becoming increasingly important to many leading MBA programs. Once again, a personal or professional example would work here. 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 here, think about the qualities Darden is looking for from applicants and make sure the story selected clearly SHOWS how you demonstrated them.

Essay 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? (50 words)

Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts: Once again, Darden has altered the introduction to last year’s question. The “why” is more important than the “what” here. When selecting a country (and considering what you hope to learn from this experience), assess your overall story, goals and passions. Naturally, it may be good to have a tie. Further, the learnings or experience should prepare you to achieve long-term success. Feel free to also use this to tell a different side of you that is not reflected elsewhere. That said, as much as you might love to sit on the beach in Fiji, this would not be a great choice for most candidates.

Essay 4: Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personally, professionally, or both? (100 words)

Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts: When determining the balance between personal or professional for this essay, consider your entire application and ensure your responses provide insight into both aspects of your candidacy. If you chose professional examples for the earlier questions, go with personal details here and vice versa. Instead of a laundry list, focus on one or two things. These examples should enhance (not repeat or conflict with) your “Personal Story” and allow admissions committee members to learn more about you. Remember, you want to show how you are someone others would want to live, work and socialize with. This is not the time to list off impressive accomplishments. Instead, help the reader to understand who you are and what makes you unique.

Essay 5: What is your short-term, post-MBA goal and why? (150 words)

Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts: This final question is again a repeat from last year and is a straightforward career goals questions. (Need help articulating your goals?) 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.

PMC specializes in providing its candidates with tailored advice, helping them to articulate their unique stories.

If you need personal support navigating your MBA application, reaching out to Wharton and MIT graduate, Personal MBA Coach may be worthwhile. PMC’s comprehensive support includes mock interviews with a team of former M7 interviewers and customized GMAT/GRE tutoring with tutors who scored in the 99th percentile.

This article has been re-published from Personal MBA Coach’s blog.

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