ABOUT THE DARDEN MBA

The Darden MBA Program is a highly competitive program. The opportunities that Darden offers in terms of facilities, alumni network, and placements are several. Darden attracts a lot of the world’s best talent and so the campus provides students with a unique setup of diversity and learning. Among its other academic offerings, a hallmark of the Darden MBA experience is the instructors’ use of the case method in the classroom, a technique that fosters discussion among stu­dents about real-world business problems. The school estimates that each student will examine more than 500 business cases over the course of the two-year MBA program.

THE 2 YEAR MBA PROGRAM 

The Darden MBA is a 2 year MBA program based in Charlottesville, Virginia. It ranks 20th globally in the Financial Times Global business school rankings. It comes with an admission rate of ~26%.

Harvard Business School faculty members are world-renowned not only for generating new thinking in their fields but also for having a genuine impact on current business practices. 

The tuition fee for one year is $72,200. The total first-year budget is $101,036 including boarding expenses etc. 

Generous scholarships are offered to outstanding international candidates on a merit basis. Here are a few types of fellowships and scholarships available.

  • The Darden Distinguished Scholars Program
  • Competitive scholarships
  • Merit scholarships

CLASS PROFILE

The MBA cohort typically represents a wide array of industries and professional backgrounds, providing a truly global learning experience.

The industry experience of students, prior to joining is also diverse, ranging from consulting, banking, and financial services to fashion and performing arts. About 40% are international or non-US students.

The average work experience for the full-time MBA is 5 years which ensures that students contribute richly to classroom learning by bringing forward their varied industry experience Peer-peer learning beyond the classroom is also facilitated through this.

At 40%, Darden has the best gender diversity ratios at B-schools throughout the world which is commendable.

The average GMAT score for the incoming class is 715. The infographic below depicts the Darden MBA class profile with statistics about the gender distribution, age, work experience, and geographical background of the students.

The average GRE is 321.

Source: The official school website 

COURSE CURRICULUM SUMMARY

The core curriculum immerses students in a rigorous, case-based learning experience that steadies students in the face of imperfect information. The focus of the First Year is to offer students breadth — breadth in academic preparation, breadth in global understanding, and breadth in the diversity of thought. Through the core curriculum, students gain an integrated perspective on the fundamentals of business through rich case discussions expertly facilitated by Darden’s faculty.

After the core, students take electives in the spring that will help prepare them for their internship. Most students cap off the year with a global experience through a Darden Worldwide Course. Collectively this First Year experience lays a strong foundation in business while developing students’ global mindset, leadership skills, and confidence to take on complex organizational challenges.

Darden has long been recognized as a leading MBA program in general management (ranked No. 1 by Financial Times). The case study method and integrated core curriculum provide a thorough understanding of how all areas of a business impact one another.

Here are the concentration Darden offers-

Source: The official school website

At Darden, you can explore a wide array of real-world, experiential learning opportunities to gain invaluable insights, knowledge, and connections. They offer courses in the United States and around the world, and thanks to the new Batten Worldwide Scholarship, the global courses have never been more affordable. This scholarship covers the course fee for one Darden Worldwide Course for all full-time MBA students.

PLACEMENT STATISTICS

Each year, Darden achieves high employment rates in excess of 97% of each MBA class. 

The return on investment is huge given an average alumni salary after graduation of $144,933 with a sizable variable compensation of ~$35,488.

93% of international students were placed after 3 months of graduation.

Many students started their own companies this year, while many students joined startups and new ventures.

These are the key placement statistics.

Source: The official career report 2021

Management Consulting, and Technology emerged as the 2 industries in which the majority of the class was placed. 

Top employers included Mckinsey & Co., Bain & Co., BCG, Amazon, and Accenture.

NOTABLE ALUMNI

Mark Sanford , an American politician

Steven S. Reinemund, Former CEO Pepsico

John R. Strangfeld, Former chairman, CEO, and president of Prudential Financial

APPLICATION DETAILS

Admission Requirements

• Bachelor’s degree

GMATExecutive Assessment, or GRE score

You qualify for a waiver if you have recently lived for at least three years in an English-speaking country or if you received an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution where instruction is in English. You do not need to seek our approval or submit documentation to prove your eligibility for this waiver.

Letters of Recommendation

2 letters of recommendation to be submitted before the application deadlines. 

Application Fee: $250 

Application Deadlines

Source: The official school website

Essay questions

Learning Teams are an invaluable peer resource for Darden students as they navigate the core curriculum. Every student is assigned to a Learning Team consisting of 5-6 students from an array of backgrounds and perspectives, and this built-in support system serves as an important connection to the broader Darden community. 

Essay #1: Tell us what you would want your Learning Team to know about you that is not on your resume. (150 words) 

Leadership and Impact

Essay #2: Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose. Please respond to one of the following prompts (200 words) 

Select the prompt to which you will respond.

Q #1: Tell us about a time when you acted with a team to solve a problem or seize an opportunity. What role did you play? What did you learn from this experience?

Q #2: Tell us about a time you acted to solve a problem for the greater good. What drew you to this issue? What did you learn from this experience?

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission, and they work best when they are an integral and celebrated part of our community. 

Diversity stands with ethics, integrity, and academic excellence, as a cornerstone of university culture. The University promotes an inclusive and welcoming environment that embraces the full spectrum of human attributes, perspectives, and disciplines. When people of different backgrounds come together, they exchange ideas, question assumptions (including their own), and broaden the horizons for us all. A University of Virginia community rich in diversity affords every member equal respect and provides a forum for understanding our differences as well as our commonalities.

The Darden School develops practices and cultivates a culture that reflects and incorporates the worldviews of its many community members. In this inclusive culture, the community learns important — and sometimes uncomfortable — lessons from one another, resulting in more conscientious global leaders and citizens.

Essay #3: Select the prompt to which you will respond. (200 words)

Q #1: Share a time when you learned something related to diversity, equity or inclusion that was previously unknown to you? How did this experience impact your perspective?

Q #2: Share a time when you advocated for a perspective, identity, or community different from your own. How did this experience impact your worldview?

Career Goal

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 represent 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. And this support continues after graduation – All Darden graduates have access to complimentary career support for life through Darden’s Alumni Career Services.

Essay #4: What is your short-term, post-MBA goal and how does it align with the long-term vision you have for your career? (150 words)

Darden Worldwide

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.

Short Answer Question # 5: 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)

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