How to Write Great UVA Darden Essays

Darden has switched up the essay this year, moving from one long essay to several shorter ones. Below are some tips on how to approach each. Make sure that all the answers complement rather than repeat each other. You don’t have that many words – every one should be carefully chosen.

Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personal, professional or both.
(100 words)

You don’t have much space, but use these 100 words to bring in some of your personality that isn’t presented elsewhere in the application. Consider mentioning some things that matter to you or how you like to spend your time.

Each year, Darden connects with over 80 countries. If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to go with Darden? And why?
(50 words)

This answer should not come out of nowhere but rather connect to another element of your application. Maybe you’re interested in the technology sector and want to visit some companies in Israel. Just make sure that your goals include technology so everything is coherent and connected. Also be sure to familiarize yourself with the various global options at Darden, including worldwide courses, global consulting projects and exchange programs so when you pick a location it is a place that Darden students actually go.

Darden strives to identify and cultivate leaders who follow their purpose. At this stage, how would you describe your evolving leadership style and please provide an example.
(200 words)

This is a lot to answer in only 200 words. As you consider an example that illustrates how your leadership style has evolved over time, you should include how you have grown through this experience. What learning or takeaway from the experience has helped you improve as a leader? Could you have come to the table better prepared? Could you have listened better to others? What might you do differently next time? Think about how you have grown as a result of the experience and try to tie that to anticipated growth during your two years at Darden.

Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact.
(200 words)

This impact could be from a work experience or from an extracurricular experience. Perhaps you have made an impact on another person at work or outside of work through mentoring. Alternatively, you may have made a meaningful impact to your organization’s bottom line by improving sales by $X or customer retention by Y%. Some impacts can be illustrated with numbers and some cannot. If you choose a quantifiable impact that is exactly the same as a bullet point on your resume, you’re missing a chance to share another part of your experience.

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

Be very specific here, including the industry and function you would like to enter along with one or two organizations/company names. For the “why,” remember to tie it back to your other answers so it doesn’t come across as a random function/industry/company you picked just to answer the question. For example, if you want to be a brand manager at a global consumer products company, perhaps that marketing interest can appear in your worldwide course or global consulting project answer.

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