UVA (Darden) Application Essays for 2008-2009

UVA’s Darden School of Business has released its application essays for the 2008-2009 admissions season. Here they are, with our comments in italics:

UVA (Darden) Application Essays

  1. What pivotal choice(s) have you made in your life that have influenced your decision to pursue an MBA? (500 words)

    (This question is new this year, and that emphasis on the word “you” is Darden’s. Last year’s first Darden essay was very similar to Stanford’s “what matters most to you, and why?” question, which probably was leading applicants to talk about everything BUT themselves. Now the admissions committee is explicitly putting the emphasis on YOU with this question. Of course, you should always keep the discussion in your essays and your admissions interviews focused on you — what you accomplished, what you were feeling when you made a decision, etc. — as much as possible. But this question goes directly after that, so make sure to answer the question.)

  2. From the following categories, describe the one that has taught you the most: a creative challenge, an ethical dilemma or an experience of failure. Why? (250 words)

    (This question is also new this year. This is a very short essay, so you’ll obviously need to keep it focused. At least the school gives you a menu from which you can choose a topic. You may be tempted to recycle essays from another application, but the fact that this is so short will make that very difficult.)

  3. Describe how you are a fit with the case study method. (250 words)

    (We think this is a great question. Darden takes the case study method as seriously as HBS does, and anyone who applies to Darden must be able to explain why that learning style is a good fit for them. Having trouble answering this? Then think long and hard about why you’re applying to Darden.)

For more advice on applying to Darden, visit the Veritas Prep UVA (Darden) information page, and let us help you develope your own MBA Game Plan for Darden.