Posted on August 11, 2018

Darden MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines – 2018-19


Darden has an Early Action application round in addition to its three traditional rounds. This new round is designed for full-time MBA candidates who are sure that Darden is their first choice. Applications for Early Action are due Friday, September 7, 2018 and decisions will be released on Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

Application Deadlines:

Early Admission
Application Deadline: September 7, 2018
Interviews: Schedule your own
Decision Date: October 17, 2018
Round 1
Application Deadline: October 4, 2018
Interviews: By Invitation
Decision Date: December 12, 2018
Round 2
Application Deadline: January 10, 2019
Interviews: By Invitation
Decision Date: March 20, 2019
Round 3
Application Deadline: April 3, 2019
Interviews: By Invitation
Decision Date: May 8, 2019

For more information click here:

Darden has completely revamped its essay questions for the new application cycle. The single question that Darden has asked for the past few years has been replaced with five new prompts, that cover applicants’ personal, professional, and educational objectives. The applicants have a total of 750 words to present their candidacy to the admission committee.

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

Through this essay of only 100 words, you will introduce yourselves to your learning teams. At Darden, case study method is the core of study methods wherein you will be solving cases within your learning teams of 4 to 5 members. So in your first introduction, your learning team members should learn that you will be a great team player who will contribute significantly to the team. Tell your team members what team working skills and attributes you have and show them what you will bring to the table by sharing some stories/anecdotes that highlight those skills in a personal or professional context.

“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)

Darden expects its students to participate in at least one global opportunity during their two years of MBA. In 50 words, identify the name of the country that you would like to choose for your global assignment, explain reasons for your choice and how your choice will enhance your learning as well as learning of your peers. This super short question not only reveals your knowledge of Darden, but also speaks about your personality and interest.

“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)

To approach this question, you will share a leadership story. To describe your ‘evolving leadership style’, you will choose an experience that taught you something new and changed your perspective towards things. For organizing your ideas, follow the same 4-part structure we always recommended:

  1. Situation/Challenge
  2. Action
  3. Result/ Outcome
  4. Significance

Since you only have 200 words to share your story, you can allocate 125-150 words to describe the first 3 parts of the story and use the remaining 50 words to explain the significance of the experience in terms of the growth that occurred.

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

This is another leadership story that Darden wants you to share; however, the emphasis here is more on the impact you made on the organization. This means the ‘outcome part’ of your story is of utmost importance here. That is, you will elaborate that the decisions you made and the results you achieved benefitted your organization or your team member in a significant manner. The essay prompt doesn’t ask you to reflect on the significance of the experience, still I would encourage you to wrap up your story (if space permits) with a final comment about how this experience was meaningful to you.

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

This is a fairly straightforward goals essay question. Note that the question asks you only about your short-term goal, and not your long-term vision. So, you need to elaborate your post MBA objectives. Please identify the position that you hope to hold immediately after MBA program, specifying a job title/role, industry and 1-2 organizations/companies that interest you. Please make sure that your goals are ambitious as well as realistic. The schools want to know that the path you have chosen is attainable and the program has resources to aid you to reach that goal. To provide a convincing response, you can explain what skills and knowledge you possess that will help you accomplish your goal in your chosen field.

To further help you in developing your application essays, you may review the general Essay Tips.

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

Do you have questions about your application? E-mail Poonam at or sign up here for a free consultation.

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