Posted on June 14, 2022

Darden MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines: 2022-23


Located in the beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia, the UVA Darden School of Business aims to "improve the world by inspiring responsible leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. The program is known for its case-based learning method and keeps collaboration and teamwork at center stage. Darden continues to invite candidates to submit a test waiver request or submit a range of tests, including MCAT, LSAT, GRE, and GMAT.

The application for Darden's full-time MBA Class of 2024 is now live!

 Application Deadlines

Round Application Deadline Interviews Decision Release
Early Action September 8, 2022 Limited Open Interviews October 19, 2022
Round 1 October 5, 2022 By Invitation December 7, 2022
Round 2 January 5, 2023 By Invitation March 15, 2023
Round 3 April 5, 2023 By Invitation May 3, 2023


Darden has dropped question # 2 and asks applicants to write three short essays covering a wide range of topics- teamwork, diversity and inclusion, and career goals. The three questions have been slightly tweaked this year. The applicants still have 755 words to showcase various facets of their candidacy to the admission committee."

From Darden Website:

For the 2022–23 application cycle, we will again feature short essay questions, which provide a broader platform to showcase your background and personality. These questions are a great opportunity for you to help the Darden Admissions Committee understand who you are and who you will be at Darden. Remember: We are not reading your responses with a prescribed or "right" answer in mind. We want to get to know you, not us. These questions are our opportunity to begin to get a sense of your voice, your perspective, your experiences, and your writing ability. In fact, how you choose to answer a particular question is often as insightful as what you choose to write about. The best essay responses are those that are responsive to the question but also authentic and genuine. Whenever possible, the show doesn't tell.

Here is our analysis of Darden's essay questions:

Essay #1: Given that you will be forming lifelong connections with your classmates that extend beyond the classroom, what is important for your classmates to know about you that is not on your resumé? (200 words)

This question about introduction to the classmates has been tweaked and allows applicants to cover more ground about their role in the Darden community. Last year's question asked applicants to explain what they would want their learning team to know about them. This year's question focuses on all classmates and their association with them beyond the classroom. Instead of outlining your professional attributes (you will get a chance to do that in essays 2 and 3), use this essay to spotlight your personal attributes – your passions and interests and what makes you "YOU'. Through relevant examples, tell your classmates about your team working skills, and personal and professional attributes that would make them want to have you as their peer. Show them what you will bring to the table by sharing some stories/ anecdotes highlighting your unique attributes in a personal or professional context. You have the flexibility to choose both personal and professional experiences, but make sure to include elements that are NOT already there on your resume.

Essay #2: Please describe a tangible example that illuminates your experience promoting an inclusive environment and what you would bring to creating an inclusive global community at Darden. (300 words)

Diversity and inclusion have become increasingly important to business schools in the current world. Last year's DEI question was more focused on the applicants' changed perspectives about diversity and inclusion. This year's question approaches DEI from a leadership perspective and asks applicants how they have promoted and encouraged it and how they will continue to do so at Darden.

The essay prompt allows you to choose a personal or professional example. You must be working with people from different cultures, geographies, ethnicities, age groups, and skill sets at work. Look for an example of when you encouraged and accepted people who are different from you? Maybe you went the extra mile to help an elderly member feel comfortable and safe during the pandemic by easing his workload or encouraging an introverted member to voice their views in the meeting. What conscious steps did you take to promote an inclusive environment? Please make sure to elucidate only one story/ example. As always, we encourage you to follow the STAR method and explain what the situation was? ( S) What needed to be done? (T) What action did you take? ( A) and what was the result ( R)? Also, share the thought process that drove you to your decision.

In the second part of the essay, explain how you would contribute to creating an inclusive environment in and outside of class at Darden. With the 300-word limit, you can allot approximately 15-200 words to detail your story and 100 words to your contribution to Darden in this area.

Essay #3: At this time, how would you describe your short-term, post-MBA goal in terms of industry, function, geography, company size and/or mission, and how does it align with the long-term vision you have for your career? (200 words)

This is a fairly straightforward goals essay. This question has been tweaked from last year, asking applicants to specify industry, function, geography, company size, and mission about their post-MBA goals. The candidates must also explain how their short plan aligns with their long-term vision.

Begin with elaborating on your post-MBA objectives, identify the position you hope to hold immediately after the MBA program and specify a job title/ role, industry, function, and 1-2 organizations/ companies that interest you. Next, articulate your goal and explain why this goal is exciting and vital to 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 in reaching that goal. To provide an effective response, you can give a brief career history and explain what skills and knowledge you possess to help you accomplish your goal in your chosen field.

Read our tips on avoiding common mistakes in crafting goals essay:

Avoid These 13 Mistakes in Goals Essay

When selecting examples for the above three essays, you want to maintain a balance between your personal and professional examples so that you can showcase your well-rounded personality to the admission committee.

Watch this video for  Essay advice from  Dawna Clarke

Free Resources

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples

 MER Students Share their success Stories

Essay Analysis of Other Top Programs-2021-22

Case Studies

15th AIGAC Conference -2022- The Changing Trends in Management Education – Key Takeaways

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