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I had this client, who had a tough time articulating why he was a natural-born leader. The class monitor to college president to leadership roles in the current job was self-evident in the resume. Unfortunately, not all schools look at the resume and say to themselves – here is a leader. Even military applicants, who have leadership experience and skills in managing a highly volatile environment had to start offering context on ‘why their job’ is unlike any other.

When applicants are nudged to start the draft, many come back to me with the question that you might also have – “where do I begin.”


I tried to create narratives on the school experience. Perhaps his father had a role in inculcating the habit of owning responsibilities at a younger age. The narrative didn’t resonate with him. Perhaps he wants to take ownership of the students’ outcome in school. Not really.

Finally, I asked him what excited him the most about his journey. Immediately, he went into an extensive narrative of his current job and its complexity. Managing the suppliers, negotiating the price, planning for the operations, and the fact that the Founders have undying confidence in his character.

Schools typically have Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3 deadlines with the majority of Round 1 deadline in Sep/Oct, Round 2 in January and Round 3 deadlines in Mar/Apr. However, a few top schools (Darden, Duke Fuqua, and IESE) offer an early application round in September for those applicants who are only applying to one school. Although the number of applicants who opt for such a path is low, those who follow through in the early-round has a higher chance of acceptance than the applicants from later rounds.


We don’t want to start the Round 1 vs. Round 2 debate but it is safe to assume that a 2:3 strategy that we had recommended in our consulting and review service would balance the risk of targeting all your dream schools in one round and getting rejected or waiting for Round 2 to target the dream schools.  Spread the risk, earn some offers, and then keep one or two dream schools for R2. Freeing up your mind with an offer from a top 10 MBA program in hand could do wonders when you are targeting a top 5 MBA program in Round 2.

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


The University of Virginia's Commitment to Diversity.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.

Share a time in which you engaged with a perspective, identity, community, or experience that was different from your own and how it impacted your worldview. (200 words)

1. Diversity in Experience

Most applicants tend to look at their native culture with far higher scrutiny. With that defensive mindset, they fail to reveal unique experiences.

In the first example, we look at an applicant who had a debilitating fear of pathogens. His mother tried to change his perspective through operational knowledge of germs, bacteria, and virus. The presentation made the case worse. Camping - a uniquely American experience is used as the backdrop in narrating how the applicant overcame his hypochondriac tendencies and learned to apply a new mantra when the day to day challenges are overwhelming.

Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Life Experience) (191 Words)

As a 6-year old, when friends were making plans to outperform the defense in Soccer, I was calculating the chances of catching a cold. I had developed a debilitating fear of the ‘unknown’ pathogens. My mother – a Doctor...

In the second example, we look at an applicant - a Venture Capital professional,  who was raised in a military family where the chain of commands, and “yes-no sir” were music to ears. The command over the room and body language play an equal role in the person’s family as the courage to sign up for combat. The exchange program to Kenya is the backdrop for this narrative. A quiet weekend with friends turns into one of the most memorable life events, breaking assumptions, and a chance to acquire a new value.

Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Courage)(199 Words)

My one-month exchange program as part of y’s start-up accelerator program was winding up. I had the chance to share my journey with Kenyan friends. While we were engaged in our second round of merriment, a loud blast ripped through the ..
....




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