Darden School of Business

In this example, after following a traditional software engineering route as an associate and senior associate and finally earning a quick promotion to earn the role of a team lead, the applicant is transitioning into Product Management as managing the product requires skills beyond programming and strong analytical skills.

A perspective of the market, the competition, and user preference as well as working with the restrictions of product strategy also play into the success in the role.

Fascinated by the multi-level thinking, applicant <x> is hoping to leverage Darden’s strong foundational core course and global learning experience to develop the cultural and regional understanding to translate a behavior to a winning product feature.

Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (150 words) (Product Management)

Managing a team of twelve in enforcing <Y> insurance standard in 120,000 terminals used by insurance agents in under 2-hours was the first time, I witnessed how technology could beautifully solve complex ‘scaling’ problem and save $20M in fine. Following the success, I was assigned as...

" Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose. Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact. (200 Words)”

The Purpose: “Darden strives to identify and cultivate responsible leaders who follow their purpose”

The goal behind the question is to understand whether your impact is in alignment with the greater purpose in your life. An explicit statement about the purpose sneaked into the narrative is the only way to navigate the limitations of a 200 words short-question

Framing Purpose Statement

In 2006 when I was brainstorming the purpose of my life in a 3-day session called Perspective, I had to stand in front of a 20-something crowd and shout out my purpose. Everyone in the audience should believe that I would achieve the purpose by analyzing the sincerity of the proclamation. Even when I felt really good about shouting out my purpose like a mad man, there would be one skeptic in the audience who would say, “I don’t believe him” or “I don’t feel it.”

Tired, and frustrated, I would go back to my chair, edit my purpose statement, and come back. Each word must land, connect to the next supporting statement, and finally mesh into an idea of a ‘purpose.’ This went on for an hour, and I shouted at least 12 to 15 times. Finally, when I thought I would never complete...

In this example, the applicant, responsible for building a team for the developmental project in X, is faced with a unique problem. The success of the project depends on an equal priority approach to fieldwork and fund-raising. Watching the team’s productivity drop after the initial high, the applicant makes a conscious decision to change the culture of the organization by re-visiting the recruitment policy.

Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Team Diversity and Attitude Towards Controversial Opinions) (193 Words)

Working as an interface between corporates and non-profits was a bitter-sweet experience. We boldly improved fund allocation efficiency through the aid of technology, but the lives of beneficiaries on the ground remained marginal. Never suspecting our recruitment policy, I evaluated the on-the-ground interactions and quickly learned that after the initial discussions with the beneficiaries, follow-up communications were non-existent. Fund-raising was a more interesting problem as the reward was immediate, whereas developmental work on the ground that requires time and where the real impact lies, began to be ignored.


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 ..

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...


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...

Round     Application             Interviews                           Decisions       

Early        Sep 3rd 2019       Scheduled by Applicant       9th Oct 2019
1             Oct. 4, 2019        By Invitation                    11 Dec. 2019

2             Jan. 06, 2020       By Invitation                    18 Mar  2020   
3            ...

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