How to Answer the Darden Diversity Essay

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.

Diversity is not just about working with a colleague from a different nationality. It could also mean the unique experience that shaped your value.

Example 1:  Different Perspective, Identity, Community or Experience and its IMPACT on worldview (Life Experience)

2. Diversity in Value – Breaking Assumptions

Not all values are passed on by your parents, siblings, or role models. Chance encounters and experiences where the answers are not in black and white could force you to introspect and find values that might be a better match for your personality. Sometimes, the values and assumptions you held dearly would have no relevance in the new reality.

Example 2:  Different Perspective, Identity, Community or Experience and its IMPACT on worldview (Courage)

3. Diversity in Team

International project experience as a success factor is not articulated enough in MBA application. Top MBA programs measure such experience to indirectly see whether you have the experience working in a diverse team with multiple ethnicities, nationality, background, knowledge, experience, and gender.  Schools have realized the value of diversity in enriching the learning experience and takes extra-effort in orchestrating the right mix of talent, experience, and background to enhance the class discussions, student clubs, and alumni engagement.

Example 3: Different Perspective, Identity, Community or Experience and its IMPACT on worldview (Team Diversity and Attitude Towards Controversial Opinions)

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