The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business is adding an ‘early action’ round with an open interview schedule for this year’s 2018-2019 MBA application season. The new option, which is non-binding, is for candidates who believe that Darden’s MBA program is their top choice and are ready to move forward with their application at the earliest point possible.
The early action deadline is Sept. 7th, with admissions decisions due on Oct. 17th–just a few days after the school’s regular round one deadline of Oct. 4. Applying in the early round allows candidates to schedule their interview without waiting to be invited. Darden will host open interviews for early action candidates between mid-July through to the of September. The online application for 2018-2019 went live today.
The new early round is just one of several admissions innovations launched by Dawna Clarke, the long-time admissions chief at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, who became executive director of admissions and financial aid at Darden last year. The school is also significantly increasing scholarship support for MBA students and hosting a fuller array of info sessions and on-campus visits for prospective students.
Darden’s round one deadline of Oct. 4 will allow candidates to get a decision on Dec. 12. The round two deadline is Jan. 10, with decisions due on March 20. And the third and final round cutoff is April 3, with decisions posted on May 8th. For the trio of regular round applicants, interviews are only available by invitation. The school does not post specific dates for sending invites but notes that candidates could get an invitation up until the decision date.
Applicants who live in the U.S. are required to interview on the Darden Grounds. If you live outside of the U.S., the school offers interviews via Skype. Candidates may have the option to interview during several West Coast Interview Days. In addition to the applicants also are expected to participate in a case discussion with a member of Darden’s top-ranked faculty.
This year, Darden also changed its essay approach, ending one long essay for five shorter questions so students can talk about multiple dimensions of their background with a greater emphasis on leadership and impact.
1. “Tell us what you would want your learning team to know about you – personal, professional or both.” (100 words)
2. “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)
3. “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)
4. “Please provide an example of a situation in which you have made a meaningful impact.” (200 words)
5. “What is your short-term, post-MBA career goal and why?” (150 words)
- Fundraising for scholarships at Darden has increased 700% over the past two years. Innovations to the s school’s scholarship offerings include:
(a) The Batten Scholars Program: Sponsored by Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, this competitive program supports full- and partial-tuition scholarships for top students with interest and experience in entrepreneurship, innovation and technology.
(b) New Batten Foundation Darden Worldwide Scholarships: Beginning in the 2018–19 academic year, the scholarship program will fund the course fees for all full-time students who participate in a Darden Worldwide Course.
(c) Madison and Monroe Scholarships: These prestigious scholarships will be awarded each year to top candidates.
(d) Darden Jefferson Fellowships Competition: Top candidates from around the globe will now have the opportunity to compete for a nomination for the prestigious Darden Jefferson Fellowship, directed by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation. International candidates interested in the fellowship must apply in Darden’s Early Action round. Applications will be reviewed by the Darden Admissions Committee and considered for nomination to the Jefferson Scholars Foundation. U.S.-based candidates interested in the fellowship should apply Early Action or in Round 1.
New Darden Showcase Events: Darden will offer several new showcases built to highlight its vibrant and engaging learning environment on Grounds. Prospective students are welcome to attend any of the events, and more will be added through the summer. See the full schedule.
New Admissions Events: Darden will host a series of admissions events in major cities on six continents and participate in the Poets&Quants’ CentreCourt MBA Festival in multiple cities. See the full schedule.
Last year’s entering class at Darden lived up to the school’s usual high standards.
- Darden received 2,736 applications during the 2016-2017 cycle, up 10.8% from the previous year
- Last year’s incoming was 326 students, down from the 345 students who arrived in Charlottesville in 2016…but still larger than the 316 students who enrolled in the program four years ago.
- Overall, Darden accepted 24.5% of applicants, putting it in the same company as Chicago Booth, the London Business School, and Michigan Ross.
- The average GMAT was 713, one point higher than the 2018 Class and a seven-point improvement over the last graduating class.
- The mid-80% range of GMATs went from 650 to 760
- Domestic students had an average score of 712
- International students had an average score of 715.
- For the fourth straight year, undergraduate GPAs remained at 3.5, with the lowest reported average being 2.1 and the highest at 4.0.