Darden MBA Deadlines & Essay topics, and our Analysis!

The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia has recently announced the MBA application deadlines and essay topics for the 2023-2024 academic year:

Early Action: September 7, 2023
Round 1: October 4, 2023
Round 2: January 4, 2024
Round 3: April 3, 2024


Essay 1: Community of Belonging – What would you want your classmates to know about you that is not on your resumé? (100 words)

Essay 2: Inclusive Impact – 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)

Essay 3: Careers With Purpose – 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)

Analysis of the essays

1. Introduction

The purpose of this analysis is to understand the desired candidate profile for the University of Virginia’s MBA program, based on their three essays. The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia is known for its strong emphasis on community, inclusivity, and purpose-driven careers. This analysis will provide insights into the key themes and questions being asked in the essays, as well as the responses that the University of Virginia is likely seeking from candidates.

2. Essay Breakdown

  • Essay 1: Community of Belonging – This essay  focuses on personal qualities and experiences that are not reflected in a candidate’s resumé. The aim is to understand the candidate’s unique contributions to the class and how they will enrich the overall community.
  • Essay 2: Inclusive Impact – This essay emphasizes the importance of promoting an inclusive environment and the candidate’s role in creating an inclusive global community at Darden. It seeks to understand the candidate’s experiences, values, and potential contributions to diversity and inclusion.
  • Essay 3: Careers With Purpose – This essay  asks candidates to describe their short-term and long-term career goals, focusing on industry, function, geography, company size, and mission. The purpose is to understand how a candidate’s goals align with the values and priorities of the Darden MBA program.

3. Desired Responses

Based on the values and priorities of the University of Virginia’s MBA program, the following responses are likely desired from candidates:

  • Community of Belonging: Candidates should demonstrate their ability to contribute positively to the class and the broader Darden community, showcasing their unique background, experiences, and perspectives.
  • Inclusive Impact: Candidates should provide concrete examples of their experience promoting inclusivity, as well as their commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment at Darden. This may include experiences working with diverse teams, leading initiatives to promote inclusivity, or participating in organizations that champion diversity.
  • Careers With Purpose: Candidates should articulate clear and well-thought-out short-term and long-term career goals that align with the values of the Darden MBA program. This may include goals related to social impact, sustainability, or innovation, demonstrating a strong sense of purpose and commitment to making a positive difference in the world.

4. Examples

  • In Essay 1, a candidate might discuss their experience volunteering at a local non-profit organization, highlighting their passion for community service and their ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • In Essay 2, a candidate could describe their role in launching a diversity and inclusion initiative at their workplace, showcasing their leadership skills and commitment to fostering an inclusive environment.
  • In Essay 3, a candidate might outline their goal to work in the renewable energy industry, demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and long-term vision for a career focused on addressing climate change.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, the University of Virginia’s MBA program seeks candidates who can demonstrate a strong sense of community, a commitment to inclusivity, and purpose-driven career goals. Candidates should approach the essay prompts with these values in mind, providing concrete examples and clear articulation of their goals and experiences. By doing so, candidates can showcase their alignment with the program’s priorities and increase their chances of success in the application process.

Inclusive impact refers to the positive effects and outcomes that result from promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within an organization or community. Inclusive impact aims to ensure that everyone feels welcome, valued, and respected, regardless of their background or identity. By fostering an inclusive environment, organizations can strengthen their performance, innovation, and adaptability to diverse markets and ideas.