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Darden School of Business – University of Virginia

The Darden School of Business is based in Charlottesville, Virginia at the University of Virginia. Darden provides its students with three paths toward earning an MBA—the full-time MBA as well as two executive MBA options—among its other academic offerings. A hallmark of the Darden MBA experience is the instructors’ use of the case method in the classroom, a technique that fosters discussion among stu­dents about real-world business problems. The school estimates that each student will examine more than 500 business cases over the course of the two-year MBA program.

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Darden employs 71 full-time faculty members and 39 adjunct instructors. Faculty specialize in courses across Darden’s nine subject areas, though the school encourages a very integrated curriculum. Darden’s faculty also help staff the school’s 14 research centers and initiatives, which examine topics ranging from corporate sustainability to asset management and innovation.

Darden offers a balanced management curriculum within the framework of the case method teaching style and active classroom engagement. Darden’s case-based program means that student discussions constitute a significant chunk of in-class time as the students work through practical scenarios to resolve different business challenges; up to half of a student’s grade is based on oral participation.

There is no selection of academic majors at Darden. Instead, students may opt to pursue concentrations in specific areas of business, though this is not required. The school classifies its concentrations by “career track” and “theme track” categories, and the former includes seven tracks while the latter comprises five. MBA students may pursue up to two academic tracks in total during their tenure at Darden.

The typical incoming class at Darden includes just over 300 students, and each class is divided into five sections of 60 to 65 students and then into learning teams of five to six students. Each section works with its own set of faculty members and competes together in various events throughout the year as part of the Darden Cup. The Darden Cup comprises sporting events, trivia contests and myriad charity efforts for which each section can earn points.

First-year students are afforded several pre-term and orientation options prior to the start of fall classes, which include optional courses in key quantitative areas and many informal meet-and-greet events. The Darden MBA program structures first- and second-year schedules differently, giving first-year students core coursework over four terms and a capstone project while second-years have four quarters in which to take classes. In the first year, students all undertake the same required courses, and a strategy simulation upon finishing the required core curriculum. In the final term of students’ first year, they may begin to take electives and complete Darden Business Projects in their areas of interest.

During the second year of the MBA, students take electives at Darden and can also complete courses at other schools within the University of Virginia. Second-years are required to finish one leadership elective before graduation. Students may also study abroad through Darden’s exchange programs; in total, the school offers MBA exchange programs with 17 international institutions. Students wishing to spend one to two weeks abroad may opt for Darden’s Global Business Experiences (GBEs), which are usually offered in March. The GBEs are open to both first- and second-year students.

Other MBA Degree Options
The Darden MBA can be earned in one of three ways: a traditional full-time MBA, the MBA for Executives option, and the Global MBA for Executives program. All programs take 21 months to complete and chiefly employ the case method style of teaching. Darden also provides students with the opportunity to undertake one of 10 dual degree programs offered in cooperation with other schools at the University of Virginia.

Concentrations at Darden
Career Track

  • Asset Management/Sales & Trading
  • Corporate Finance/Investment Banking
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Consumer Marketing
  • Business to Business Marketing
  • Strategy Consulting
  • Supply Chain Management

Theme Track

  • Corporate Innovation
  • Business Development and Growth
  • Market Analytics
  • Business Analytics
  • Innovation for Sustainability

Degree Offerings at Darden
Full-time MBA Program

Executive MBA Programs
MBA for Executives, Global MBA for Executives,

Dual Degrees
MBA/JD, MBA/MD, MBA/MPH, MBA/MPP, MBA/MEd in Innovation in Education Reform, MBA/MA in East Asian Studies, MBA/MA in Government or Foreign Affairs, MBA/ME, MBA/MSN, MBA/PhD

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Clubs, Conferences & Competitions
The close-knit community at Darden makes for a collection of over 50 active student clubs and organizations. These groups help MBA students pursue their professional, social, athletic and affinity-related interests and include such organizations as the Turnaround & Restructuring Club, the Outdoors Club and the European Society. The Darden Student Association is the student governance body, and Darden’s Prize for Club Excellence rewards the organizations that best serve their members and the Darden community with cash prizes at the end of each year.

Student groups are also behind many of Darden’s conferences. The school plays host to a variety of professionally and affinity-focused conferences each year, including the annual Private Equity Conference, the Darden Business in Society Conference, and the Darden Health Care Conference. Darden also supports somewhat more atypical conferences that meet students’ interests, such as the “From Farm to Table: Trends in Sustainability & Innovation” Conference. This event was sponsored by Darden’s Wine & Cuisine Club in 2014 and brought together industry leaders from various subsectors to discuss sustainability practices and entrepreneurial initiatives within the food and beverage industry.

Campus Spaces
Darden’s elegant campus was designed to fit with the classical layout of UVA and Thomas Jefferson’s aesthetic for academic institutions. The UVA campus is often known as “the Grounds,” and Saunders Hall serves as the entry point to Darden. Darden’s campus boasts 60 rooms for learning teams, seven conference rooms, 18 classrooms with theater seating, a fully equipped video production studio and conferencing platform, and the i.Lab, or Darden’s innovation laboratory. Three on-campus housing options are open to graduate students, with a separate option for those students living with families. As there are limited on-campus housing openings, the school reports that many students take up residence in apartments or homes located within easy walking distance of campus.

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Career Services
The Career Development Center at Darden matches students with career consultants, thus affording them one-on-one counseling with trained planners. First-year students also benefit from the Second Year Coach program wherein second-years share recent job search experiences in the industries and functions of interest to the first-years. The center provides myriad other opportunities as well, which span from career fairs and job treks both in the U.S. and abroad to workshops, forums and specialized assessment tools. One unusual additional resource is Darden’s Career Management Series, which bring lessons on career management into the classroom. The first networking night for second-year students takes places in early September, and on-campus interviews and recruiting for full-time positions start up in mid-October.

Career Statistics
A full 90% of the Class of 2014 had received job offers by graduation, and 94% of the class had accepted a position within three months of graduating. The average base salary of 2014 graduates was $112,257 with an average signing bonus of $29,421.

Consulting was the most popular industry among 2014 Darden graduates, as 28% of the class entered consulting, followed closely by financial services at 22%. Investment management, portfolio management and other financial services drew a combined total of 10% of graduates, while 9% entered manufacturing and 16% opted for technology. Students also chose positions in industries such as consumer products and energy.

By function, the Class of 2014 pursued the most roles in consulting, a function chosen by 33% of students. General Management was the second most popular function at 26%, and Finance and Marketing attracted 23% and 17%, respectively.

Geographically, most Darden MBAs  relocated to the Northeast, where 25% worked upon graduation. Twenty percent of the Class of 2014 remained in the Mid-Atlantic region, while 13% pursued roles in the South, 14% in the West and 10% in the Midwest. Finally, 9% of students chose to work in the Southwest, and another 8% pursued work outside of the U.S.

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The Class Profile
Darden’s Class of 2016 comprises 324 students. Of these, 32% are women and 16% identify as members of domestic minority groups, including students who are African Ameri­can, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino American, and Native American. Thirty-six percent of students were born outside of the U.S., and in total 36 countries were represented in the Class of 2016. The mean GMAT score reported was 706, and the average GPA was 3.5. Students averaged 27 years of age at the time of entry into the program.

Thirty-five percent of the Class of 2016 undertook undergraduate majors in business administration, while 20% majored in the humanities and social sciences, and 27% in engineering, science or mathematics each. Eighteen percent earned undergraduate degrees in economics.

Application Procedures
Applicants to Darden have their pick of three rounds of admission, which begin around mid-October and culminate in late March. Those interested in pursuing the MBA must submit Darden’s online data form, GMAT or GRE results, TOEFL scores if applicable, a résumé, an essay, two recommendations, transcripts, residency verification for Virginia residents, and an application fee, though not all of these apply to students applying through the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. Darden also notes that prospective students who do not agree with UVA’s honor code need not apply.

Interviews are given by invitation only, and all U.S. residents are required to interview on Darden’s campus. Those residing abroad can either travel to Darden or interview closer to home through Skype, Darden alumni or the admissions committee, depending on its international recruiting trip schedule.

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Tuition for the 2015-2016 academic year at Darden is set at $58,150 for residents of Virginia and $61,150 for non-residents, while international students pay $61,250. The total expected costs rise to $84,437 for residents, $87,437 for non-residents and $88,367 for international students when considering the living expenses associated with the MBA program. First-year students should also reserve $1,500 for a computer.

Students are automatically considered for Darden’s more than 150 merit-based scholarships when they submit their applications.

U.S. students who wish to finance their MBA through loans must file the FAFSA as well as a separate application for aid to UVA; this does not apply to international students. Darden does offer international students loan program options so that they can borrow up to approximately 80% of the cost of attendance, but the school also encourages prospective international applicants to seek other loan and funding options.

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Darden’s Round 2 deadline has passed.  Interviews are by invitation, and will begin in February.  Final decisions are scheduled to be released on March 23, 2016.
Darden’s Round 1 application deadline has passed.  Final decisions were scheduled to be released on December 16, 2015, some were released early.  The deposit deadline for Round 1 candidates is February 18, 2016.



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Mailing Address:
University of Virginia Darden School of Business
P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6500
Phone: 434-924-7281
Fax: 434-243-5033
Twitter: @DardenMBA

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