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Real Humans of MBA Admissions: Darden’s Sara Neher

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We know. Admissions directors at top-tier business schools can seem all but omnipotent, charged with assessing your worth and charting the course of your future with the decisions they dole out. To be sure, there are admissions directors who have truly changed individuals’ fates with the calls they make.

But here’s something else we know. These admission directors also happen to be real people, in many cases completely down to earth and genuinely great to spend time with. We had the thought that it might ease anxious applicants’ minds just a wee bit to get a glimpse of some of the remarkably human traits possessed by admissions directors at leading business schools.

So it is our great pleasure to introduce this new Clear Admit feature, which we’re calling the Real Humans of MBA Admissions. We’ve had a great time connecting with these real humans and hope you’ll benefit from getting to know them a little better as the actual people they are. To kick things off, we present Sara Neher, director of admissions at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. She happily answered our somewhat frivolous questions with candor and without hesitation. Enjoy!

Real Humans of MBA Admissions: Darden’s Sara Neher

Sara with her dog, Dora, on the Darden campus this morning
Sara with her dog, Dora, on the Darden campus this morning; Images courtesy of Darden

Coffee or tea? Diet coke

Beach or mountains? Beach

Morning person or night owl? Night owl

Pet peeve? Not speaking up for yourself

Guilty pleasure? The Bachelor and Bachelorette

Favorite virtue in others? Integrity

Worst habit? Watching too much TV

Happy place? Somewhere with my dog (a half beagle, half miniature pinscher named Dora)

Comfort food? Macaroni and cheese

Go-to cocktail? Margarita with salt, on the rocks

Proudest moment? I am really excited about the first day of school this coming year because we will have by far our most diverse class ever. Our team worked really hard, and I am so proud of them.

Biggest regret? The places I didn’t get to travel to yet that I’m worried about. For instance, I would like to spend more time in Africa, especially Egypt.

One thing you would change about how you were raised? I wish my parents had me learn Spanish instead of French.

Superpower you wish you had? Flying

Favorite fictional hero/heroine? Jane Austen’s Bennett girls

Neher was also a good sport and let us video her answers to a few more questions. Check them out here:

Our thanks to Neher for diving into this new project of ours cheerfully. (And if you haven’t checked out her video blog, you certainly should!) Stay tuned for similar insights into additional real humans of MBA admissions in the coming weeks!