The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA

UVA Darden Essays & Analysis 2023-2024

uva darden essays

The following essay topic analysis examines the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business (UVA Darden) MBA admissions essays. The UVA Darden essays are for the 2023-2024 admissions season. You can also review essay topic analyses for all of the leading MBA programs as well as general Essay Tips to further aid you in developing your admissions essays.

UVA Darden Essays & Analysis 2023-2024

Let’s take a closer look at the UVA Darden essays.

Short Answer 1: Community of Belonging

What would you want your classmates to know about you that is not on your resume? (100 words)

Given the narrow word limit, applicants will need to reflect carefully on the aspects of their backgrounds they most want to highlight. Underlying this prompt is a sense of how you will contribute to your classmates’ futures, so you’ll want to highlight transferrable skills or traits that will add to other’s success. While a brief mention of your professional background and career goals may be appropriate for context, note that Darden is looking for material specifically outside of your resume. We encourage applicants to use this opportunity to showcase elements of their personalities and candidacies that they will not have the chance to address elsewhere. Perhaps you have a particularly interesting work or extra-curricular experience to share, or a personal accomplishment or aspect of your heritage of which you’re especially proud. By focusing on a range of qualities and characteristics, this essay will allow applicants to demonstrate the well-rounded nature of their candidacies even within the 100-word limit.

Short Answer 2: Inclusive Impact

Please describe a tangible example that illuminates your experience promoting an inclusive environment and what you would bring to creating a welcoming, global community at Darden. (300 words)

You may wish to review the University of Virginia’s Commitment to Diversity before beginning this essay. In past iterations of this question, Darden has noted, “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. The Darden School develops practices and cultivates a culture that reflects and incorporate the worldviews of its many community members.”

The door is wide open for examples, but the key is to ensure you touch on each element of the prompt to show how you would fit with the culture at Darden. Begin by thinking about your related impact, as Darden seeks a tangible example. Perhaps you worked on an international project recently and your engagement with different cultures drove your inclusive leadership, communication or another action. Consider how you resolved related challenges and galvanized a team through inclusivity – then, account for your positive results. Be sure to think beyond comments or campaigns shared on Facebook, and reflect on advocating actively. Once you select your anecdote, you’ll want to pull the main themes and forge direct connections to how this experience will translate to contributing to Darden – whether through a club, class, or other outlet. The more specific you can be in your connections to the program, the easier it will be for the adcom to envision you as a student.

Short Answer 3: Career 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)
This prompt is an abbreviated version of the typical career goals essay, focusing on applicants’ career plans immediately after graduation and in connection to the long term. First, describe your ideal target employer(s) and job position for the short term, and then detail how this plan will lead to your long-term vision. Given Darden’s dedication to supporting purpose-driven leadership, it would behoove you to include the impact you hope to have throughout your career.

Clear Admit Resources

Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Darden MBA essay topics. As you work on your Darden MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s UVA offerings: