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.
What is the tuition for Darden's MBA program?
The tuition for Darden's MBA program is $69,600 for residents of Virginia and $72,600 for non-residents, while international students pay $72,800.
How hard is it to get into Darden's MBA program?
The acceptance rate for Darden is 26%. It is important to consider the acceptance rate in the context of the student profile of those who are admitted. For example the average GMAT score is 715.
What is the average GMAT score for admission to Darden's MBA program?
The average GMAT score for the incoming class at Darden is 715.
Does the Darden MBA program accept the GRE?
Yes. The Darden MBA program has accepted the GRE for a few years now.
What is the minimum number of years of work experience required for admission to Darden's MBA program?
Darden does not state a minimum requirement for years of work experience.
What is the average number of years of work experience for admission to Darden's MBA program? (or, What is the average age of a Darden student?)
Darden does not state an average number of years work experience. However, the average age of a Darden MBA student is 28.
What is the average starting salary for graduates of the Darden MBA program?
The average starting salary for Darden MBA graduates is $144,933 with an average signing bonus of $35,488. The salary will vary by industry, with consulting and finance jobs generally commanding the higher salaries.
How long is Darden's full-time MBA program?
Darden offers a traditional 2 year MBA program.
What are the application deadlines for Darden's MBA program?
The Early Action application deadline is September 9, 2021. The Round 1 MBA application deadline is October 6, 2021. The Round 2 application deadline is January 5, 2022. The Round 3 deadline is April 6, 2022.
What percent of Darden MBA students are women?
The percentage of the class at Darden that are women is 40%.
What type of interview does Darden use for MBA admissions?
Darden offers open interviews for Early Action applicants. For other rounds, Darden offers interviews by invitation. The interviews are resume-based. This means the interviewer has not had access to the application materials.
ROI in Darden’s Executive MBA Program
In this video, three recent Executive MBA alumni reflect upon how their Darden experience accelerated their careers, sharpened key skills and helped them grow both personally and professionally.
UVA Darden Professor Lalin Anik
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is consistently ranked No. 1 for the world’s best faculty. Hear from Professor Lalin Anik, named one of the Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors in 2019 by Poets&Quants, on what makes the Darden teaching and learning experience special and her authentic connections with students.
The Class Profile
Darden’s Class of 2023 comprises 351 students. Of these, 40% are women and 21% identify as members of domestic minority groups, including students who are African American, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino American, and Native American. Forty percent of students were born outside of the U.S., and in total 40 countries were represented in the Class of 2023. The mean GMAT score reported was 715, and the average GPA was 3.52. Students averaged 28 years of age at the time of entry into the program.
Applicants to Darden have their pick of four rounds of admission, which begin with an early action option in September and culminate in early April. 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 of $250, 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, though in-person interviews are temporarily suspended in favor of video interviews. 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.
- Core Data
- GMAT or GRE Score
- TOEFL Scores
- Residency/In-State Status
- Visa Information
- Application Fee
- Honor Code
Essay Topic Analysis
UVA Darden Essays & Analysis
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 2021-2022 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 MBA Recommendation Questions
The UVA Darden MBA recommendation questions are now available to applicants and their recommenders. UVA Darden uses the Common Letter of Recommendation by GMAC. 2021-2022 UVA Darden MBA Recommendation Questions Section 1: Recommender Information Context of Relationship: Current employer Previous employer University / Academic Extracurricular / community Other Nature of relationship Direct Supervisor Other Supervisor Advisor […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Round 2 / Adcom / Zoom
Opened the call with some polite intros, and then letting me know the format of the interview: learning about me, letting me ask any questions, and then next steps in the process. 1. Tell me a bit about your background, your undergrad experience, and your work experience. 2. What was it like moving from [home […]
UVA Darden Batten Scholarship Interview: Early Action / Zoom
When I got the request for an interview, I couldn’t find much on the interview process. Given that, I thought I would share my experience. First thing to note – I got my notice of admission (EA September) well before notice of the scholarship. There were 4 people on the call, the MBA adcom I […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Round 1 / Second-Year Student / Zoom
Questions were based on whatever I told them. Started with the usual: (1) Tell me about yourself, where you grew up, what you did in college and what you do now? (2) Why MBA? Why Darden? (3) How did your experience living in various places and countries shape your perspectives? And what would it mean […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Round 1 / Adcom / Zoom
It was a pretty relaxed interview! It was with an adcom member, and she set the general expectation that I’d be doing most of the talking as I walked her through my profile and reasons for doing an MBA. It was also blind, and she had not seen my resume at all. Here’s what was […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Round 1 / Second-Year Student / Zoom
The blind-interview lasted 30 minutes, was very fair and conversational. The student asked me the regular questions: (10-12 minutes) 1. Tell me about yourself. 2. Why MBA, why now, why Darden? We moved after to discuss behavioral situations: (10 minutes) 1. Tell me a time when you showed leadership. 2. Describe to me your biggest […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Round 3 / Second-Year Student / Zoom
I was interviewed by a 2nd-year student. (1) Tell me about yourself: 10-15 mins monologue. (2) There were counter-question in that monologue – For example, what was the most difficult part in that particular experience? (3) Any example of a conflict with Boss and how it was managed? (4) Why now going for an MBA […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Round 2 / Adcom / Skype
The interview was taken by the Adcom member responsible for Diversity Recruitment. The interview was very conversational and lasted about 30 mins after which 15 mins were given for me to ask him any questions. Below are the questions I was asked: 1. Tell me about your life story right from your childhood through to […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Round 2 / AdCom / Zoom
Just finished Darden interview. Interviewer was extremely nice and friendly. I am not aware whether it’s typical for Darden interview or I was lucky, but I never thought MBA interview could be so pleasurable. The questions asked: 1) Tell me about yourself (family/background/interests/career). 2) Why MBA? Why Darden? 3) Leadership style? 4) What would your […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Round 2 / Adcom / Zoom
The whole interview was ‘Tell me about yourself’ with follow up questions in between that gave direction to the narrative. The interview was blind so the interviewer didn’t have access to my application or resume. Questions included: Why MBA (covered ST and LT goals)? Why now? Why Darden? What do you do in your current […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Round 2 / Adcom / Zoom
The interview was just like I had expected based on other interview reports! It was conducted blind (she had not even seen my resume), so make sure to convey everything you would want to from your resume and give background behind things (ie. they won’t even know when you graduated or how long you’ve been […]
Real Humans of MBA Admissions: Darden’s Sara Neher
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. […]
Admissions Director Q&A: Sara Neher of UVA’s Darden School of Business
We recently caught up with Sara Neher, director of MBA admissions at Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (UVA), who had just returned from a family trip to celebrate her dad’s 70th birthday in the mountains of Colorado. Trading one beautiful environment for another, she’s back now in Charlottesville and ready to […]
UVA / Darden LiveWire and DecisionWire
Darden employs over 120 faculty members. 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 15 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.
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 six. MBA students may pursue as many academic tracks as they would like during their tenure at Darden, provided they can satisfy the academic requirements of each.
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 first-years participate in 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 Consulting 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 18 international institutions. Students wishing to spend one to two weeks abroad may opt for Darden’s Immersion Courses, which are usually offered in March. The Immersion Courses 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
- Asset Management/Sales & Trading
- Corporate Finance/Investment Banking
- Strategy Consulting
- Supply Chain Management
- Corporate Innovation
- Business Development and Growth
- Business Analytics
- Innovation for Sustainability
- Global Business
Degree Offerings at Darden
Full-time MBA Program
Executive MBA Programs
MBA for Executives, Global MBA for Executives
MBA/JD, MBA/SAIS MA, MBA/MSDS, 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
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 Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research Conference, and the Darden Investing 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 sub-sectors to discuss sustainability practices and entrepreneurial initiatives within the food and beverage industry.
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.
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. 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.
Ninety-five percent of the Class of 2021 had accepted a job within three months of graduating. The average base salary of 2021 graduates was $144,933, the highest in the school’s history for the third year in a row, with an average signing bonus of $35,488.
Consulting was the most popular industry among 2021 Darden graduates, as 32% of the class entered this field, followed by financial services at 26% and technology at 19%. Healthcare and CPG rounded out the top five, at 6% and 5% respectively.
Geographically, most Darden MBAs relocated to the Northeast, where 29% worked upon graduation. Twenty-one percent of the Class of 2021 remained in the Mid-Atlantic region. Eighteen percent headed to the West U.S. Eleven percent each settled in the Midwest or South U.S. Two percent headed abroad, with Asia as the most popular international destination.
Tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year at Darden is set at $69,600 for residents of Virginia and $72,600 for non-residents, while international students pay $72,800. The total expected costs rise to $96,856 for residents, $99,856 for non-residents and $100,778 for international students when considering the living expenses associated with the MBA program. First-year students should also reserve $1,300 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. Beginning with the Class of 2020, Darden offers international students loan program options so that they can borrow up to approximately 99% of the cost of attendance, but the school also encourages prospective international applicants to seek other loan and funding options.
Cost of Attendance 2021-2022
Tuition & Fees
- Virginia Residents $69,600
- Non-Virginia Residents $72,600
- International Students $72,800
UVA Health Insurance $3,148
Living Expenses $18,430
Case Fees $1,000
Transportation (domestic students) $1,000
Transportation (international students) $4,000
Federal Loan Fees (domestic students) $2,278
- VA Residents $96,856
- Non-VA Residents $99,856
- International Students $100,788
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