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 $70,500 per year. The total cost of the Darden MBA program is $97,524 per year; this includes budgeted living expenses.
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 718.
What is the average GMAT score for admission to Darden’s MBA program?
The average GMAT score for the incoming class at Darden is 718.
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 27.
What is the average starting salary for graduates of the Darden MBA program?
The average starting salary for Darden MBA graduates is $127,767 (average base salary). 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 3, 2019. The Round 1 MBA application deadline is October 4, 2019. The Round 2 application deadline is January 6, 2020. The Round 3 deadline is April 6, 2020.
What percent of Darden MBA students are women?
The percentage of the class at Darden that are women is 38%.
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 blind. This means the interviewer has not had access to the application materials.
The Class Profile
Darden’s Class of 2020 comprises 335 students. Of these, 38% are women and 18% identify as members of domestic minority groups, including students who are African American, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino American, and Native American. Thirty-one percent of students were born outside of the U.S., and in total 36 countries were represented in the Class of 2020. The mean GMAT score reported was 718, and the average GPA was 3.5. Students averaged 27 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. 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 School of Business MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2019-2020
The following essay topic analysis examines the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business (UVA / Darden) MBA admissions essays for the 2019-2020 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 Essay Topic […]
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. 2019-2020 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 MBA Interview Questions & Report / Early Action / Second Year Student / On Campus
This was my first interview I had for an MBA, so I was understandably nervous. The interview was laid back, and my interviewer was quite friendly, which eased the tension. They explained to me at the beginning of the interview that it was one of many data points in the application process and proceeded to […]
UVA / Darden MBA Interview Questions & Report – Early Action / Adcom / On-Campus
My interview was blind and very straightforward. The admissions officer gave a quick introduction (~2 min) and then asked me to ‘tell my story’. I talked for about 40 min starting from childhood while the admissions officer mostly listened and interjected once or twice for clarification. There was time at the end to ask a […]
UVA / Darden MBA Interview Questions & Report – Early Action/ Second Year Student / On-Campus
The Darden interview was very unique and conversational. The interview started with the second-year student telling me that the structure would be 15-20 minutes of sharing my story, 5 minutes for Why MBA? Why Darden? and lastly 5 minutes to ask questions of the interviewer. After that, it was me telling the interviewer my story […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report – Early Action / Adcom / Skype
I was interviewed by a member of the admissions committee. The interview was conversational and she made me feel very comfortable. She first asked me to tell me about myself, during which she had follow up questions on certain specific points. To summarise the questions: Tell me about yourself. What was your childhood like? What […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Round 1 / Second-year student / On-campus
UVA Darden MBA Interview report from a Round 1 applicant on-campus. Arrived day before the interview and stayed at Inn at Darden (very convenient location for an early morning interview; free parking). Checked in at Saunders Hall around 7:30-40am for 8am interview with a second-year student. Do NOT bring a copy of your resume. Interview […]
UVA Darden Interview Questions & Report: Dec (EMBA) / Adcom / Sands Family Grounds (Rosslyn)
December EMBA Interview at UVA Darden with Adcom. Very conversational. We toured the Sands Family Grounds first, then found an empty room to pop into for the interview. I believe it was blind, though I’d had a phone conversation with this particular adcom person a month prior. Questions She asked me to walk her through […]
UVA Darden MBA Interview Questions & Report: Round 1 / Second-year student / On-Campus
Round 1 Early morning on-campus MBA Interview at UVA Darden. Quick check-in, blind interview conducted by a second-year. Followed by class visit and lunch. Really welcoming experience and I thought the interview went well! Questions: Since it is a blind interview, the opening question was “Tell me about yourself”, and from there she asked me […]
UVA Darden MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Action / AD COM / Skype interview
The following UVA Darden MBA interview questions & report were submitted to Clear Admit by an Early Action applicant. Good luck to them! I was told from the very beginning that this is a blind interview and she hasn’t read anything about me. I have 30 mins to tell her my entire story right from: where I […]
UVA Darden MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Action / Adcom/ On-Campus
The following UVA Darden MBA interview questions & report were submitted to Clear Admit by an Early Action applicant. Good luck to them! The interview was a little different from formats at other schools, but it was pretty comfortable. I sat with an admissions team member in his office and we chatted pretty casually. He started out […]
UVA Darden MBA Interview Questions & Report: Early Action / Adcom / On Campus
The following UVA Darden MBA interview questions & report were submitted to Clear Admit by an Early Action applicant. Good luck to them! Darden has a unique interview style. The adcom did not even have my Resume. She basically asked me to tell her my story and what I do etc. It was very conversational and she […]
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 115 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; 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 six. 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 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 12 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
- Management Science
- 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 Entrepreneurship 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 subsectors 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. One unusual additional resource is Darden’s Career Education program, 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.
A full 94% of the Class of 2018 had received job offers three months after graduation, and 92% of the class had accepted a position within three months of graduating. The average base salary of 2018 graduates was $127,767 with an average signing bonus of $35,430.
Consulting was the most popular industry among 2018 Darden graduates, as 32% of the class entered this field, followed by financial services at 21%. The technology sector drew 18% of graduates, while 4% entered manufacturing and 3% opted for consumer packaged goods. Students also chose positions in industries such as real estate and energy.
By function, the Class of 2018 pursued the most roles in consulting, a function chosen by 32% of students. Finance was the second most popular function at 23%, and General Management and Marketing attracted 20% and 15%, respectively.
Geographically, most Darden MBAs relocated to the Northeast, where 31% worked upon graduation. Eighteen percent of the Class of 2018 remained in the Mid-Atlantic region, while 12% pursued roles in the South, 18% in the West and 8% in the Midwest. Finally, 5% of students chose to work in the Southwest, and another 7% pursued work outside of the U.S.
Tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year at Darden is set at $67,500 for residents of Virginia and $70,500 for non-residents, while international students pay $70,700. The total expected costs rise to $94,524 for residents, $97,524 for non-residents and $98,796 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. 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
Program Tuition (per year)
Tuition & Fees
Virginia Residents $67,500
Non-Virginia Residents $70,500
International Students $70,700
UVA Health Insurance $2,830
Living Expenses $17,766
Case Fees & Books $2,000
Transportation (domestic students) $1,000
Transportation (international students) $4,000
Federal Loan Fees (domestic students) $1,928
Total VA Residents $94,524
Total Non-VA Residents $97,524
Total International Students $98,796
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