2009 UVA Darden MBA Admissions Chat with Sara Neher

2009 UVA Darden MBA Admissions Chat with Sara Neher

Please feel free to let us know if you would like to be informed of future chats by sending e-mail to chat@accepted.com. We would also be interested in knowing if you would prefer a different format or different topics.

Linda Abraham (Feb 26, 2009 12:00:47 PM)
Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s chat. First I want to welcome all applicants to the chat today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about UVA’s Darden’s Business School. It is critical to your decision process and your admission chances that you know as much as you can about the schools you are applying to. Being here today allows you to ask experts about this top business school.

I also want to welcome the great team Darden has assembled to answer your questions today:

  • Sara Neher - Director of MBA Admissions
  • Arielle Myhre - Assistant Director of Marketing and Admissions - Arielle is an Assistant Director of Marketing and Admissions at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. She hosts the Darden Admissions News Blog, writes the monthly Admissions newsletter, plans prospective student receptions, and works on various online marketing efforts.
  • Jamala Massenburg - Darden Student, Class of 2009 - Originally from the Washington DC area, Jamala is currently a Second Year student at the Darden School of Business. Jamala graduated from the University of Virginia in 2001 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation she went to work for Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, MI for 6 years as a product design engineer. There she was given the opportunity to complete a Masters in systems engineering from the University of Michigan. After graduating from Darden this year, she will be relocating to Boston, MA to begin a career as a consultant in the health care industry with ZS Associates.
  • Bill Gray -Darden Student, Class of 2009 - Bill is a Second Year student at the Darden School of Business. He received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. His professional experience includes working at a biomedical device startup as an electrical engineer, consulting to local businesses on a part time basis with Graymatter Computing, and consulting to automotive companies as an associate with PRTM Management Consulting. After graduating from Darden this year, Bill will continue as an associate in PRTM's automotive practice.
  • Cameron Miller -Darden Student, Class of 2009- Cameron grew up in Richmond, VA and is currently a Second Year student at the Darden School of Business. Cameron completed her undergraduate degree at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, majoring in English Literature with a minor in Economics. After graduating in 2001, Cameron moved to San Francisco to pursue a career in Brand Advertising, working on accounts such as Visa, Nike, and Ask.com. Although not yet committed to a full time job, Cameron plans to move back to the San Francisco Bay Area to work in Marketing and Corporate Sustainability.

Thanks to everyone for joining.

ThirdRoundApplicant (Feb 26, 2009 12:05:02 PM)
Sara: Is the third round this year the round of death as well? I just found out more about the Darden program via various professors and students, regarding the advantages of the case study methodology. Should I still apply?

Enea (Feb 26, 2009 12:05:28 PM)
Arielle: Are there any scholarships or financial aid available to international students?

Linda Abraham (Feb 26, 2009 12:06:07 PM)
Bill, Cameron and Jamala, why did you choose Darden?

Gretchen (Feb 26, 2009 12:06:30 PM)
Arielle, are admissions way up this year? Is it much harder to get in?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:06:41 PM)
Enea, Yes, there are many scholarships available to international students. Please visit the Financial Aid webpage for more information. Regarding loans, please watch Sara Neher's recent video blog for an update.

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:06:48 PM)
Third Round Applicant. Thanks for joining us today and for considering applying in Round 3. Round 3 is definitely the smallest round of applicants, and as such, the smallest number of admits. BUT, it is not the round of death. People get in every year in round 3. You do need to be clear about why you are applying in round 3 - tell us in the "Additional Comments" section of the application.

mags (Feb 26, 2009 12:07:04 PM)
Sara: How does it look for Round 1 waitlisted students? How many people were accepted from the waitlist last year?

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:07:24 PM)
Linda, I choose Darden for two main reasons: One: The case method. I felt coming in that I had a weakness in public speaking& expressing my opinion, so I felt it would be good place to help with my development. The second reason was I felt it was the best fit for me. Darden is a very collaborative culture, students work together and learn from each other, exam reviews are student led, even though we are graded on curve. The small class size means that I know just about all of my classmates and have formed lasting friendships.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:08:13 PM)
Gretchen: Applications are up in some areas and down in others. It will not be any more difficult to get in this year.

ThirdRoundApplicant (Feb 26, 2009 12:08:20 PM)
Jamala, as an alumnus from the UVA Engineering school, did you feel that you were a natural at the case study methodology? I graduated from the Systems Engineering department and I can definitely draw parallels to the case study methodology since we did a lot of it in E-school. Did being a former UVA alum add weight to your application?

mags (Feb 26, 2009 12:08:39 PM)
Arielle: How are Darden students finding the job market this year?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:08:54 PM)
Mags, Round 1 waitlisted applicants should know that their files will be considered again in March as we make Round 2 decisions. Last year, several people got in at that time. We consider them again in Round 3 and some people got in then as well. I don't know yet about how it will go this year.

AB (Feb 26, 2009 12:08:56 PM)
Hi Sara, thanks for extending this opportunity. Could you throw some light on the current status of interview invites for R2?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:10:13 PM)
AB, the majority of interview invites have gone out for Round 2. However, a few are going out today and invitations could continue to go out up until the decision release date. In Round 1, we did make interview invitations all the way through the round.

CameronMillerDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:10:33 PM)
Linda, I chose Darden for a few reasons: Having lived in the San Francisco / Bay Area for six years, I was interested to coming back to the East Coast for school. I loved the small, tight knit community of Darden and Charlottesville; Also, having been in the "working world" for six years, I knew that I wanted a case method program rather than a lecture-based learning environment because of the class engagement and high-energy approach to learning; Finally, I am extremely interested in Social Responsibility and Ethical businesses practices - Darden has always been known for their Ethics program and they have continued to expand their offerings in sustainability and social responsibility.

eva (Feb 26, 2009 12:10:34 PM)
Sara: MBA admissions are mostly based on experiences. What do you think about the students who want to continue to the graduate school right after their undergrad? They basically will not have any work experience at all. Can such student still be considered? Can they still apply for an MBA in Darden?

BillGrayDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:10:40 PM)
Linda, I choose Darden for a combination of the school's reputation, learning method, class size, class profile (distribution of undergraduate degrees), and city size. My search started with the traditional rankings and I then factored in these other considerations. It took me some time to figure out what was most important to me personally, and visiting schools was a big help. I was impressed by some schools from their marketing material and then had a completely different reaction when visiting the campus. Visiting Darden helped me sort though some of my own questions on what to consider.

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:10:49 PM)
ThirdRoundApplicant: I found that the case method gives you a lot of information and it is up to you to figure out what is important. I feel that the studies of engineering helped with that. As for being an alumnus of UVA, yes having come here before did play a role, as I knew I would enjoy the area and the program, but had to weigh that with deciding if I wanted a different location. In the end, I went with the school that I felt had the best fit and would address my goals. I found that the second time around has been a very different experience.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:11:43 PM)
Mags, the job market is a more challenging environment this year, but we are keeping pace with our peer schools. To learn about some of the resources that our Career Development Center offers and to learn about what this department is doing in this economy, please watch a recent video blog from Sara Neher.

nickpez (Feb 26, 2009 12:11:44 PM)
I have a question for any of the current students. Does Darden participate in grade disclosure with potential employers, and if so, do you at all feel that it hurts the collaborative nature of the program?

Vishy (Feb 26, 2009 12:11:47 PM)
Hi Arielle. Can you throw some light on the important factors for admission to Darden? Is international experience necessary for an Indian and other international applicants ?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:13:15 PM)
Eva, We do have some students who come directly from undergrad. Admission to business school is based on your leadership ability and potential, your intelligence, and your work experience. The first two you can have at any age. The third, a college applicant can have via internships, strong extra-curricular activities, etc. Plus - there is no downside to applying. If you don't get in now, we will give you feedback over the summer on how to improve your chances in the future.

mags (Feb 26, 2009 12:13:19 PM)
Sara: When will waitlisted students find out more information? Do they find out if they are still waitlisted or accepted on March 25th and May 2nd along with all the other R2 and R3 candidates?

Lunel (Feb 26, 2009 12:13:26 PM)
Jamal: How has the case study method helped your weakness in public speaking & expressing your opinion, as you mentioned earlier?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:14:51 PM)
Mags, waitlisted students will only get specific information about their status if they are admitted. Otherwise, you will get some regular communication from us starting this week. You can check out a recent video blog on the topic for more info as well.

ThirdRoundApplicant (Feb 26, 2009 12:14:58 PM)
Sara: I am already pointing out a weakness in the additional comments section and word limit is 150 words. I would feel very limited in explaining my reasons to apply in Round 3. Is there any other way I can accomplish this?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:15:00 PM)
Vishy, important factors for admission to Darden include: Academics, work experience, personal qualities and characteristics. International experience is important for all students (including international applicants). We also look for evidence of leadership experience and an interest in your community.

eva (Feb 26, 2009 12:15:16 PM)
Arielle: What are the scholarship criteria for international students?

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:15:47 PM)
Lunel: It proved me with an environment of support and trust, where I could experiment with expressing myself. I've learned how to word my thoughts and opinions in ways that are both respectful and insightful. Through the process, I also learned that I know more than I think I do and that my thoughts and ideas are just as valid as everyone else's. For me, it has been a break-out two years!

BillGrayDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:16:03 PM)
Nickpez, Darden has a policy not to disclose grades. Recruiters in some of the really competitive industries ask for grades and students have to make a personal decision on if it makes sense to share their grades. In this case, the decision rests with the individual student.

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:16:05 PM)
3rd Round, the "Additional Comments" section should be used with bullet points -it is not an essay. Just tell us what we need to know in the most concise way possible. A few sentences are sufficient.

Sarah (Feb 26, 2009 12:16:22 PM)
Sara: If you applied in round two, when is the latest that you will be contacted for an interview? And if you are not contacted, does that mean that you did not get in?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:17:12 PM)
Eva, scholarship criteria is the same for all students (U.S. and international), but there are some country-specific scholarships, as well as ones focused on entrepreneurship and innovation.

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:17:24 PM)
Sarah, the latest you can be contacted for an interview is March 25. And yes, you cannot be admitted without an interview - although the interview might have happened in a prior year if you are a re-applicant.

Sarah (Feb 26, 2009 12:18:19 PM)
Sara: What are the opportunities for studying abroad; are there a lot of options to do this?

mags (Feb 26, 2009 12:18:40 PM)
For the grad students: What do you like most and least about living in Charlottesville?

Lunel (Feb 26, 2009 12:19:23 PM)
Arielle: I'm still in the exploratory process of choosing schools that are the correct match for me, and I'm interested in visiting Darden. How would I execute the visiting process and what is involved in a campus visit?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:20:23 PM)
Sarah, there are lots of opportunities for study abroad - from a semester or quarter at one of our partner schools to a one-week trip with a faculty member over spring break (global business experiences).

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:20:41 PM)
Information on planning a visit to Darden can be found online. Also, if you would like to watch a video tour of the school, you can do so on our website as well.

Dan (Feb 26, 2009 12:20:44 PM)
Sara: How is the current economical situation affecting graduates? I guess job offers are not as good in salaries and numbers as previous years.

CameronMillerDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:21:19 PM)
NickPez, per Bill's answer, Darden's policy holds for MOST of the situations. For this reason, grades do not create a competitive environment in the classroom. Also, more important than what interviewers ask is that the collaborative community Darden cultivates through our Learning Teams, Sections, and all around social nature of the Darden School.

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:21:55 PM)
Sarah: In response to your question about studying abroad, I and 29 of my classmates will be leaving next week to go to China for 2 weeks. There we will have the opportunity to visit companies as well as take in the culture. Other students are going to: Bahrain, Barcelona, Sweden, Argentina and Brazil, just to name a few of the locations.

jbdpk (Feb 26, 2009 12:22:40 PM)
Hi Arielle: If we get an interview invitation for the 2nd Round, how much time will we get to attend it on-campus? I believe we are too close to decision time-line.

Wilson (Feb 26, 2009 12:23:04 PM)
Bill, Jamala and Cameron, it looks like you all came to Darden from large cities. How did you like the change in environment? Also, do you feel the small-town setting impacted your job/internship search?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:23:14 PM)
Dan, it is really too early to tell about salaries and offers for this year, but our second years are doing quite well in the job market. We had all of the top banks (that are left) and all of the top consulting firms, plus even stronger showings from previous years, in manufacturing and marketing. Great jobs are out there, companies are just slower to confirm this year - offers are still coming in now! For more information, consult our employment report on our career development center website.

Jenn Ash (Feb 26, 2009 12:23:26 PM)
Sara: Can you explain how you "bucket" applicants throughout the process? When you are comparing two applications, do you group the consultants, southeast, young prospects, internationals or creatives? How do you divide the group to get an accurate perspective? Which stacks have the greatest number of applicants?

BillGrayDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:24:13 PM)
Sarah, last year, I participated in the Mexico City GBE, which was led by Professor Rodriguez. We attended classes with the MBA students at IPADA business school and visited local businesses. One part of the program that impressed me was the time we spent with the Darden professor. He attended all the events and went to dinner with us every night.

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:24:57 PM)
Mags: Best think about Charlottesville is the ability to go out and do outdoor activities (45 minutes for skiing, hiking, etc), and at the same time enjoy some city aspects such as (shopping, concerts, dining out). Least favorite thing is the airport! Get used to small planes!

CameronMillerDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:25:09 PM)
Sarah, I am also taking advantage of the GBEs at Darden. These are Global Business Experiences that Jamala mentioned above. There are also opportunities to study abroad for quarters and semesters. As most things at Darden, if a student has an interest in something, you can propose it to the school and make it happen. We currently have ~6 classmates who are studying in India this quarter. Other classmates of mine have spent parts of their second year in France, Japan, Argentina, and other areas of their interest.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:25:16 PM)
Jbdpk, if you receive an invitation to interview, you will have 10 days to schedule your interview. If you schedule your interview after the decision deadline, we will do our best to get a decision to you soon after your interview.

Manas Das (Feb 26, 2009 12:25:31 PM)
Arielle: I know that the admission committee considers the application in totality. But is it mandatory that an applicant must demonstrate academic potential in either the GPA or GMAT? For example, is it true that a not so good GPA must be compensated by a very high GMAT?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:26:20 PM)
Jenn Ash, we honestly do not "bucket' the applications as a whole. Each application is judged on its own merits - holistically and after several readings by several members of the admissions committee. As we are deciding about the final few offers and who to put on the waitlist, only at that point might we compare people by industry, country/state, or undergrad.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:27:03 PM)
Manas, we need to see academic strength somewhere on your application - this could be your GMAT, GPA or classes you've taken after graduation.

Dan (Feb 26, 2009 12:27:28 PM)
Sara: I'm from Spain and I have applied for Round 2. So far, I have received no news yet about the interview. Once I get a response, does the interview have to be conducted before the 2nd of March deadline, or it has some flexibility?

CameronMillerDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:27:57 PM)
Mags: Another great thing about C-ville is the cost! It is a relatively inexpensive place to live - especially if you have been in a major city for the last few years. I live in a big house (3 roommates) with a huge kitchen and pay less than $600 per month (my share). Also, there are fantastic restaurants for such a small town. This, coupled with the gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, makes Charlottesville a fantastic place to live!

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:28:38 PM)
Wilson: I love the small town environment. Coming from a major city, I knew that I wanted to go somewhere to concentrate on my studies and not have distractions for getting to know my fellow classmates. Bigger cities are 1-2 hours away so I have the opportunity to spend time socializing with other Dardenites. I didn't feel that the location impacted my recruiting, most major corporations recruit here. And for those that do not, I have found alumni to be helpful with providing insight into pursuing off-grounds opportunities.

David (Feb 26, 2009 12:28:56 PM)
Current students: What would you say is the strongest program at Darden? Did you know that before you started? How did you find out?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:30:14 PM)
Dan, overseas, our interviews are usually conducted by our alumni. if you get invited, you will have 10 days to schedule something with an alumnus who contacts you. Preferably, you will complete the interview a few days before March 25 and that way we can still release the decision on time. If it takes longer than that, we will notify you of a final decision a few days after the interview takes place. We do our best to have a quick turnaround on these.

BillGrayDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:31:15 PM)
Wilson, I came from Detroit and moving to Charlottesville was a nice change of pace. First, it's warmer here during the winter and the town doesn't get much snow. Everyone in this town is very nice and the smaller community feel means my wife and I constantly run into people we know. One of the big advantages of moving to Charlottesville is that I got to know my classmates. In large cities, people often already have a social network or people they know and tend to do less with the student body. At Darden, we come to Charlottesville knowing almost no one and then spend most of our social time with fellow MBA students. The small city is a huge factor in helping our class bond together. As for recruiting, all the big firms make the trip down. There are three or four direct daily flights to Charlottesville from New York and also direct flights to several other airports. Richmond is another option and is about an hour away.

Sam McIntosh (Feb 26, 2009 12:32:00 PM)
Hello from Austin, Texas! I have a question for any of the current Darden students. Darden has a reputation for placing a lot of importance on ethical behavior. As a student, does that emphasis manifest itself on campus? If so, can you give an example? Thank you.

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:32:39 PM)
After June 1, unsuccessful applicants can request feedback. A member of the Admissions Committee will review your file and respond with information specific to you. I will tell you though, that the most common feedback points are: More progression/leadership in the workplace, English-speaking ability, and Proof of quantitative ability (better GMAT, take accounting/statistics, etc.).

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:32:47 PM)
David: To clarify, we do not have majors, so to speak, as a general management program. I have found that this provides the ability to take a wide range of courses. The best part is that the faculty has found ways to make it integrated so that while you may be taking Operations, you learn how Marketing and Finance also play a role. I personally have enjoyed the courses in Ethics and Negotiations. I found out about different classes from other students -- last year we held sessions with first years to talk about the different class options and I found that really helpful for understanding what I would get out of each class. Also, there are some professors that I really enjoy, so I take whatever classes they are teaching.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:33:27 PM)
CapeTown, The Darden experience is transformative for many reasons. The case method requires that students are highly-engaged in the classroom environment. You must read the cases the day before class, meet with your learning team, and participate in class discussions. The classroom environment allows you to test out your ideas and strengthen your communication skills. The Darden experience is also transformative because you will be surrounded by a diverse and talented group of students for two years, where you will be able to share ideas and learn new perspectives. Lastly, students at Darden are also committed to enhancing student life by being involved in many of the student organizations.

Wilson (Feb 26, 2009 12:33:36 PM)
Arielle: What kind of work experience is the Darden admissions committee looking for in their MBA candidates?

David (Feb 26, 2009 12:34:18 PM)
Sara: I feel my application is limited on community involvement, primarily because of limited opportunities (no large 3,000+ city in 40+ miles). Can involvement in groups within my current employer supplement this section (workplace improvement teams, Green teams, etc.)?

CameronMillerDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:34:20 PM)
Wilson: I have loved the small-town aspect of Charlottesville because it is a great place to be a student. While there are many things to do, there are not the distractions of a larger city. Most people that come to Darden are new to the area, so it creates this very social, tight-knit group of classmates that quickly become close friends from all over the country and world. I would not have wanted it any other way. As for the recruiting aspect, there are many companies who rely on recruiting Darden talent each year. These companies visit Darden grounds many times a year for recruiting, speaking, and other networking events. For those companies who do not come to Darden, most are acquainted with our name and talent. These folks are quick to answer phone calls and respond to emails to begin a networking process that ignite recruiting from an "off-grounds" perspective. I am moving to San Francisco, California after graduation and have been delighted by the response I received from California-based companies.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:34:49 PM)
Wilson, we are looking for a range of work experiences in candidates. We are also looking for leadership experience.

Miguel Garcia (Feb 26, 2009 12:35:29 PM)
Arielle: I have decided to postpone my MBA applications until next fall because I would like to gain more experience in my new position. Will there be any admissions changes for 2010 applicants? Also, is there any difference between the Consortium application and the direct Darden application?

Dan (Feb 26, 2009 12:35:37 PM)
Thank you Arielle!

nickpez (Feb 26, 2009 12:36:37 PM)
Cameron and Bill, thank you

Jay (Feb 26, 2009 12:36:53 PM)
Jamal: Are there any opportunities to go to East Africa?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:37:14 PM)
David, we look at all aspects of your work experience, and don't forget, your recommenders will tell us a lot as well - about your potential. None of that is dependent on your firm size or location. Workplace improvement projects and work in the green space can absolutely supplement.

Linda Abraham (Feb 26, 2009 12:37:55 PM)
Sarah -- This is an emailed question: I have completed my Production Engineering from the Pune University, India, in First Class with Distinction (highest grade one can receive). I have progressed from Second class (54%) to Higher Second class (57%) to First Class (60%) to First class with Distinction (68%) in four years of engineering respectively. If you analyze this performance purely in terms of percentage then it may look grim but if you look through grades (First class, etc) it looks progressive and above average. Although the percentage looks lackluster, I was consistently in Top-15 in my class (of 80 students) considering the level of difficulty of course. 1-How does Darden look through such profiles in analyzing the Academic Potential? Do they consider pure percentage or Grades/ class obtained? 2-Should I mention (or explain as done above) the progressive trend in the optional essay?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:37:55 PM)
Miguel - yes, there will be new essays next year and we are moving to a new application system. The Consortium application allows you to apply to multiple schools at once, so it is different from the direct Darden application.

Vishy (Feb 26, 2009 12:38:37 PM)
Hi Arielle: Is age an important factor in recruitment especially for consulting/financial services? Can an experience of 5+ years and age of 30+ be seen as a disadvantage for these careers given that most firms would take people for their MT programs?

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:38:41 PM)
Jay: Right now, I do not believe there are opportunities to go to East Africa. Prior to this year, there was a trip to South Africa, and although that was not planned again for this year, I believe will be coming back next year.

Linda Abraham (Feb 26, 2009 12:38:58 PM)
Bill, Cameron and Jamala, what do you like best at Darden? What would you like to see improved?

Sarah (Feb 26, 2009 12:39:44 PM)
Ok, thank you for the response about the study abroad.

Dan (Feb 26, 2009 12:39:47 PM)
Thanks Sara!

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:40:18 PM)
Linda, in response to the emailed questions- We are always looking for potential in both school and work experience. What you have done toward the end of your tenure is more important than what you did at the beginning. If you are concerned about how something might be perceived - then yes, explain it in the "Additional Comments" section - but use bullet points, don't write another essay.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:40:24 PM)
Vishy, we have people going into these industries at age 25 and at age 35, so I do not think that age is a large factor.

Dan (Feb 26, 2009 12:40:41 PM)
Sara: Although GBE is open to first and second year students, some others are restricted to second year students depending on the location. Why is that? Is it recommendable to take GBE on the second year when one has gained more experience?

BillGrayDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:41:48 PM)
CapeTown_ZA, it's difficult to describe a transformative experience as it transforms so many aspects. Darden has dramatically changed my perspective on business and society. Right now I'm taking a managerial psychology course that has caused me to think about my interpersonal communications in a totally different way. The broad business foundations presented through close to 600 cases over two years has given me a whole different perspective on industries and the role of business in society. From a technical skills perspective, I now know all about journal entries, WACC, CAPM, market segmentation, and all sorts of other great business stuff. More importantly, the case method helped me put all these tools in context so that I know what tool is appropriate for the situation.

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:42:20 PM)
Candidates: The best thing about Darden aside from my classmates is the faculty. They are so dedicated to teaching, I haven't had one  who did not have time to answer my questions. In addition, they seek to know you as a person. I have been to many of their houses for dinner and met their families. Some of our professors even complain that we don't come to them enough!

CameronMillerDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:42:51 PM)
Sam: Ethics is a huge part of the Darden experience. Not only is it woven into the fabric of many class discussions, it is also paramount in the essence of the Honor System that allows students to take all exams on our own time and at home. A sort of silly example is that I left my wallet in a classroom one time only to look in my mailbox where a student had delivered it, everything still inside. I have also left sunglasses in the library,  only to find them at the front desk the next day. Most students keep their bags (with laptops) hanging around the halls because there is no concern that anyone will mess with it. As for the more moral side of ethics, I believe it is present every day in the pro-active arguments and open-minded discussions that happen in and out of the classroom. My classmates challenge me to become a better thinking problem-solver and leader every day - that is why I came here and believe that Darden has prepared me for the many challenges that I will face in my future.

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:42:59 PM)
The only reason some GBEs are restricted is because sometimes the dates overlap with first year exams. Second year exams are completely flexible, so they do not conflict. Also, the second years sometimes fill up the GBEs before first years get a chance. Some students do them in both years - it is a great way to get to know a smaller group of students and faculty in a deeper way.

ThirdRoundApplicant (Feb 26, 2009 12:43:09 PM)
Sara: How are these study abroad locations selected? I have a very specific goal in mind for economies of Eastern Europe. How can I visit that with my fellow students at Darden?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:44:08 PM)
We are committed to having an international loan program for international students, without a U.S. co-signer. Sara Neher recently did two video blogs about this topic. (2nd Video Blog)

lecheman (Feb 26, 2009 12:44:13 PM)
Arielle: How many job opportunities abroad are available at Darden?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:45:52 PM)
3rd Round, the study abroad locations are chosen based on the schools we want to partner with by the Tayloe Murphy International Center. You can find more information online about Tayloe. Our Associate Dean for International Affairs, Peter Rodriguez, directs the strategy there. If you are interested in a school that is not currently a partner, you can talk with Peter about it. There are forms to get it approved and it is not impossible - not as easy as when there is a partnership, but maybe you can help a partnership get started!

SHoward (Feb 26, 2009 12:45:59 PM)
Sara: With the average age of 28, does it hurt your chance of admission if you're slightly closer to 40. How does age weigh in the admissions process?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:47:00 PM)
Lecheman, please review our employment report for stats on where are students have found jobs in the past: There is also an Assistant Director of International Programs and Opportunities in the Career Development Center that helps students find jobs abroad, as well as help international students find jobs in the U.S.

Guest (Feb 26, 2009 12:47:08 PM)
Arielle: Does Darden offer any feedback in case of rejection?

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:47:14 PM)
Linda: To answer the improvement question, I feel that Darden could improve upon the relationship with both the Undergraduate schools and other professional schools. I am currently in a seminar with students from the Medical and Law schools, which I have enjoyed. They bring a whole new perspective. There are not many opportunities such as these and I would like to see more of these in the future.

BillGrayDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:47:34 PM)
Jay, in addition to the structured GBEs and Exchange Student programs, there are several opportunities for independent work abroad. For example, one of my classmates is doing a research project in Africa next quarter. Also, one of my learning team members is just finishing up a Darden business project in a rural Indian city.

CapeTown_ZA (Feb 26, 2009 12:48:01 PM)
Thank you Arielle.

eva (Feb 26, 2009 12:48:20 PM)
To any current student - How expensive is the place to live off-campus?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:48:39 PM)
Gloria, our average GMAT was 693 last year. The breakdowns of the GMAT also matter.

Jenn Ash (Feb 26, 2009 12:48:44 PM)
Arielle: What are your thoughts on the "pre-MBA" programs that Stanford, Chicago, and Vanderbilt offer? These are month long MBA foundation programs that offer classes and overviews in the 9 core areas coupled with lectures. Do you view an applicant with this on their application more positively? Especially if they attend a school as reputable as Stanford or Chicago?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:48:51 PM)
SHoward, age does not matter in the admissions process. What matters is what you have done in your job. The younger you are in your career, the less we will expect you to have done (so you can really blow us away if you have accomplished a lot). Applicants with more experience will have to show us what they have done with that time, why they have been satisfied with where they have been thus far, what they want to do with an MBA at this point. Candidates that are looking for advancement in their current career are often better suited to our part-time program - MBA for Executives.

Gretchen (Feb 26, 2009 12:48:54 PM)
Sara: If you are an engineer, do you think it is necessary to have some courses or experiences in the humanities?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:49:07 PM)
Guest, Darden offers feedback in the summer, if requested.

Lunel (Feb 26, 2009 12:49:25 PM)
Arielle: In reference to studying abroad, are the participants of GBE involved in any case study method competition or have the opportunity to apply their MBA learning in actual companies?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:50:12 PM)
The middle 80% of the Class of 2010 scored between 650-750 on the GMAT.

CameronMillerDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:50:34 PM)
Eva: I think the range is $400 - $800 depending on whether you want to live with roommates or single. There are many different options here - apartments, apartment complexes, lofts, or houses- all for rent. Some folks choose to buy. This is much cheaper than any larger cities in the US.

ThirdRoundApplicant (Feb 26, 2009 12:51:03 PM)
And don't forget: Darden's faculty has consistently been ranked number 1!

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:51:31 PM)
Eva: Cost of living in Charlottesville is much lower than major cities. I live 10 minutes from Darden, so I drive in. I share a 3- bedroom, 3- bathroom  with 2 other Darden students and only pay $525. It's in a new complex, complete with luxury clubhouse.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:51:48 PM)
Lunel, the GBEs involve visits to companies. Case competitions are separate, but there are many opportunities to be involved in these.

Di (Feb 26, 2009 12:52:01 PM)
Arielle: How can a Round 3 applicant stand out from applicants of the previous two rounds? What haven't you seen?  I am not trying to tailor my application to that thought, but would like to know what do the admissions think?

KGY (Feb 26, 2009 12:52:51 PM)
Jamala, Cameron, and Bill: Darden is viewed as an academically rigorous school. Do first year students get enough opportunities to participate extra-curricular activities?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:54:08 PM)
Alex, we recommend visiting Darden while class is in session (September-April). June is a lovely time to visit Charlottesville, but there will not be as much activity on the Darden Grounds since students will be away on internships.

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:54:14 PM)
Di, be yourself. Don't try to stand out from the other rounds - those are done at the point that we will read your file. What I want to know is what you will specifically add to our classroom and to our community. Show me your best!

Arigato (Feb 26, 2009 12:54:19 PM)
Sara: I apologize if this has been discussed earlier. Could you please discuss the waitlist process?

Linda Abraham (Feb 26, 2009 12:54:34 PM)
Please also provide a few tips for waitlisted applicants.

BillGrayDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:54:49 PM)
Gretchen, Jamala and I both have automotive engineering backgrounds. Personally, I had very limited courses in humanities and never took an English class in undergrad. As long as your essays and interviews exhibit some 'humanities' type skills you should be fine. I'm thinking about writing and communication skills in addition to some demonstration of involvement outside of a pure engineering setting (i.e., community involvement, something entrepreneurial, etc.)

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:55:52 PM)
Jenn Ash, Pre-mba programs can be good additions to a file - especially if you have a non-quantitative background/undergrad. However, they are not necessary by any means, and I care more about what you learned than where you learned it.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:56:10 PM)
Arigato, Sara Neher explained the waitlist process on a recent video blog.

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:56:21 PM)
KGY: As a first year, there is an abundance of opportunities to get involved. While first years do not take on leadership roles (President or VP) in many of the clubs, there are elected offices in many (Social Chairs, Liaisons, Student Admissions). In addition, each student section elects their leadership team for their group. Other activities include: Sports clubs, and participating in various club activities.

CameronMillerDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 12:56:50 PM)
KGY: The First Year is rigorous (and highly rewarding)! However, there is definitely time for extra-curricular activities. Darden has sort of a work hard / play hard mentality. There are many clubs that are organizing outdoor, social, and community-outreach opportunities throughout the year. Darden likes well-rounded students who are good at balancing their time and managing their priorities. To this point, most of the students here find time to work and get involved. It is a wonderful community where we all rely on each other to succeed in all endeavors.

Miguel Garcia (Feb 26, 2009 12:57:35 PM)
Arielle, does applying through the Consortium affect one's chances in anyway?

sox (Feb 26, 2009 12:57:46 PM)
Sara: How much weight does the interview hold?

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 12:57:52 PM)
Miguel- No.

Vinicio (Feb 26, 2009 12:58:20 PM)
Students: Hola from Costa Rica. I am applying to the Ph.D. Program. Do the MBA students have any interaction with PhD students? Lessons, events, housemates? Or are these very "different worlds"?

KGY (Feb 26, 2009 12:58:37 PM)
Arielle: What does Darden look for in re-applicants? Are re-applicants viewed differently at Darden?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 1:00:19 PM)
Sox, the interview is certainly important, but one of the main things we are looking for is for it to be consistent with the rest of your application - your essays and recommendations. Is the interview a genuine representation of yourself?

jtk (Feb 26, 2009 1:00:23 PM)
Sara: What does Darden offer in the entrepreneurship realm (both course offerings and exposure to resources for entrepreneurs)? I am interested both in starting businesses and working with investors and startup companies. I do have experience starting, growing, and selling a tech business in addition to (currently) being a Wall St. lawyer, so I have a skill set that I am looking to augment, rather than starting from scratch.

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 1:00:34 PM)
Vinicio: All of our classes are taught by the professors, so we don't have classes with PhD students. The PhD program is a very small program and people only enter once every 4 years so it is a very small community.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 1:00:37 PM)
KCY, for re-applicants, we are looking to see for some area of growth in your application. We evaluate re-applicants with the same criteria as first-time applicants.

Lunel (Feb 26, 2009 1:00:47 PM)
Arielle: In reference to leadership experience, what if a candidate has not progress upwardly work-wise, but has strong, solid, work experience and is actively involved in his or her community, has taken active roles within the community and is looking for the MBA experience to enhance his or her skill set in order to obtain that career upward mobility? How is that applicant viewed by the Adcom?

Sam McIntosh (Feb 26, 2009 1:00:58 PM)
Thanks Cameron.

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 1:01:49 PM)
JTK, please visit our Entrepreneurship@Darden webpage.

KGY (Feb 26, 2009 1:02:39 PM)
Jamala and Bill: I am interested in a consulting career post MBA. What are some of the distinguishing opportunities that Darden provides to students to establish a career in consulting?

Jay (Feb 26, 2009 1:02:42 PM)
Thank you Jamal and Bill Gray!

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 1:03:20 PM)
Lunel, if you have not progressed upwardly work-wise, we will look for leadership and management experience in other areas of your life, such as community involvement.

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 1:03:58 PM)
Jtk, we have tremendous opportunities available in entrepreneurship - both as part of the curriculum and supplemental. The extra pieces are the business case and plan competitions and our incubator. If you already have your idea, you can spend the summer in our incubator, getting paid to work on your own business, rather than in a traditional internship. You will get faculty and alumni advice and the chance to present to our group of angel investors. The possibilities are endless and you join the process at any point in the spectrum. Arielle posted a link to the page on our website that discusses it.

Gloria (Feb 26, 2009 1:04:42 PM)
Arielle: Does taking multiple GMAT matter to the application?

ThirdRoundApplicant (Feb 26, 2009 1:04:56 PM)
Sara: If you have a specific goal in mind in a specific industry, how does a GM degree at Darden supplement that goal?

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 1:05:23 PM)
KGY: I found that the consulting club was excellent for providing opportunities for case practice with both first and second year students. They set up times and rooms for us to sign up and practice with each other. In addition, the career center brought in a professional just to give case interviews and provide feedback. The club also does a good job of bringing in speakers from consulting companies to talk about their jobs, and provide insight to the interview process.

eva (Feb 26, 2009 1:05:50 PM)
Thank you Jamala!

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 1:06:08 PM)
Gloria, if you take the GMAT two or maybe three times, that's fine, but if you take it four or more times, that will draw attention. We will consider your highest GMAT score.

eva (Feb 26, 2009 1:06:13 PM)
Is it possible to stay connected with any current student at Darden for further queries?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 1:06:24 PM)
The important thing to keep in mind about Darden is that the core/required curriculum is just the first year. In the second year, you take 100% electives and can shape a second-year program geared to anything you desire.

BillGrayDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 1:06:38 PM)
KGY, it's everything we get involved in that makes our program rigorous. Academics alone typically account for less than 40 hours of work per week. We tend to be go-getters and therefore fill up our schedules with activities like starting a club, applying to 10 companies, and doing all sorts of other things (i.e., this chat) that seem rigorous as a whole.

nickpez (Feb 26, 2009 1:06:53 PM)
To any of the current students, what type of recreational facilities are available to you on campus, and are they UVA-wide facilities or Darden-specific? Thanks.

CapeTown_ZA (Feb 26, 2009 1:07:18 PM)
Hi Sarah. Do you think the current credit crunch is affecting the school in any way? I'd like to hear your thoughts if you feel an MBA has lost any of its shine due to the turmoil in the global financial markets. Thank you.

Miguel Garcia (Feb 26, 2009 1:07:41 PM)
Thank you Arielle!

CameronMillerDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 1:09:01 PM)
Perf: The Darden Marketing program is focused on two areas - Brand Management and Analytics. Because Darden is a General Management school, we prepare students well for the Brand Management role within large Brand companies like J&J, General Mills, and PepsiCo -- where leadership, management, and analytical skills are highly necessary. As for clubs, we have a strong Marketing Club that helps with career search and preparation as well as networking and social events. We have Sports & Entertainment courses in the second year and there is a Sports & Entertainment Club. We also have alumni who are working for companies like the NFL.

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 1:09:30 PM)
CapeTown, the current crisis is certainly affecting our students and alumni with their personal finances (as it is everyone in the world I think), but it has not affected the school in any way. We have been affected by the drop in the stock market, but not in any way that students will see. We have significant cash reserves and resources to make it through this short-term blip. Plus, having a world-renowned finance professor as your dean couldn't be more perfect at times like this!

KGY (Feb 26, 2009 1:09:36 PM)
Sara, can you give some examples of what sort of contribution you expect from your students in the community?

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 1:10:18 PM)
Nickpez: You have access to all of the gyms and facilities at the University. There is a gym directly next to Darden that many students take advantage of called North Grounds, where there is basketball, racquetball, studios, etc. Also, you can take classes in everything from learning to swim, to break dancing. I am currently taking Tae Kwon Do twice a week at one of the gyms. All facilities are shared with the overall University, but very well equipped.

KGY (Feb 26, 2009 1:10:28 PM)
Sara, are there any tips that you would like to provide for re-applicants?

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 1:10:56 PM)
KGY, review everything and try to improve anything you think could be improved!

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 1:11:18 PM)
Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia with the principle of student self-governance. We do expect a lot from our students - but that is part of our practical education. Students organize and run all of the clubs, activities and conferences and therefore have great, real examples to share in their interviews.

Linda Abraham (Feb 26, 2009 1:11:34 PM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Sara, Arielle, Bill, Cameron and Jamala for joining us today.

We look forward to seeing you at future chats, and here is a list of the upcoming scheduled chats:

Indiana Kelley     March 12, 2009

Waitlist Chat      March 19, 2009

LBS                   March 23, 2009

Cornell Waitlist   March 25, 2009

MIT Waitlist        April 7, 2009

If you would like to automatically receive notices about these MBA admissions chats and other MBA admissions events, please subscribe to our MBA event list. Please check the website for additional details. Have a great day! Good luck with your applications!

SaraNeherDARDEN (Feb 26, 2009 1:12:09 PM)
Thank you all!

JamalaMassenburgDarden (Feb 26, 2009 1:12:18 PM)
Good luck to you all!

ArielleMyhreDarden (Feb 26, 2009 1:12:30 PM)
Thanks everyone!

eva (Feb 26, 2009 1:13:33 PM)
Thank you!

Dan (Feb 26, 2009 1:13:39 PM)
Thank you all!

Linda Abraham (Feb 26, 2009 1:13:46 PM)
You are all most welcome. If you enjoyed the chat- please vote for me - as a Leading Mom in Business in a contest sponsored by StartUp Nation and Ladies Who Launch.

Sarah (Feb 26, 2009 1:13:53 PM)
Thank you - this session was very informative.

ThirdRoundApplicant (Feb 26, 2009 1:13:56 PM)
Thank you!

CapeTown_ZA (Feb 26, 2009 1:13:58 PM)
Thank you all!

Jay (Feb 26, 2009 1:14:29 PM)
Thank you everyone! This chat was very insightful.

Linda Abraham (Feb 26, 2009 1:15:00 PM)
For those who did not receive a response to questions posted today or have further inquiries, Darden has graciously provided two options to submit questions:  Please visit either their Student and Alumni Ambassadors webpage, or pose questions to the Admissions Office through the Darden Admissions News Blog.

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