Virginia Darden MBA Essays: Tips for 2022-2023

University of Virginia Darden School of Business

If you are looking for guidance on how to write successful MBA essays for UVA Darden, you are in the right place. The Darden MBA application can be difficult and time-consuming, but with these tips and tricks, you can be more confident about one of the biggest parts of your application: the MBA essays. This article will cover how to compose Darden MBA essays that will fit the criteria for admissions and hopefully earn you a place in Darden’s graduating class of 2024. 

University of Virginia, Darden is a prestigious business school with renowned faculty and a focus on academic success. Darden wants to admit students who are intelligent, determined, prepared to undertake a rigorous curriculum, and have a strong passion for diversity and inclusion. Further, Darden prioritizes practical problem-solving abilities. Applicants should pay attention to the specific requirements and expectations set out by Darden’s admissions committee when writing Darden essays. Through these MBA essays, applicants have a chance to demonstrate their skills, accomplishments, and personal interests. 

Darden’s Personal Essay

The personal essay is a hallmark of most MBA applications. Writing this genre of MBA essay involves divulging information about the core values, morals, and passions that guide your behavior and motivate your decisions. Darden’s MBA admissions committee wants to know more about the actual people to which they are offering admissions, because each applicant is more than their transcript and resume. 

In personal essays, Darden’s admissions committee wants applicants to provide information about personal relationships, hardships, and other individualizing information. It is important to provide concrete examples to demonstrate how your values have influenced you in different areas of your life. Further, Darden wants applicants to demonstrate leadership skills and articulate their reasons for wanting an MBA at UVA Darden. 

When writing your personal Darden essay, you should keep in mind that the best strategy for approaching this type of essay is being open and letting your personality shine through. Successful personal statements often include an engaging story told with an authentic voice. Therefore, as long as you are true to yourself, your Darden MBA essay will be a success.

Darden’s Career Goals Essay 

The UVA Darden career goals essay provides applicants with a place to let the Darden admissions committee know how the MBA program you want to attend will help you achieve your professional goals. This Darden essay is a great place to explain why Darden is truly the best fit for you. 

It is vital for Darden applicants to have a solid plan for their post-MBA career aspirations. First and foremost, this is because Darden wants its graduates to succeed. However, there are a few selfish motivations for the career goals essay, including the fact that Darden wants to have an impressive employment report and produce graduates who will become donors someday. Further, the Darden admissions committee wants to ensure that applicants have a career plan that plays on their past experiences and thus ensures success. They also want applicants with the foresight to develop an alternate career plan in case their first choice does not work out. 

Other things to keep in mind for this essay is the necessity to have a career goal that is both ambitious and practical. Applicants should have meaningful goals that fit with what is offered at Darden’s MBA program. Along this vein, networking is extremely important when preparing to write your career goals essay. The more you know about the program and how it can help you achieve your personal goals, the better.

Darden’s Behavioral Essay

Behavioral essays involve demonstrating how you have used your leadership skills in real-life situations. This Darden essay gives you a space to identify your morality as a leader and how you might benefit from Darden’s leadership development programs. Darden’s MBA admissions committee wants assurance that you are self-reflective and able to identify a moment in which you have been a leader. 

In the Darden behavioral essay, it is important to be truthful and sincere and to tell your personal story in a compelling manner. You should include as much detail as possible for this type of Darden MBA essay, discussing your role in a situation that required a strong leader. You should reflect on what this situation taught you and how your leadership style might have changed after this experience. UVA Darden is looking for MBA candidates who can contemplate how they used leadership skills to solve a problem. 

In this Darden MBA essay, you might want to reflect on your role on teams in your previous work experience. Further, rather than solely focusing on your leadership successes, it would also be beneficial to identify some failures and explain how you have learned from these less positive experiences.


Applicants to UVA Darden should pay close attention to the specific expectations for each type of Darden essay. Darden also asks participants to write MBA essays providing information about their experiences with diversity and goals for future global travel. Although it may be tempting to look up sample essays and draw from these formats, it is most important to let your personal background guide the construction of your Darden MBA essays. Menlo Coaching can help you throughout your MBA essay writing process, offering one-on-one coaching and exclusive materials.