Virginia’s Darden School of Business

by John A. Byrne on

University of Virginia

13. Darden School of Business

100 Darden Boulevard

Charlottesville, VA 22903

Admissions: 434-924-7281



Apply Online:

Admission Deadlines for Class of 2017:

Round One: 10/10/14

Round Two: 1/7/15

Round Three: 1/1/15

World-class master teachers, arguably the best collection of teaching talent at any business school in the world. Case studies, some 600 of them over the two-year MBA experience. A rigid lockstep first year program where students are divided up into cohorts of 60 students each and together endure an incredibly heavy amount of work thrown at them. An intimate and highly collaborative culture where students genuinely care about each other’s success. And a total enterprise perspective brought to bear on all business challenges and problems.

That’s the mix of things that makes Darden virtually unique among the world’s leading business schools. This is one of the very few premium MBA experiences left in the market, a program that largely revolves around full-time MBA students. No business undergraduates. No part-time evening students. That means the vast amount of the school’s resources are lavished on its relatively small MBA population. Yes, there are two Executive MBA programs and a fairly complete menu of executive education courses that the faculty have to attend to. But Darden keeps the focus on its flagship MBA program.

if you’re sold on case method teaching and you can’t get into Harvard, Darden may well be your next best bet. The sonly rivals to Darden’s teachers are the profs in the classrooms at Harvard and Dartmouth’s Tuck School. In contrast to a lecture-based approach to education, Darden class time is spent discussing cases about actual business problems and potential solutions. Students are exposed to some 600 cases in a variety of industries and functions during their time at Darden. Make no mistake about it: Darden’s first year is like a true boot camp. It throws more work at MBA students than most other schools by far. Even a recent McKinsey analyst who worked horrendously long hours as a consultant for the firm before coming to Darden was surprised by how heavy the workload is.

Dean Robert Bruner calls it “high-engagement” learning. “This is not a passive learning experience,” he says. “It’s not two years spent in a lecture hall, taking notes, and occasionally writing exams,” says the dean. “Every day and every class, you’re in the mix; you’re engaged in discussion, presenting ideas, defending ideas, and providing recommendations.”

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  • Bruce Vann

    4 Cases a day is a lot of work. I can’t imagine.

  • Mick

    I visited Darden last month. WOW. great BS!, great faculty, great people.
    Love it and hope to get in.

  • John A. Byrne

    Good luck, Mick.

  • bschool2013
  • Bruce Vann

    Correction. I can imagine because that’s probably where I’ll be going this fall unless Tuck takes me off the waitlist.

  • Mick

    I’m IN. I’m so happy that I got accepted in this great school.
    C-Ville, here I go!

  • Bruce Vann

    Congrats, Mick. I’ll see you there!!

  • John A. Byrne

    Congrats Mick! You’re going to a fantastic school. Well done.

  • Frequent Reader

    12 is a sham. Darden should clearly be ranked higher.

  • Central Banker

    Dear John,
    I was viewing Duke’s profile on this website last night and found a comment by you saying that you are in the process of writing an article about Duke VS Darden. I just viewed GMAT Club’s threads on the two schools head to head, and I gotta tell ya, not so much useful information there, especially compared to the smakdown articles you write. I very much appreciated the article about Northwestern VS Chicago, and I’m dying to get your two cents on Duke VS Darden. Will it be published anytime soon???

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