What To Know About The Virginia Darden Interview

The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Photo/Andrew Shurtleff Photography, LLC

What To Know About The Darden Interview

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business ranked number 11 in P&Q’s “Top Business Schools” ranking last year.

Darden is a prestigious b-school with an incredibly talented MBA students (P&Q recently named two UVA Darden grads to our 2020 Best & Brightest MBAs). But what sorts of students does Darden seek out and how can an applicant put their best foot forward when applying?

Stacy Blackman, of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently offered a few tips for how applicants can succeed in the Darden MBA interview.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS KEY

At Darden, interviews are anonymous. This means the interviewer knows nothing about an applicant other than their name and interview time prior to an interview.

While this allows for a fairer approach to interviewing, Blackman says it also highlights the importance of making a strong first impression.

“Ensure your initial interactions with your interviewer—or the person setting up the interview beforehand—via email, by phone, or in-person are favorable and demonstrate your enthusiasm and positive attitude,” Blackman writes.

It’s also important to note that Darden interviews are conversational in nature.

“While you will likely do most of the talking, you should not prepare to deliver an uninterrupted monologue,” according to the Discover Darden Blog. “The best interviews are a dialogue between the applicant and the interviewer.”

CONTEXT, ACTION, RESULT

You’ll want to highlight your leadership experience and global exposure in your Darden interview.

The best way to go about telling your story, according to Blackman, is to answer questions in the C.A.R. format, which stands for Context, Action, and Result.

“As you answer the question, you’ll first summarize the situation, then tell the interviewer what you did, and finally, discuss what happened afterward,” Blackman writes. “Remember to include anything quantifiable—give them the numbers—whenever possible.”

As always, practice is important if you want to put your best foot forward come interview day.

“The school cautions against mistaking its conversational interview approach as a free pass to wing it,” Blackman writes. “You have only about 35 minutes to convey a lot of information about yourself.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Discover Darden Blog

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