Poets&Quants Top Business Schools

University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business


Contact our general manager with any questions. Profile updated: November 25, 2019.

School Data

Annual Tuition: $62,800 In-State; 65,800 Out-of-State

Acceptance Rate: 24.4%

Full-Time Enrollment: 671

Average GPA: 3.5

Median GMAT: 718

GPA Range (mid-80%): 2.1-4.0

International: 31%

Minority: 18%

Female: 38%

Male: 62%

Average Age: 27

Application Deadlines: Early Action: September 3, 2019; Round 1: October 4, 2019; Round 2: January 6, 2020; Round 3: April 6, 2020.

Parsing The Rankings: A quick glance at Darden’s rankings will reveal just how scattered and silly the whole business school rankings game has become. The Economist puts UVA’s Darden School at number three in the world, behind only Chicago and Dartmouth Tuck. Rival British publication, The Financial Times, has Darden at a rank of 32nd in the world. Both results lack any credibility, largely due to the severely flawed methodologies followed by those two lists.

Just as troubling, however, is Darden’s 10-place fall in last year’s newly revamped Bloomberg Businessweek ranking. The school plunged to 20th place in 2014 from 10th in 2012 in what had been a biennial ranking (BW changed to an annual ranking effective this year). Of course, nothing of substance changed about the Darden program in the two years between the two rankings. What did change was Businessweek‘s methodology. The magazine overhauled its system of ranking schools and the changes severely biased its results. Among the alternations, BW for the first time allowed alumni recruiters to rank the schools they graduated from. Not surprisingly, schools that had more recruiters who returned to their old campus simply did better in the ranking than those that didn’t. It all led to truly wacky results, even allowing Duke University’s Fuqua School to finish in first place.

We would throw all those results out and look more closely at U.S. News, which ranks schools on a variety of measures, such as GMAT, GPA, acceptance rates, starting pay and employment, that more truly judge the quality of an MBA program. Over the past five years, Darden has done well by U.S. News, moving to 10th in 2015 from 13th in 2011. Of course, the school’s best showing comes from U.S. News and you can’t completely discount the noise from the other surveys.

Forbes, which ranks schools solely on the basis of their MBA program’s return on investment, put Darden 15th best in the U.S. P&Q, which is a composite look at the five most influential rankings, has Darden at 13th. In effect, the high Economist ranking and the low FT showing–both clearly statistical or methodological anomalies–cancel each other out. We think that 13th is a relatively fair assessment of this world class MBA experience which boasts the best and most consistent teaching quality of any program.

Payscale Estimate of Total Pay over a 20-Year Career: $2,705,000

Darden’s Class of 2015 was among the most highly compensated MBAs in the world. The average starting salary and bonus was $136,474, up 14.4$ from $119,278 five years earlier. The 2015 pay numbers make Darden MBAs the 11th highest paid graduates out of U.S. business schools,  with Chicago Booth and Duke Fuqua just ahead of the school’s graduates and Northwestern Kellogg, NYU Stern just below the Darden numbers. In the pay sweepstakes, UVA is behind only two other public university business schools: UC-Berkeley, whose MBAs got $140,935, and Michigan Ross, whose grads took home $140,497 to start in 2015. The highest paid MBAs of the years were at Harvard where the average base and bonus was $144,750.

And when it came to employment, Darden did even better. Some 94% of the Class of 2015 had jobs three months after graduation. That was seventh best among the top 25 U.S. MBA programs, with Wharton, Emory, and Dartmouth Tuck just slightly higher.

Contact Information

100 Darden Boulevard
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Admissions Office:
School Social Media:

University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden is ranked the No. 9 MBA program in the U.S. in Bloomberg Businessweek’s Best B-Schools 2018. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Your why — your personal challenge — is how the Darden School develops modern leaders. At Darden, you’ll learn how to leverage the power of business to create value based on your values. You’ll put your “why” to work as the Darden MBA develops the leader in you, pushing your mission toward professional reward.

The Ultimate Education Experience

What makes the Darden experience the world’s best? It’s a combination of transformational ‘a-ha’ moments in the classroom, supportive faculty and staff, the close community spirit, the active student life, the responsive alumni network, strong links to global business, and a storied history of developing leaders — all within the University of Virginia’s stunning Grounds in Charlottesville, one of the cities with the best quality of life in the United States.

Active Learning Approach

Darden’s case study method, simulations and experiential activities immerse you in real-world business challenges and put you in the role of the decision maker. In a supportive environment guided by the world’s best teachers, you will gain new knowledge and skills, fine-tune your strengths, challenge your way of thinking, and prepare you and your organization to lead at the next level.

Prepared for Business

A Darden education is an investment in yourself and your organization. Through Darden’s high-engagement learning process, you will master the best business tools and concepts. You will gain the skills needed to be an agile decision-maker who is ready to face the toughest business challenges. Every aspect of the Darden experience is designed to help you grow as...

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