Contact our general manager with any questions. Profile updated: December 5, 2023.

University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business

  • Darden MBA Profile Image 1
  • UVA Darden's campus in Rosslyn, Virginia, for Executive MBA students

MBA Program Stats

Annual Tuition: $72,060

Annual Tuition Non-Resident: $74,378

Acceptance Rate: 24.4%

Full-Time Enrollment: 352

Average GPA: 3.51

Median GMAT: 710

Median GRE: 322

International: 41%

Minority: 14%

Female: 37%

Male: 63%

Average Age: 28

What You Need To Know

At the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, you’ll find world-class master teachers — arguably the best collection of teaching talent of any business school. The University of Virginia was founded in Charlottesville by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, and Darden was later established in 1955. The school’s mission is to improve the world by inspiring responsible leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences.

Darden’s MBA is a true student-centered experience, with a collaborative environment intended to instill deep learning experience and emotional engagement with peers and faculty. Darden’s main campus in Charlottesville is home to the Full-Time MBA program, with most of their degree programs at UVA Darden DC Metro in Arlington, Virginia.

Academics & Programs

Darden has an enrollment of 352 full-time MBAs in this year’s Class of 2025 – with deliberately small class sizes to make sure the students receive personalized attention. The Darden educational experience, named the best education experience in the U.S. by The Economist for ten years in a row, is best described as high-engagement learning with deliberate yet spontaneous collaborative experiences.

Every class, students analyze ambiguous situations, devising strategies and confronting alternative perspectives, learning about new industries and functions, and absorbing the best practices, from transforming cultures to entering markets to building technology infrastructures.

Make no mistake about it, not only is the program highly engaging but it’s also intensive, sometimes called “high touch, high tone, high octane.” Darden’s first year is equatable to boot camp – they throw more work at MBA students than most other schools by far. In contrast to a lecture-based approach to education, Darden class time is spent discussing an array of case studies regarding actual business problems and potential solutions, all in an environment of mutual support. Darden attracts students who want to be active participants in their education, not passive bystanders.

In the first three quarters of their first year, all Darden students take the same core curriculum, earning a solid foundation in global business and leadership. Beginning the fourth quarter of the first year and throughout the second year, students can customize their experience by choosing from a wide range of elective courses as they explore new ideas and focus on potential specializations. All full-time MBA students take an internship between the first and second year.

The program is ideal for students who don’t wish to limit themselves to a specific concentration but still want the opportunity to specialize. Darden’s curriculum offers a rock-solid foundation with near endless customization on top, meaning students can explore different facets of business without being pegged to just one discipline.

Darden’s application features a series of short essays related to the School’s core values, including questions related to diversity and inclusion, leadership and collaboration. Uniquely, applicants can choose their preferred essays.

Outside of the Darden classroom, students have ample opportunities for growth and networking. They offer more than 100 clubs and organizations where students can hold leadership positions each year to put their skills to the test. Engaging with the global workforce is critical to the Darden experience, and every full-time MBA can take one Darden Worldwide Course and receive a scholarship covering all or most of the program fee. Also, the school’s Global Consulting Projects involve small teams of students in providing consulting services to an international company while working closely with Darden faculty.

Darden students graduate prepared for a lifetime of meaningful work, and recent classes have set records for compensation while starting new careers at top companies.

“Darden did a fantastic job not only preparing us academically but also in pushing us to realize the full value of our most important and most limited resource – time. The nature of the program is such that you must prioritize where to balance schoolwork, networking, and recruiting to do all of them successfully. As any leader can attest, learning where and when to say no – where and when to confirm your priorities – is a crucial skill. Darden facilitates learning that skill in a way that has prepared me to successfully set priorities in my own life now beyond school. Additionally, Darden’s focus on conscientious leadership is, in my opinion, such a critical feature of the curriculum, as the world’s problems have become increasingly complex with implications for human lives at the end of every decision,” says past MBA Tre Tennyson.

Why Students Chose Darden

“I could spend all day talking about this – the school’s unique installations, impressive average post-MBA salary, student-led initiatives, and Charlottesville. I’ll highlight the community, which embraced me from day one. Embarking on a career transition as an international student, I knew the journey wouldn’t be easy and really wanted to have that support network. Also, I sought a place where my wife would feel as welcome as myself – and, for all that, I couldn’t have chosen somewhere better than Darden.” Fernando Matheus Duarte Casarotti (‘24)

“One of the key aspects as I was choosing a business school was a close-knit community. I felt that I would be best able to foster deep connections with my classmates away from a busy city where folks could disappear to on the weekends. Charlottesville would provide a certain level of seclusion for our cohort while also offering numerous vineyards and breweries, scenic views, and plenty of other options for stress relief.” Alyssa Tulabut (‘24)

“Darden’s commitment to creating transformational experiences for its students was important. Darden allows every student to participate in one Darden Worldwide Course (international trek) at no additional fee through its new Batten Foundation Darden Worldwide Scholarship program. This opportunity was very attractive to me given my prior background at a global institution and goal to become an international business leader. Additionally, this commitment was evident during my conversations with current students and alumni. Darden’s heightened focus on its community through events such as the Darden Cup, First Coffee, and support for student-driven organizations leads to strong relationships, unforgettable memories, and enhanced personal growth for its community members.” Devin Waddell (‘24)

“I chose my undergraduate and graduate programs based on the same criterion: a phenomenal education experience. The Economist has ranked Darden #1 for Education Experience ten years in a row. High median starting salaries (and therefore traditional school rankings) weren’t a factor in my decision-making process because they largely don’t apply to the sectors I am most interested in: international development and education. Instead, the primary factors in my decision-making process were: 1) ample opportunity for faculty mentorship; 2) ample opportunity for academic crossover (Partnership for Leaders in Education, Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy); 3) location – can’t wait to be OUT of the city!” Else Droof (‘24)

“I was sold on Darden as soon as I heard that professors and students gather each morning for coffee together, a tradition called ‘First Coffee.’ I’m a New York City native, and love the energy, pace, and competitiveness that’s become a part of my DNA. For my MBA experience, though, I was looking for a true community filled with care and encouragement. As Corey Spera (Darden ’22) generously shared with me during my application process, ‘Don’t underestimate the power of Darden’s structures in building community.’ First Coffee is part of Darden’s larger emphasis on building supportive and transformative structures that foster togetherness. Each step of the Darden experience comes with a team – a Learning Team, a Section – that builds lasting relationships and deepens each of our experiences.” Yonah Greenstein (‘24)

Career Stats

Darden MBA Compensation

Year Average Base Salary Average Signing Bonus
2022 $ 157,090 $ 34,749
2021 $ 144,933 $ 35,488
2020 $ 139,945 $ 33,266
2019 $ 135,168 $ 33,458
2018 $ 127,767 $ 35,430


Industry Choices Of Darden MBAs

Industry Sector 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
Consulting 44% 32% 41% 36% 32%
Consumer Packaged Goods 3% 5% 3% 3% 3%
Energy 1% 1% 1% 1% 2%
Financial Services 25% 26% 19% 24% 26%
Health Care 3% 6% 2% 3% 3%
Legal Services 2% 1%
Manufacturing 3% 4% 3% 4% 4%
Media/Entertainment 1% 1% 1%
Nonprofit 1% 1% 1%
Real Estate 1% 2% 1% 2% 2%
Retail 1% 2% 5% 7% 5%
Technology 14% 19% 20% 15% 18%
Transportation/Logistics Services 1% 1% 1% 1% 3%
Other 3% 1% 1% 2%

Darden MBA Job Offers

Timing of Job   Offer 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
Received Job Offers By Graduation 94% 92% 84% 94% 94%
Received Job Offers 3 Months Post   Graduation 98% 97% 91% 97% 92%

Top Hirers of Darden MBAs

2022 2021 2020
Amazon Accenture Accenture
Bank Of America Amazon Amazon
BCG Bain & Company Bain & Company
Credit Suisse Barclays BCG
Danaher BCG Capital One
Dell Technologies Danaher Deloitte
Deloitte Davita Kidney Care Dell
EY Parthenon Deloitte EY
JP Morgan Chase & Co. EY Parthenon Google
Lazard Goldman Sachs McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company Google Microsoft
Microsoft The Hershey Company Wayfair
Morgan Stanley JP Morgan Chase & Co
Strategy& McKinsey & Co
Wells Fargo Securities Microsoft

Admissions For Darden

Doing good? It’s good business.

Now more than ever, the world needs leaders who harness the power of global business and drive social transformation. We call that purpose-driven leadership.

At Darden, students are encouraged to pursue their purpose – their personal challenge – to develop the modern leader within. Here, ambition and collaboration catalyze each other, and business and purpose belong in the same sentence. The Darden School improves the world by inspiring responsible leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences.

The Full-Time MBA program is perfect for early-career, aspiring leaders ready to take the next leap toward value-based career growth and purpose. During the course of this two-year program based in idyllic Charlottesville, Virginia, students spend their first year working within teams and without lectures. It’s a learning experience that is as deliberate as it is spontaneous as students dive headfirst into a rigorous core curriculum immersed in a case-based learning experience that facilitates learning by doing. The second year allows students to choose electives to deeply engage while honing their leadership voice. Academic and co-curricular opportunities keep the focus on experiential learning and practical application – from consulting projects to seminars to live action cases – students continue to immerse themselves in real-world problems and develop skills to tackle issues in uncertain environments with imperfect information.

One of the hallmarks of the Darden experience in recent years has been the launch of Darden Worldwide Course offerings with every student in the Full-Time MBA program receiving a scholarship covering all or most of the program fee. Darden Worldwide Courses include global immersion courses, global topic courses and global client courses. Recently, these courses have been held in Argentina, Costa Rica, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Spain and Sweden.

Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology

The Batten Institute at UVA Darden seeks to challenge every Darden student to fulfill their entrepreneurial potential. Through relationships, research and resources the institute supports education and experiential learning for students, alumni and others in our community who aspire to grow as leaders. The Batten Scholars program provides scholarships for exceptional students, up to as many as fifteen scholarships are awarded to each incoming class across formats of the Darden MBA.

Essay Questions For Darden

Short Answer 1: Community of Belonging: What would you want your classmates to know about you that is not on your resume? (100 words)

Short Answer 2: Inclusive Impact: Please describe a tangible example that illuminates your experience promoting an inclusive environment and what you would bring to creating a welcoming, global community at Darden. (300 words)

Short Answer 3: Career with Purpose: At this time how would you describe your short-term, post-MBA goal in terms of industry, function, geography, company size and/or mission and how does it align with the long-term vision you have for your career? (200 words)

School Features

Virginia Darden Receives A History-Making Gift, In Two Huge Parts

LaCross family‘s $107M will fund research & instruction in AI and provide seed funding for a new residential college at Darden

Darden MBAs Report Another Record Class Salary In 2023

Darden's average base salary this year is $167,899, up an incredible 24.2% since the MBA Class of 2019

MBA Watch For Darden

MBA Watch is where thousands of MBA applicants not only get to tell their story but have John A. Byrne, MBA admissions coaches and our audience, assess their odds of admission and get help to improve their chances of getting in!

Mr. Strategist

A third-generation engineer of the family, with a very tough upbringing due to many adversities and challenges (both financial and emotional).

Ms. Rocket Engineer

Hello! I work in aerospace as the lead of an engineering team building 21st-century spacecrafts, and pour nearly all my time & energy into doing just that.

Mr. SME Consulting

An allrounder strategic consultant expertising in the mineral and mining industry.

Mr. MBA Class of 2023

2015 graduate of UVA's McIntire School of Commerce.

Mr. Federal Civilian

For the past four years, I've been in an engineering/operations role as a federal government civilian at a large repair facility supporting a branch of the military.

Mr. Intel

2 years spent in Germany as Assistant Intelligence Chief, where my supervisor ranked me in the top 5% of my peers.

Mr. Quality Assurance

I am looking to start business school, ideally online or on weekends, next year following the completion of a 2 year operations leadership program at a top aerospace company.

Mr. Army Aviator

Current Army Helicopter Pilot looking to head to get my MBA upon completing my service obligation in the next few years.

Mr. Liberal Arts Military

Undergrad: Somewhat of an upward GPA trend.

Rankings Data For Darden

Darden MBA Rankings

Ranking Poets&Quants
2023-2024 8
2022-2023 14
2021-2022 14
2020-2021 14
2019-2020 11

MBA Program Consideration Set

If you believe you’re a close match to this school–based on your scores, age and work experience, you could look at these other competitive full-time MBA programs as well. We list them by stretch, match, and more to consider. These options are presented on the basis of brand image and ranking status as a general guideline. These are meant to be a starting point for further exploration.

Partners who enable Poets&Quants to provide, free to our readers, information, inspiration, and greater access to graduate education opportunities.

News Coverage For Darden

2024 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Gaurav Chiplunkar, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

Congrats to Gaurav Chiplunkar, Darden School of Business for being named a 2024 Best 40 Under 40 MBA Professor.

Virginia Darden Receives A History-Making Gift, In Two Huge Parts

LaCross family‘s $107M will fund research & instruction in AI and provide seed funding for a new residential college at Darden

At Virginia, MBA & Football Dreams Come True For This 34-Year-Old Former Marine

After 15 years, Matt Ganyard finally achieved his goal to suit up for a Division I football team. His Darden MBA classmates have his back

MBA Apps Down 4% For Virginia Darden’s MBA Class Of 2025

A school-record 21% of the new Darden MBA class are the first in their families to earn an undergraduate degree

Congrats to Tami Kim of the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia for being named a 2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professor.

2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Tami Kim, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

Congrats to Tami Kim of the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia for being named a 2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professor.