June 17, 2019

Darden School of Business MBA Short Essay 3

University of Virginia Darden

Darden Short Essay 3

The Batten Foundation Worldwide Scholarship provides all Darden students in our full-time MBA program with an opportunity to participate in a Darden Worldwide Course. If you could choose any location in the world, where would you want to travel, and why? (50 words)

It’s always fun to talk about travel! But there should be a CLEAR difference between the way you answer this question as an applicant to business school, and the way any random person off the street would answer the question ‘Where would you want to travel, and why?” For example, does traveling to this place connect directly to your business aspirations in some way? Tell us how. If it isn’t directly connected, find a connection to something you’re curious about on a deeper level (spiritually, philosophically, sociologically, etc.) that… indirectly connects to aspects of your business goals!

In other words, say your business goals are to “lead a startup in Silicon Valley that has something to do with pharmaceuticals.” You’ve been dying to visit MONGOLIA for some time now. Does it connect to your pharma goals? Nope. People there you can network with? Nope. But there’s some aspect of the terrain and culture that has always fascinated you. In other words, this trip might make you a better person, which will make you a better leader. Or, this trip will fill out your understanding of how people in a different culture deal with XYZ circumstances which will benefit you in some surprising way ABC. Don’t force this connection. The point is this: your answer should feel SOBER. Thoughtful. Part of some master plan.

Big picture, there are two options:

A Place You’ve ALREADY Been

If you go this route, there’s got to be a reason you want to go back with a group of Darden classmates. Why do you want to do that? This is important… this is the part where most applicants say something they think Darden wants to hear, and that doesn’t work.

So, find that voice in your sub-conscious and um… extinguish it, kindly. Instead, ask yourself, why would you truly, genuinely want to go BACK to Country X with these Darden fools? What do you have to gain from that? It can’t be because you want to share some experience with other people, isn’t that kind of a waste of time FOR YOU, and sort of disingenuous deep down? Sounds weird, but there’s got to be some selfish motive. Figure out what it is, and sell us on it. It doesn’t have to be “serious” and “save the world” worthy. Just needs to be honest. The adcom wants to know what’s motivating you.

A Place You HAVEN’T Been

If this is an “I’ve always wanted to” story, it had BEST include some version of “but I never did it because going by myself or with Crew X wouldn’t be nearly as good as going with team Darden. Darden mates represent the best version and so BAM, SIGN ME THE EFF UP, because here’s what I’d want to get out of it, and boy oh boy am I excited about this opportunity.”

50 words folks. Zip in, zip out, make your point, be matter-of-fact, be honest. If the adcom smells a rat (aka, they detect you’re writing for the benefit of the reader), they will call you out hardcore…

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