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#20 “Learn How to Lead in Any Industry” – University of Virginia Darden MBA Admissions Q&A with Ms. Katherine Alford

Katherine Alford

“We have the top ranked faculty in the nation. Our faculty not only focus on research and consulting in their industries, but also place a strong emphasis on teaching here at Darden. Our faculty do as much prep work for a class as our students do.”

Sometimes MBA candidates forget how critical faculty are to a great MBA experience. Well, how would you like to have the USA’s top ranked faculty leading you through over 600 case studies? And these faculty having an “open door policy” so you could access them at any time?

Ms. Katherine Alford, Associate Director of Admissions, University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, joined the show to share more about the Darden’s 3 distinguishing factors: its near exclusive use of the case-study method to teach, its top ranked faculty, and its collaborative student community.

With a relatively small cohort of 320 students (for US schools) and focus on class participation, Darden is looking candidates who are ready to share their perspective, ready to get involved, and ready to make an impact.  The school is known to be one of the top general management MBA programs in the world, and strives to give every graduate the skills to go into any industry and lead.

Listen on for the insider’s scoop from Katherine, who attended the University of Virginia as an undergraduate and graduate student, and has been working in Darden admissions for over 4 years.

The Darden MBA in 3 words: case-study, faculty, community.

Darden MBA 150

Touch MBA’s University of Virginia Darden MBA Crib Sheet

Program Highlights (1:18)

  • Darden Business School founded in 1954
  • 1 intake/year in August
  • Length: 21 months
  • Campus in Charlottesville, Virginia, 2 hours from Washington D.C.
  • ~325 participants/intake
  • ~30-35 nationalities/intake, class is ~33% international
  • #1 ranked bschool faculty by Financial Times in 2011 and by Princeton Review 2010
  • Faculty have an “open door policy” so students can easily access them
  • 97% of curriculum is case-study based
  • Partnership with 18 international exchange schools
  • Known as one of the top general management programs in the world
  • Rankings: #35 Financial Times 2013, #10 Bloomberg Businessweek 2012, #3 Economist 2012, #12 US News
  • Accredited by AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS

Admissions (12:41)

  • 3 deadlines, Oct, Jan, and Mar, decisions returned in 2-3 months
  • Apply when you have the strongest application, and earlier because more seats and scholarships are available in Rd 1
  • Int’l students encouraged to apply before ? for visa reasons
  • Avg GMAT: 703 (80% range – 650-740), Avg GPA: 3.48
  • Avg age: 28 (23-33), Avg work experience: 4 (2-7), no min work experience requirement
  • Min TOEFL: n/a, IELTS: n/a
  • US applicants required to interview in Charlottesville by admissions committee or student admissions committee members
  • International applicants can be interviewed by local alumni or admissions committee or student admissions committee members over Skype
  • Looking for candidates with strong English skills, who have a strong understanding of their life and career
  • Looking for candidates who are ready to share their perspective, ready to get involved, and ready to make an impact

Financing (24:17)

  • Full-time MBA Tuition: $112,000 USD
  • 25% of participants awarded scholarships (50% of which have “half tuition” scholarships, the rest are full or 1/3 scholarships)
  • All scholarships are Merit Based – scholarships require no separate forms
  • Int’l students can apply for loans through Darden’s partnership with Discover Bank and receive maximum amount of $65,000 USD

Career (26:44)

  • Virginia MBA – Full-time placement report
  • 94% of graduates had jobs within 3 months of graduation
  • Top 5 regions graduates work in: Northeast US (30%), Mid Atlantic US (20%), West US (11%), South US (11%), International (11%)
  • 14,000 alumni, in over 90 countries
  • Every first year student paired with second year student to help with job searches
  • Student visa allows students to stay in US for 1 year after graduation
  • Ranked 1 for diversity of recruiters by Economist 2012

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