Darden School of Business campus
Image from University of Virginia

UVA MBA Acceptance Rate + How To Get In Guide (2024)

February 13, 2024
image of black dots
Part 1. IntroductionDarden School of Business Acceptance Rate: 13.4%Darden School of Business Admissions StatisticsWhat is Darden School of Business Looking For In Applicants?Darden School of Business Admissions Requirements How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Darden School of BusinessDarden School of Business Essay PromptsDarden School of Business InterviewFAQs

The University of Virginia (UVA) has long been recognized as one of the top MBA programs in the United States. Located in the north grounds UVA has an MBA program called the Darden School of Business, which was founded in 1955 and named after the state's 54th governor, Colgate Whitehead Darden Jr. 

Known for its world-class faculty, ranked number 1 for the fourth year in a row, UVA offers students a unique educational experience and global courses. This article will help you learn more about how to get into UVA including the UVA MBA acceptance rate to accelerate your professional and academic career.

Darden School of Business - 13.4% Acceptance Rate

The Darden MBA acceptance rate is quite low at 13.4%, which has fallen in the last couple of years. As one of the hardest MBA schools to get into, you’ll want to craft a stellar application to increase your chances of admission.

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Acceptance Rate
2023 16,196 2,182 13.4%
2022 16,462 2,123 12.8%
2021 15,993 2,620 16.3%

How Hard is it to Get Into Darden School of Business?

Getting into Virginia (Darden) proves quite difficult as only 13.4% make the cut. The UVA MBA acceptance rate has fallen from 16.3% in 2021, meaning you’ll have to excel at the application portion for a chance to acquire your MBA at UVA.

Darden School of Business Admissions Statistics

To even be considered an option for the admissions department at UVA, you’ll want to have a stellar Darden MBA class profile and aim high for the Darden MBA ranking. This includes achieving high academic scores on your GPA, GRE, and GMAT exams. Here’s what the average for each at UVA is.

Darden School of Business Average GPA: 3.51

Darden’s average GPA is 3.51, but you should aim for a higher score to impress the admissions department. While a 3.51 GPA is not impossible, it can prove quite difficult.

Darden School of Business Average GMAT Score: 716

For the combined GMAT score, you want to aim for higher than 716 to improve your chances of admission. Aiming for above-average will push your application from the middle of the pack to the top.

Darden School of Business Average GRE Score: 321

The average GRE score at UVA is a near-perfect 321. However, like with the previous scores, you should aim for an even higher score to improve your chances. Make sure you study hard for the GRE before your exam!

Darden School of Business Average Work Experience: 5.9

With almost an average of six years of work experience, applying to Darden’s MBA business program should be viewed as an intermediate stage of your career development. You’ll want to have worked for around six years in the business industry to perfectly tailor your application to Darden’s school.

What is the Darden School of Business Looking for In Applicants?

Darden is looking for students who can demonstrate soft business skills like persuasion, communication, and managing interpersonal relationships. As a highly competitive school, Darden wants to know from your MBA profile why you’re interested in enrolling in their MBA program.

Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Rigor of secondary school record X
Class rank X
Academic GPA X
Standardized test scores X
Application essay X
Recommendation(s) X

Non-Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Interview X
Extracurricular activities X
Talent/ability X
Character/personal qualities X
First generation X
Alumni/ae relation X
Geographical residence X
State residency X
Religious affiliation/commitment X
Racial/ethnic status X
Volunteer work X
Work experience X
Level of applicant’s interest X

Darden School of Business Admission Requirements

During your Darden MBA application, you will need to submit:

Darden School of Business Application Deadlines

As you get ready to apply for Darden, multiple rounds encompass regular decision as well as one deadline for Early Action. We recommend applying for Early Action if you’re confident that Darden is your top school of choice.

Application Step Application Deadline Admissions Decision
Early Action September 7, 2023 October 18, 2023
Round 1 October 4, 2023 December 6, 2023
Round 2 January 4, 2024 March 13, 2024
Round 3 April 3, 2024 May 1, 2024

Darden School of Business Early Action Deadline

If you want early admission to Darden, the Early Action deadline is September 7. By applying early, you will find out by October 18 if you’ve been accepted, which gives you more options for your college education. 

Darden School of Business Regular Decision Deadline

The deadline for getting into Darden is October 4, which encompasses the first round. After that, you’ll have two other rounds that have a deadline of January 4 and April 3.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Darden School of Business

male student working on laptop outside

With a 13.4% UVA MBA acceptance rate that’s been decreasing in the past two years, getting into the UVA Darden School of Business for an MBA program is a competitive process. Thankfully, we’ve got some expert tips for you to maximize your application.

1. Understand Darden's Special Approach

Darden is known for its case method approach to teaching. Demonstrate in your application that you not only understand this methodology but also thrive in it. Discuss how your past experiences align with and benefit from this interactive learning style.

2. Highlight Teamwork and Collaboration

Darden places a strong emphasis on teamwork and collaboration. Share specific examples from your professional and personal life that showcase your ability to work effectively in a team. Discuss your contributions and how you value diverse perspectives.

3. Connect with Alumni and Current Students

Reach out to current students and alumni through networking events, LinkedIn, or alumni databases. Gain insights into their experiences, the Darden community, and how the program has influenced their careers. Mention these interactions in your application to show genuine interest.

4. Articulate Your Career Goals Clearly

Clearly outline your short-term and long-term career goals and explain how Darden's MBA program is essential for achieving them. Show that you've thoroughly researched the specific resources, courses, and opportunities at Darden that align with your aspirations.

5. Demonstrate Leadership with Impact

Showcase instances where you demonstrated leadership skills and made a significant impact. Use specific, quantifiable achievements to highlight your leadership abilities. Darden values applicants who can contribute meaningfully to the community.

6. Emphasize Quantitative Skills

Darden places importance on analytical and quantitative skills. Highlight your proficiency in data analysis, finance, and any other relevant quantitative areas. Discuss how these skills will contribute to your success in the MBA program and beyond.

7. Address Your Special Contribution to the Class

Explain what unique perspective or experience you bring to the Darden community. Darden values diversity, so if you have a background, perspective, or skill set that differs from the typical applicant, make sure to emphasize how it will add to the class.

8. Customize Essays and Recommendations

Tailor your essays and recommendations specifically for Darden. Avoid generic responses that could apply to any business school. Reference specific programs, professors, or aspects of the Darden experience that resonate with you.

9. Visit the Campus and Attend Events

If possible, visit the Darden campus to get a firsthand experience. Attend information sessions, campus tours, and other events to interact with current students and admissions staff. Mention your visit in your application to show your initiative.

10. Highlight Global Perspective

Emphasize your global mindset and experiences. Darden values applicants who can bring an international perspective to the program. Discuss any global projects you've worked on or international exposure you've had in your career.

Darden School of Business Essay Prompts

male student on laptop holding paperl

Darden School of Business guides applicants through three different writing prompts. The challenge within the Darden MBA essays is the constrained word count, with one essay limited to just 100 words. As a seasoned business professional, mastering succinct persuasion is critical, and Darden's emphasis on brevity in the application process sets the stage for future success. The essay prompts are as follows:

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

Darden School of Business Interview

Interviews play an integral part of the application process at Darden as this is when they really get a sense of who you are. In this stage, be as authentic as possible and avoid telling a story you think they want to hear. Consider writing a letter of intent after your interview to bolster your application even further.

If you’re applying through Early Action, you may schedule your interview from August through September. However, if you’ve decided to apply through Rounds 1, 2, or 3, then you’ll be contacted by invite-only. 

How to Apply for the Darden School of Business Interview

Getting an interview at Darden is an essential step in the MBA application process. Here are some tips to help you prepare for and succeed in your Darden interview:

1. Understand the Darden Interview Format

Darden typically conducts interviews in two formats: in-person and online. Make sure to get familiar with the format you'll be using and ensure you have the necessary technology for a virtual interview.

2. Know Your Application Thoroughly

Be prepared to discuss the details of your application, including your resume, essays, and any other submitted materials. The interviewer may ask specific questions about your experiences, achievements, and goals.

3. Familiarize Yourself With Darden's Interview Style

Darden's interviews often involve case-like questions and a discussion of your thought process. Practice answering questions that assess your problem-solving abilities and decision-making skills. Familiarize yourself with the case method used in Darden's classrooms.

4. Be Ready for Behavioral Questions

Expect questions about your past behavior and experiences. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses. Be specific and highlight your achievements and contributions.

5. Demonstrate Your Fit with Darden's Culture

Darden places a strong emphasis on community and collaborative learning. Showcase your ability to work well in a team and contribute positively to the academic environment. Be ready to discuss how you will contribute to the Darden community.

6. Prepare Questions for the Interviewer

Have insightful questions prepared for the interviewer. This demonstrates your genuine interest in the program and your proactive approach. Avoid asking questions that can be easily answered through basic research.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

Conduct mock interviews with friends, family, or career advisors to practice articulating your responses clearly and concisely. Pay attention to your body language, tone, and pacing.

8. Stay Updated on Current Events

Be aware of current events and trends in the business world. Darden may ask for your opinions on recent developments or how they could impact your chosen industry.

9. Review Your Career Goals

Revisit and refine your short-term and long-term career goals. Be prepared to discuss how Darden's program specifically aligns with your aspirations and why it is the right place for you to achieve them.

10. Express Enthusiasm and Confidence

Show genuine enthusiasm for Darden and confidence in your abilities despite the low UVA MBA acceptance rate. Express why you are excited about the prospect of joining Darden's MBA program and contributing to its community.


Darden is among the best MBA schools in the US, so you may still have some questions about applying to this school. Below, we aim to answer any outlying questions not covered in the previous sections.

What MBA Formats Does Darden Offer?

Darden offers a full-time, 2-year MBA program, an Executive MBA program, that allows you to earn the Darden MBA while advancing in your career, and a global executive MBA. 

Does Darden Have Research Centers?

Yes, Darden School of Business has a series of research centers concerned with unique aspects of the business world. Some of them include the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability (ARCS), the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Center for Global Initiatives, and the Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics

Does Darden accept transfer credits?

No, Darden School of Business does not accept transfer credits. 

Is It Possible To Work Part-Time While Enrolled In The Full-Time Mba?

The MBA at Darden is a vigorous full-time program and does not leave enough time for a part-time job. The typical day for students tends to begin at 8 a.m. and end later on in the evenings with learning team meetings. Hours that are not scheduled are used to prepare for cases, club meetings, and the like. If you are interested in having a more flexible schedule that will allow you to work while pursuing the MBA, consider Darden's Executive MBA Formats

Does Darden Offer Any Global Opportunities?

Yes, Darden connects with nearly 80 different countries every year through visits and various academic and consulting programs. Students are also expected to have at least one global learning opportunity experience during their time at Darden.

What Does a Typical Day for a First-Year Student Look Like?

Typically, the average schedule for a first-year student at Darden School of Business will follow this format:

8:00 a.m.–9:25 a.m. First Class

9:25 a.m.–10:00 a.m. First Coffee

10:00 a.m.–11:25 a.m. Second Class

11:25 a.m.–11:45 a.m. Break

11:45 a.m.–1:10 p.m. Third Class

1:10 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Lunch, school events/activities, meetings, briefings, etc

7:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Learning Team (times vary by team)

Final Thoughts

Though it may seem harrowing to apply to a school as prestigious and competitive as Darden School of Business, becoming familiar with their application process and having a good grasp of the UVA MBA acceptance rate can help you submit a strong application. When completing your application, you must understand who you are and what you want to gain from attending Darden. 

Ensure that your values align with those of the institution, such as hard work, collaboration, and hands-on learning. Applying early, preferably within the first two rounds, will help ease the application process. Doing so will give you ample time to self-reflect and review your application to make sure it is the best representation of who you are and who you hope to become.

About Inspira Futures

At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.
Get Free Consultation

Schedule A Free Consultation

Plan Smart. Execute Strong. Get Into Your Dream School.
image of black dots

You May Also Like