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Darden Sample Essays

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Essay 1: Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? (500 word limit)

Essay 2: Each of our applicants is unique. Describe how your background, values, education, activities and/or leadership skills will enhance the experience of other Darden students. (500 word limit)

Essay 3: Describe a significant maturing experience (250 words)

Essay 1:

Experimentation work during college enabled me to put my ideas into practice and gave me a tremendous sense of fulfillment. Moreover, various responsibilities, roles and projects in the past two years at Company ABC have made my product engineering fundamentals very strong.

My technical prowess and vision was appreciated by Company ABC and I got a steep career growth in a short span. While working intensively in IT and dealing with all aspects of project implementation, I began to realize my need for formal education in business administration. I look at a senior position in a global product/services company as my short term goal. This position will help me learn how to resolve practical issues, develop business plans, formulate strategies and identify new markets. It will also provide me great knowledge about marketing, customer acquisition and retention and brand management.

As a long haul I see myself heading my own product enterprise and turning my ideas into action. I envisage an enterprise which would tap unique user requirements and develop cutting edge software products for individuals and businesses .

I am confident that I have the potential to succeed as an entrepreneur. I have accumulated useful knowledge, managerial ability, analytical skills, and communication skills through my experience at Company ABC. I am responsible, inquisitive and aggressive. I hold several critical positions, such as Company ABC’s link to Apple and represent Company ABC at international conferences. I have filed a patent that will give Company ABC a strong business edge over its competitors.

Although I am confident in my ability to start a successful venture company, but I know that working in my present role I would require experience of years to steer my organization and even experience of many years might not be enough because I will be learning about only one aspect of business i.e. Product Engineering .  An education in business administration can help me take a jump start and move towards achievement of my eventual ambition.  I cannot accomplish my goal without meeting three preliminary objectives. First, I must develop a concrete business plan. Second, I need to attract creative and talented people to work with me. Finally, in order to reduce the risk of entrepreneurship, I should study entrepreneurial management and related fields such as venture financing. To run a business, I need to better understand the executive’ s viewpoint in today’ s corporate environment. My business venture “” gave me an excellent opportunity to understand the car buying practices, market and competition in India. But I feel that I have just scratched the surface.

Post MBA, I will seek a position in a leading corporation in its business building/growth practice to get an insight into the practical issues of new business creation. I am confident that my work experience, the product engineering skills that I have developed and the networks that I have established at Company ABC , combined with the wisdom and business acumen to be gained during my MBA course, will put me on the path of spearheading my company.

Essay 2:

I have consciously endeavored to grow positively as a person with each passing day. I am a person of varied interests, ranging from the technical research (papers) to the business (website and Company ABC products) to the artistic (painting) to the altruistic (community service). I always integrate my diverse interests so that my skills and activities complement each other. My self-conviction and ability to make powerful determinations has facilitated my journey from a humble beginning to a successful professional life.

I’m all about possibility rather than subscribing to a rigid set of values. Therefore no matter how daunting the situation might be, I am able define a clear roadmap. My ‘out of box’ thinking has made me accomplish more within a specified time period as compared to other people. I have already filed one patent and another is under process. I have ingrained thought leadership at Company ABC and developed an ability to make existing workflows more efficient. I have been involved in novel ideas generation and research with two of my research papers published by organizations like IEEE. With my research and product engineering fundamentals I will provide a good learning experience to other Darden students.

I’m the person friends turn to when the going gets rough. I have grown in a joint-family of 22 people and sustaining relationship has come to me naturally. Throughout my academic, professional and community life, I have made friends for life. I have been associated with ‘Missionaries of Charity’ for more than 3 years now. My constant exposure to new cultures and people and my good communication and presentation skills have made me a good team player. As I believe that there is no alternative to honesty and hard work, I have always worked honestly and diligently to realize my ambitions. I was a merit scholarship holder throughout my under graduate engineering program and a mathematics scholar.

I believe my ideas, my focus and diligence, my technical prowess and interaction with people from diverse background will add a lot of value to the Darden community.

I have learned the art of schmoozing and networking over the years with my business trips to Europe, USA and Hong Kong. This ability will help me forge long term relationships with the Darden community and participate in each other’s progress.

I am from a business family and have a keen sense of entrepreneurship and an ability to identify business opportunities. I consider my “out-of-box” thinking capability as my key distinctive trait. Realizing the potential of integration of the web and the Indian Car Market, I launched a website called to provide the Indian customer a centralized place for news, reviews, information, and consultancy about Indian Cars. I will share this rich experience with my peers at Darden and continue to explore similar entrepreneurial ideas. My passionate and innovative attitude to nourish a nascent idea into a business model is infectious and I firmly believe that it will create an environment fertile for creative thinking at Darden.

Essay 3 :

During the final year of my B.E. course, I started to work on the idea of a real estate website targeting Delhi. Although the resources were limited, I created some interesting layouts and workflows. While I was planning to launch it, I came in contact with some experienced people in this domain and realized that I had made some grave mistakes. For instance, I overlooked signing agreements with real estate agents for procuring updated market information from them. In real estate business, without latest deals and information, it is impossible to establish a solid customer base. Lack of advertising and in-depth study of existing real estate websites exacerbated the problem.

Soon I found myself standing at a dead end. It was clear that I needed to fold this project. However, closing this chapter allowed me to open a new one.  My mistakes were costly but they actually allowed me to refine my understanding of the market, competition, and advertisement. It was a great maturing experience and the benefit was mine, in the end.

In early 2006, I started working on a car website, to provide potential car buyers with unbiased information, reviews and expert opinions on cars in India. I divided the venture into four phases. The first phase encompassed an analysis of the Indian car market and car buyer’s practices and reviewing car manufacturers’ websites. The second phase included design implementation. In phase three, I gathered market feedback through demos of the site's prototype. The final phase involved feedback-based revisions to the designs and simultaneous talks with car magazines and TV shows. I successfully launched the website “” and its doing great.  Recently, a leading Indian car magazine evinced interest for collaboration with the website.