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Getting In


Fit for Israelis

Increasing your chances

The Darden Israel Grant

Paying for it

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Fit for Israelis

When choosing an MBA program, there are many things applicants need to look at to find the right fit for them: which teaching method is used – case based or lecture? Is it a small program or large one? Is it focused only a certain disciplines or does it strive to give you a well-rounded education? Where is it located? If you’re moving with your family, what is the best place for them? And many more.  This is even more accentuated when you move from another country and would like to make the best decision.


Darden is an exceptional and rigorous MBA program that provides students with life-long skills, experiences, and networks.  For Israelis, going to Darden is an opportunity to get completely immersed in their MBA experience thanks to the small and close-knit class. Also, for any international student, the case method — which requires students to participate regularly in class and in learning team — is an excellent opportunity to become closely familiar with the US business culture, and improve their communications and public speaking skills by presenting and participating in class on a daily basis.


The leadership focus at Darden is a great way to ensure you not only get the best technical skills in your desired field (finance, consulting, operations, marketing, general management, etc.), but also that you always know how different decisions will affect the entire organization.




While there are many things that set Israeli candidates apart, there are a few unique characteristics that we feel distinguish and differentiate Israeli candidates from other applicants, and we encourage Israelis to emphasize these experiences where relevant:


- Military service – the maturity, sense of responsibility, teamwork and leadership skills that are developed in the military are unparalleled. The fact that these skills are gained at a relatively young age before the individual has any work experience, provides excellent preparation for success in a future career. 


- Global exposure – growing up in a small country, Israelis are substantially more exposed to other countries, whether it be through the media, or through personal travel experience. Israelis often times possess a far greater exposure and understanding of different cultures, a quality that in today’s global market, is crucial. 


- Entrepreneurship & innovation – while Israelis are often humorously quoted as “knowing how to get out of situations that others would never have gotten themselves into” – and we all know this sometimes is true. This “backhanded compliment” still underscores the ingenuity and innovation that manifests itself in the Israeli economy and its contributions to the global economy at a rate that far exceeds any other country’s per capital contributions.


Israeli students at Darden develop life-long friendships with classmates, and the Israeli Alumni form a very strong community within the larger Alumni network. For an Israeli student, living in Charlottesville for two years in an excellent way enjoy your MBA in a beautiful setting and get know new facets of the U.S. outside of the bustle of big cities (where you are likely to end up after graduation).


Israeli Darden alumni hold key positions in a variety of fields and functions, including consulting, investment banking, private equity, technology, industrials, bio-tech, and more. After graduation, Israeli Darden alumni typically find jobs in larger metropolitan areas. The largest concentration of Israeli Darden Alumni is currently in the New York area, though several alums are in other cities in the US and the world.


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Increasing your chances of admission

Darden looks for well-rounded applicants who will contribute to the experience in the classroom and outside of it. The school aims to attract the most suitable applicants who will enrich class and learning team discussions with their unique experiences, who will be active members of the Darden community, and who will continue their strong relationship with the school as alumni throughout their careers.


For us, the alumni and current students, when we talk to a new candidate, the first thing that comes to our mind is: “would I want to sit next to this person in class or in learning team every day for two years? Would I be able to have a nice interesting conversation with this person over dinner or drinks?” If the answer is yes, we know we have a good fit. Of course the admissions committee will look at a number of additional factors: academic capacity, work experience, leadership potential, career goals, and more, but a good cultural fit is what ultimately makes Darden the amazing place that it is.


Darden is a unique MBA program, and looks for candidates who would be a good fit for the school.  Here are some tips that can help you in your application:


1. Do your research. if you’re considering an MBA in the U.S. make sure you do your homework: read through the Darden materials (website, viewbook, etc.), and look for publications that provide information about getting an MBA in the U.S. (there are various websites and books that can help).  Also, sign up for MBA discussion forums, and try to find MBA informational events in your area. Make sure you understand the differences between MBA programs before you apply, and find the ones that are the most suitable for your personality, preferences, career and personal goals, and more.


2. Talk to Alumni and current students. One of the best things you can do is reach out to Alumni and current students and ask questions about the school. Alumni and students are generally happy to share their stories with prospective applicants. This will not only give you first-hand accounts on what it’s like to go to Darden, but also will help you better understand what the school is looking for in your application.  Finally, by talking to Alumni and students from various schools you’ll get a better sense of which schools you’d feel the most comfortable in, and which of the people you talked to you’d enjoy spending time with in the classroom or in social gatherings.  During the two years of your MBA you will spend countless hours with your fellow students, so make sure you choose the program with the students you will get along with best.


3. Visit Darden and other schools: while the cost of flying from Israel to visit U.S. business schools seems high, it is a small fraction of what you will spend on your MBA. Visit all the schools you’re interested in, to make sure they are really right for you — before you commit to two years and over $100,000 in expenses. You probably wouldn’t buy a house without seeing it first, nor should you choose an MBA program that way. Also, nothing tells the admissions committee that you’re seriously interested in the school more than visiting Charlottesville, sitting in class, and talking to current students and faculty.


4. Demonstrate Fit. In your application, demonstrate that you know what Darden is all about and why it is the right choice for you.


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Dress code for visits and interviews:


1. when you come to Darden for a scheduled visit or are invited for an interview, it is advisable to wear proper business attire, i.e. a suit, tie, clean pressed collar shirt, and proper clean/shined business shoes for men, and business attire for women. A dark charcoal-gray or navy suit is generally best for men (do not wear a black suit, since these are usually worn at formal events like weddings and receptions, not business meetings). Avoid overly loud colors or designs, and leave your white sports socks or bright cartoon character socks at home (wear socks that match your pant color). The same applies for a tie: wear a nice tie, but not one that will take away the attention from you because of its creative design. Also, make sure you’re clean-shaven (unless you normally don a well-groomed beard). Finally, it is recommended that your shoes, belt, and leather watch-strap be the same color (unless you wear a metallic watch which can go with any leather color). Since Israel has a very casual culture, some applicants may not have a full set of proper interview attire. If this is the case for you, it’s advisable to aquire the missing items, since you will certainly need them during your MBA. Just make sure you buy items that are considered appropriate business attire in the US (for example some designs that are popular in Europe may be considered over-the-top in the US).


2. If the interview takes place in Israel, the attire can be more towards Business Casual: wear dress pants (nice khakis can also do, but stay away from cargo pants!), clean pressed collar shirt, and proper clean/shined business shoes for men.


3. Interviews are always in English, regardless of where they take place, so make sure you’re ready for that.


4. After the interview, send a short thank-you email or note to your interviewer and to other people you’ve interacted with during your visit.


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Paying for my Darden MBA

The are a number of ways to help pay for your Darden MBA:


1. Student Loan info: all Darden students, no matter from which country, are automatically qualified for a loan covering all academic and living expenses. To learn more visit the Darden website. Alumni typically finish paying back these loans within a few years of graduating, though if they so choose, they can  pay them back over a period of up to 15 years.


2. The Darden-Israel Grant: This grant was established and funded by Israeli alumni, with the purpose of financially assisting Israeli applicants admitted to Darden. For more information click here.


3. Other grants and scholarships: there are various grants and scholarships available from Darden and from the University of Virginia itself to which international students are eligible to apply. Some Israeli students have received those grants in the past. More info can be found in the Darden Financial Aid website.


4. Internships: Darden students typically get a summer internship between 1st and 2nd year, to practice the skills they acquired during the year, and possibly get a full time offer with the company afterwards. Internships often pay a similar salary on a monthly pro-rated basis to what the students might expect to be paid after graduation. While income from your internship will not pay for the entire MBA, it can certainly help, and it’s always nice to get a positive cash flow during the summer after a full year of school. Also, some companies will give you a signing bonus or pay for your second year of school if they really liked you and decide to give you a full time offer.


5. Full time jobs post-grad: with the typical MBA salary students often find that they can pay back the school loans within just a few years.


6. Bonus Materials – Building your credit history in the US: while you can finance your entire MBA using only school-related sources without any need for additional credit, it is generally recommended for Israeli students to start establishing a credit history in the US, for the years following graduation. Credit history basically shows whether or not you pay your financial bills on time, and how much debt you have in general out of your credit limit. If you’ve never lived in the US, you will have no track record at all, therefore it will be harder for you to get loans or credit cards initially that are not related to Darden. However, once you obtain a social security number and start conducting financial transactions in the US, you will start showing up on the radar of credit agencies. It is recommended start applying for a small number of credit cards once you are approved, and then make sure to always pay your card bills on time, and never get close to your credit limit. Very soon you’ll have a good credit score that will allow you to get better rates on mortgages, car loans, and additional credit cards for the following years.


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The Darden-Israel Grant.

Darden offers an annual grant of $5,000 for Israeli students. The grant is made possible by the donations of Israeli Darden Alumni.  


To qualify for the grant, applicants must meet the following criteria:

1. Be an Israeli citizen who has recently lived, worked, studied, or served in the military, in Israel or for an Israeli organization, for a meaningful period of time prior to applying for the grant.


2. Demonstrated leadership while in Israel or while employed by an Israeli organization in one of the following fields: business, academics, science, the arts, athletics, or military.


Evaluation Process:

Each Israeli applicant that receives an offer from the Darden admissions to attend the school, and meets the criteria mentioned above, will automatically be considered for the grant. There is no need to apply.

The Darden admissions office in conjunction with the Darden grant committee, is responsible for the selection of the candidate most suitable to receive the grant.

Although the grant money is given by students, alumni and other contributors, in order to preserve the objectivity of the process, the people who contributed the funds are not involved in the decision process of awarding the grant.  Towards the end of the admissions cycle, the committee convenes to review the applicants, their background and experiences, and based on the pre-defined criteria, will decide on 3 applicants most deserving of the grant.  The grant is offered to the top choice of those three; if the top admitted applicant decides to attend a different MBA program, the grant is then offered to the 2nd place applicant, etc until the grant is awarded to an incoming student. This process is kept entirely confidential. If there are no suitable applicants in a given year, the grant is rolled back into the fund and the fund amount for the following year is increased accordingly.

For information about additional financial aid options for Israelis, please visit the Paying for My MBA page or the Darden Financial Aid Office website.


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Please contact us at: info@dardenisrael.com