September 2019 Intake

Round 1: 18 Sep 2018

Round 2: 10 Jan 2019

Round 3: 03 Apr 2019


Stanford GSB is one of the most sought-after MBAs globally. Consistently top-ranking and innovative, it’s a school that is strongly aware of what they want to see in their candidates.

The essays for Stanford have not changed this year. While these essays may seem straightforward, they are in fact some of the hardest application questions. Stanford isn’t looking for general answers, but rather for carefully crafted and personal responses that highlight a great deal of maturity and self-reflection. Take the time to deep dive into Stanford’s culture and program before you attempt to answer these essays.

Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?

•      For this essay, we would like you to:

•      Do some deep self-examination, so you can genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.

•      Share the insights, experiences, and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.

•      Write from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.

•      Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”

It’s easy to rush into this essay and develop an answer that focuses on your career, but try to avoid this temptation at all costs. Stanford wants to understand your most central passion. Whether it’s related to your occupation, your personal activities or something that you’re aiming for in the long-term is of secondary importance.

Most of my clients, they’re not even completely aware of what ‘it’ might be. How can you discover it? Start keeping and updating a list of ideas that drive strong positive or negative emotional responses in you. Reflect on the major changes in your life and what deep-rooted concepts drove them. You might even get some inspiration by auditing your library of literature; what topics have you been most consistently attracted to?

Once you’ve zeroed in on what matters most, you need to concentrate on the why. Stanford loves storytellers, especially those who develop an intelligent and vulnerable narrative. When writing your essay, don’t hesitate to use colorful examples and dialogue to connect with the reader. If you’re not sure which stories to choose, replay them in your mind to see whether they elicit a strong reaction in you.

Essay B: Why Stanford?

•      Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions.

•      Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.

•      Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at Stanford.

•      If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.

When answering the question of why Stanford, you first need to explain the reason behind your pursuit of an MBA. To do so, you need to concentrate on a career trajectory that is impactful while remaining realizable. Stanford wants dreamers who understand how to weigh their dreams in reality and how to accomplish them.

After you’ve figured out what goal you’re shooting for post-MBA, you have to research how Stanford will help you achieve it. This section needs to be full of concrete examples. When you mention courses, professors, the culture, or any other aspect of Stanford’s program, you need to connect that unique Stanford attribute to a unique need that you have. However, if you’re too general in your statements, Stanford will only be able to conclude one of two things: either you don’t know what you truly need to accomplish your goal or you don’t care to learn what makes Stanford’s offer unique.

Lastly, if you happen to apply to both Stanford’s MBA and MSx programs, use the extra space you’re afforded in the essay to explain how both programs could strongly match your requirements. While one might be preferable, it’s important to stress the fit of both options.

Stanford’s essay length instructions:

Your answers for both essay questions combined may not exceed 1,150 words (1,200 words if you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs).

Essay A         750

Essay B         400

Essay B (if applying to both the MBA and MSx programs)      450

Published On: September 25th, 2018 / Categories: Essay, MBA, Stanford / Tags: , , , /