Stanford GSB Essay Questions for Class of 2015

Stanford Graduate School of Business has posted the essay questions for the 2012-2013 full-time MBA application cycle. The goal with these prompts is to get to know who you really are, in your own words.

The three essays are:

Essay 1: What matters most to you, and why?

  • The best examples of Essay 1 reflect the process of self-examination that you have undertaken to write them.
  • They give us a vivid and genuine image of who you are””and they also convey how you became the person you are.
  • They do not focus merely on what you’ve done or accomplished. Instead, they share with us the values, experiences, and lessons that have shaped your perspectives.
  • They are written from the heart and address not only a person, situation, or event, but also how that person, situation, or event has influenced your life.

Essay 2: What do you want to do””REALLY””and why Stanford?

Use this essay to explain your view of your future, not to repeat accomplishments from your past.

You should address two distinct topics:

  • your career aspirations
  • and your rationale for earning your MBA at Stanford, in particular.

The best examples of Essay 2 express your passions or focused interests, explain why you have decided to pursue graduate education in management,  and demonstrate your desire to take advantage of the opportunities that are distinctive to the Stanford MBA Program.

Essay 3: Answer one of the three questions below. Tell us not only what you did but also how you did it. What was the outcome? How did people respond? Only describe experiences that have occurred during the last three years.

  • Option A: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you built or developed a team whose performance exceeded expectations.
  • Option B: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you identified and pursued an opportunity to improve an organization.
  • Option C: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you went beyond what was defined or established.

Total word count for all three essays combined must not exceed 1,600 words, so applicants must be judicious in deciding how much or little to write for each prompt. As a general guideline, Stanford GSB suggests 750 words for essay one; 450 words for essay two; and 400 words for essay three.

For more information about the Stanford Graduate School of Business application, visit the program website. Stay tuned for Stacy Blackman’s tips on navigating these essay prompts, coming soon!

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