Stanford GSB 2011-2012 Essay Questions

The Stanford Graduate School of Business has released the updated essay topics for the class of 2014, entering fall 2012. Click here to see the MBA program’s deadlines for this application season.

Applicants must answer essay questions 1, 2, and two of the four options for essay 3.

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 three distinct topics:
    • your career aspirations
    • the role of an MBA education in achieving those aspirations
    • and your rationale for earning that 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 two of the four 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 when you built or developed a team whose performance exceeded expectations.
  • Option B: Tell us about a time when you made a lasting impact on your organization.
  • Option C: Tell us about a time when you generated support from others for an idea or initiative.
  • Option D: Tell us about a time when you went beyond what was defined or established.

In total, the three essays cannot exceed 1,800 words. Although you can write as much or as little as you like, the admissions committee suggests 750 words for Essay 1, 450 words for Essay 2 and 300 words for each response to Essay 3.  Make sure to visit the program’s website for additional guidance regarding the essay component of the application.

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