Stanford Graduate School of Business has confirmed the essays for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. The Stanford MBA essay questions remain unchanged from previous admissions seasons.
Stanford asks for two personal essays in order to gain a greater understanding of applicants’ character and hopes. “In each essay we want to hear your genuine voice,” the admissions team explains. “Think carefully about your values, passions, aims, and dreams prior to writing them.”
Stanford MBA Essay Questions
Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?
For this essay, Stanford 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.”
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.
Your answers for both essay questions combined may not exceed 1,050 words (1,200 words if you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs). Each of you has your own story to tell, so please allocate these words between the essays in the way that is most effective for you.
We recommend up to 650 words for Essay A and up to 400 words for Essay B. We often find effective essays written in far fewer words.
Optional Short-Answer Questions
The two required essays shed light on who you are and how you imagine Stanford will help you achieve your aspirations. We are also interested in learning about the things you have done that are most meaningful to you. In this section, we provide an optional opportunity to go beyond your resume to discuss some of your contributions more fully.
Please do not include your short-answer response in your essays upload; use the text boxes provided in the application.
Optional Question 1
Think about times you’ve created a positive impact, whether in professional, extracurricular, academic, or other settings. What was your impact? What made it significant to you or to others?
In the Essays section of the application, we ask you to tell us about who you are and how you think Stanford will help you achieve your aspirations. We are also interested in learning about the things you have done that are most meaningful to you. If you would like to go beyond your resume to discuss some of your contributions more fully, you are welcome to share up to three examples. (Up to 1,200 characters, or approximately 200 words, for each example)
Optional Question 2
Tell us about a time within the last three years when your background influenced your participation at work or school.
We know that each person is more than a list of facts or pre-defined categories. We are interested in how your background may have influenced your life experiences. In answering this question, consider how your background, such as your work, education, skills, interests, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, where/how you grew up, and/or other factors, had an impact on your recent actions and choices. How did one specific aspect of your background influence whether or how you participated in a situation, interaction, or project? (Up to 1,100 characters, or approximately 180 words)
For more information, please visit the Stanford GSB admissions website. If you need guidance on your Stanford MBA application or wish to discuss your MBA plans, reach out for a complimentary analysis of your candidacy. We’re here to help!