HBS To Admits: ‘The answer is YES!’

“On behalf of the faculty of Stanford Graduate School of Business, I am honored to offer you admission to the Stanford Master of Business Administration Program. Welcome to the Class of 2017!

“To effect change, Stanford students must possess a rare combination of character, brilliance, and ambition. You exemplify these qualities. I am confident that you will realize your potential here – not because you fit a mold, but because you will embrace the distinctive opportunities that Stanford provides. Upon graduation, you will join the extraordinary community of Stanford alumni committed to leadership and service around the globe.

“Stanford’s world-class faculty will engage you with pioneering ideas. Intrepid classmates will inspire you to envision what’s possible. Experiential learning will challenge you to make things happen. The School’s collaborative culture will support you at every step. And the Knight Management Center will offer you an unparalleled learning environment. This comprehensive approach to management education will enable you to shape the future.

“You will find important information about enrollment at http://mygsb.stanford.edu, and members of the Stanford community will answer further questions in the coming weeks. The best way to understand life at Stanford, however, is to visit. Please join us for Admit Weekend on 8-9 February 2015. If you need information, please contact us at mba_admits@gsb.stanford.edu.

Your Stanford experience will change your life, empowering you to change organizations and, ultimately, to change the world. We are thrilled to have you join us.”


Bauer says the typical acceptance letter contains four crucial elements:

1. Warm congratulations. “Pleased” and “pleasure” are the operative words as the admissions staff realizes that this is a very personal moment for the new admit.

2. Emphasis on selectivity and achievement. A reminder that this positive outcome is based on the merits of the applicant as someone who meets the high standards of the institution. Not a fluke. You’ve earned it!

3. Eagerness for engagement. Aware that the new admit may receive offers of admission from other schools, the yield-conscious adcom wants to get a commitment as soon as possible. So, identifying “next steps” — such as signing up for Admit Weekend — is an essential component.

4. Reinforcement of “why this school.” A closing sales pitch reminds the applicant why he or she applied there in the first place, and thus why they should matriculate at School X.  Of course, an offer of unsolicited, merit-based aid, can be included as the deal clincher.

(For the full letters from several schools, including INSEAD, see the following pages)