How To Write Your Stanford GSB Essay
Stanford’s Graduate School of Business consistently ranks as one of the most prestigious b-schools in the world.
To maintain its prestige, the b-school is highly selective of who it accepts.
Matt Symonds, co-founder and director of Fortuna Admissions, recently discussed what kind of applicants Stanford GSB looks for and how applicants can write strong essays.
WHO GSB SEEKS
The ideal student at Stanford GSB, according to the school’s evaluation criteria, is someone who possesses three main characteristics: intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and personal qualities and contributions.
“Stanford is looking not just for extremely bright and successful professionals, but also young people who have strong values, and who want to have a positive impact in the world,” Fortuna’s Heidi Hillis, Stanford GSB alum and former alumni interviewer, says. “The school genuinely wants to get to know you and to understand your values. Stanford MBAs are driven by a desire not just to excel in their careers but also to help others and to have a positive impact. The Stanford GSB admissions office works very hard to bring together a group of students who are open, humble and have strong integrity, which leads to the incredible level of camaraderie and trust that you find at the school. This is really core to Stanford’s brand and the identity of its community.”
Stanford GSB’s first essay asks applicants to explain “What Matters Most to You and Why?
Symonds says this essay is the heart and core of the GSB application. Rather than thinking of clever or profound ways of answering this prompt, Symonds recommends applicants to really take the time to think about the question and uncover insights in their life’s purpose and values.
“To best tackle the structure of this essay, start with identifying a person, event, or experience that greatly impacted you, and think about the morals, values, and lessons you gained from this experience or interaction,” Symonds writes. “How do you use these lessons today, and how do they impact your drive, your motivation, and your vision of the world? Perhaps you can link them to the development of your career and the life choices you have made? This is a place to get personal, dig deep and to be courageous.”
The second GSB essay asks applicants the classic “Why Stanford?”
This essay, unlike the first one, focuses on a student’s future and how an MBA from GSB will help students achieve their goals.
“Here, your school research really needs to shine,” Symonds writes. “What classes, clubs, events or other elements of the program and community will catalyze the impact you are aiming to make in the short, medium and long term? Dig deep and get specific, show Stanford that you’ve done more than just read the GSB website.”
Read additional tips for writing the GSB options essays here.