3 Things Stanford GSB Looks For In Applicants

MBA students gather outdoors. Photo Credit: Elena Zhukova

3 Things Stanford GSB Looks For In Applicants

Stanford Graduate School of Business consistently ranks as one of the top B-schools in the nation.

Known for its collaborative culture, Stanford GSB is incredibly selective about who gains admission. Fortuna Admissions recently offered a few tips on how to master Stanford’s admissions process and put the best application forward.


Authenticity matters for nearly every business school. At Stanford GSB, it’s a critical part of standing out in the competitive landscape.

“Everybody has a story; the key is to make sure that yours is unique,” Heidi Hillis, a Coach at Fortuna Admissions and former admissions interviewer at Stanford GSB, says. “People come to me and say things like, ‘I read that the GSB really likes candidates who are X or Y.’ That’s a signal that you need to stop and rethink. Don’t second guess what the GSB wants to hear; what the GSB wants to hear is about you. What works for someone else is not necessarily going to work for you.”


Having a stellar GPA and top test scores are musts at Stanford GSB, but if you’re hoping to gain admission, you’ll need more than just an impressive resume with strong numbers.

“They are looking for is something that is really hard to find on a resume or a GMAT score,” Tatiana Nemo, a Coach at Fortuna Admissions and former admissions interviewer at Stanford GSB, says. “They want to know what’s driving you. They are looking for that texture that makes your ambition, your sense of self, come to the fore.”


What Stanford admissions is really looking for, Hillis says, is impact and purpose. These are things that will need to be dug out and conveyed in a way that’s compelling and authentic.

“Think beyond what would normally be defined as impact and include more subtle examples if needed,” Hillis says. “Perhaps you’re the person in the office who remembered birthdays, brought the cake, and served as the glue that bonded a team or built relationships. If you have worked in a team environment where you can’t readily point to individual impact, think about efforts outside of work, such as organizing successful fundraisers.”

Sources: Fortuna Admissions, P&Q

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