Stanford University - GSB

Essay Questions for 2013-2014 / Class of 2016

Below are the application deadlines and essay questions for Stanford University's GSB MBA Program. 

Round 1 Deadline: October 2, 2013
Round 2 Deadline: January 8, 2014
Round 3 Deadline: April 2, 2014

The Essays:

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 two distinct topics:
    • your career aspirations
    • and your rationale for earning your 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 one of the three 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 in the last three years when you built or developed a team whose performance exceeded expectations.
  • Option B: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you identified and pursued an opportunity to improve an organization.
  • Option C: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you went beyond what was defined or established.
Essay Length: Your answers for all of the essay questions cannot exceed 1,600 words.

You have your own story to tell, so please allocate the 1,600 words among all of the essays in the way that is most effective for you. We provide some guidelines below as a starting point, but you should feel comfortable to write as much or as little as you like on any essay question, as long as you do not exceed 1,600 words total.

  • Essay 1: 750 words
  • Essay 2: 450 words
  • Essay 3: 400 words

For tips on how to answer the Stanford 2012-2013 essays, see our Stanford Best Practices blog

Reapplicants should visit the reapplicants page.

Visit the Stanford GSB admissions website for more application information.

Disclaimer: the information provided on this page is for reference only. Applicants are strongly advised to visit the admissions website link provided above to confirm essay prompts, deadlines, and other application information.