Stanford GSB Essay Topics 2013-2014

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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.

Additional Information
If there is any other information that is critical for us to know and is not captured elsewhere, please include it. Examples of pertinent additional information include:
- Extenuating circumstances affecting academic or work performance
- Explanation of why you do not have a Letter of Reference from your current direct supervisor or peer
- Explanation of criminal conviction, criminal charges sustained against you in a juvenile proceeding, and/or court-supervised probation
- Explanation of academic suspension or expulsion
- Any other information that you did not have sufficient space to complete in another section of the application (please begin the information in the appropriate section)
- Additional work experience that cannot fit into the space provided
- Additional information about your academic experience (e.g., independent research) not noted elsewhere

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

- Use a 12-point font, double spaced
- Recommended fonts are Arial, Courier, and Times New Roman
- Indicate which essay question you are answering at the beginning of each essay (this does not count towards the 1,600 word limit).
- Number all pages
- Upload all three essays as one document
- Preview the uploaded document to ensure that the formatting is true to the original
Save a copy of your essays

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