Stanford University: Stanford GSB


Application deadlines for class of 2015 (Entering Fall 2013)

Round 1

Deadline: October 3, 2012, 5:00 PM PT

Notification: December 12, 2012

Round 2

Deadline: January 9, 2013, 5:00 PM PT

Notification: March 27, 2013

Round 3

Deadline: April 3, 2013, 5:00 PM PT

Notification: May 15, 2013

* Applications and Letters of Reference are due by 5:00PM, Pacific Time.


Essay Questions for Class of 2015 (entering Fall 2013)

Tell us in your own words who you really are. Answer essay questions 1, 2, and one of the three options for essay 3.

  • 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 that 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 four 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.

  • 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 1600 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


- 3 Letters of Reference Are Required: 2 Professional/Workplace References and 1 Peer Reference (You must obtain at least one recommendation from your current direct supervisor.)

- If you are unable to provide a letter from your current direct supervisor, include a brief note of explanation in the Additional Information section of the online application. It is up to you to choose an appropriate replacement.

- College seniors may use a direct supervisor from a summer, part-time or internship experience. Alternatively, you may ask someone who oversaw you in an extracurricular, volunteer, or community activity.

- Your second Professional/Workplace Letter of Reference must come from someone else in a position to evaluate your work- another supervisor, a previous supervisor, a client, etc.

- Strictly academic Letter of Reference generally are less helpful in our evaluation.

Letters of Reference should not exceed 4 pages, double-spaced, using a 12-point font. Recommended fonts are Arial, Courier, and Times New Roman.

For Your 2 Professional/Workplace & Peer recommenders:

1. Please comment on the context of your interaction with the applicant. If applicable, briefly describe the applicant's role in your organization.

2. Please describe a time when the applicant changed your thinking or actions.

3. Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant's response.

4. Please make additional statements about the applicant's performance, potential, or personal qualities you believe would