Below you’ll find the Stanford GSB essay prompts for the 2012-2013 application cycle as well as our analysis.
With Stanford GSB’s deadline looming next week, we encourage you to submit your application materials to www.ivyeyesediting.com as early as possible. While our blitz and rush services can allow you to finish the editing process in 24 hours or less, the strongest, most collaborative work can be done with a bit more time.
Ivy Eyes Editing
We read your essays to get to know you as a person and to learn about the ideas and interests that motivate you. Tell us in your own words who you really are. In other parts of the application, we learn about your academic and professional accomplishments (i.e., what you have done). Through your personal essays (Essays 1 and 2), we learn more about the person behind the achievements (i.e., who you are). Because we want to discover who you are, resist the urge to “package” yourself in order to come across in a way you think Stanford wants. Such attempts simply blur our understanding of who you are and what you can accomplish. We want to hear your genuine voice throughout the essays that you write and this is the time to think carefully about your values, your passions, your hopes and dreams. In your short answer responses (Essay 3, options A, B, C, or D), we learn more about the experiences that have shaped your attitudes, behaviors, and aspirations. Truly, the most impressive essays are those that do not begin with the goal of impressing us.
Essay Length & Format: 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 1,800 words total. Essay 1 – 750 words, Essay 2 – 450 words, Essay 3 – 400 words.
Stanford Essay 1: What matters most to you, and why? (750 words – suggested)
We’ve written a great deal about this classic question from Stanford GSB, visit here to read more. This question is one of our favorites not just from business schools, but all admissions spheres! It forces applicants to be real, authentic people, and write with a little more abandon (exactly what we do with our clients at Ivy Eyes Editing).
Stanford Essay 2: What do you want to do–REALLY–and why Stanford? (450 words suggested)
This question begs for your boldest vision of your future. MBA goals essays have grown stodgy and predictable, and Stanford GSB is very much ahead of the curve in this regard. Example: “After business school, I’d like to be a consultant at McKinsey, then I’d like to be CEO of a global conglomerate in the long term.” And then President of the United States, I suppose? Snooze.
Challenge yourself to produce a bolder, more daring version of your future. Stanford seeks these types of business leaders. How can you make that vision a reality with Stanford GSB’s help, and more importantly, how can you articulate that trajectory in 450 words?
Stanford Essay 3: Answer two 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. In your short answer responses (Essay 3, options A, B, C, or D), we learn more about the experiences that have shaped your attitudes, behaviors, and aspirations. (400 words suggested)
Option A: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you built or developed a team whose performance exceeded expectations.
Stanford GSB outlines the right approach here – the HOW is most critical. Like every good story, however, we work with our clients to construct a real narrative arc. What was the challenge or the obstacles? How did you address them in building this new team? What was the result, and what mattered to you beyond achieving deliverables? Stanford GSB’s first question places an emphasis on values, and your values should feed through your answers to other essay questions like this one.
Option B: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you identified and pursued an opportunity to improve an organization.
The ‘how’ behind the identification of the opportunity and the pursuit of that opportunity are vital here. Often times, young businesspeople have plenty of ideas, but don’t identify the right opportunity at the right time for the right organization. The process behind your choice affords a revealing window into your powers of perception and business acumen, and will differentiate idealistic, young businesspeople from more seasoned, ready-to-lead applicants.
Option C: Tell us about a time in the last three years when you went beyond what was defined or established.
This is another fantastic question from Stanford, not limiting you to a business context necessarily. Your answer to this question can potentially reflect your values and the forces that drive you. What is so important to you that you would risk disrupting convention, or even face criticism because of it?
Stanford Additional Information Essay (optional): 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.
This section should be reserved for applicants who truly need the space to provide context on extenuating circumstances. Avoid a gratuitous addendum (e.g. “What I really want to do–no, really this time, just hear me out.”)
Deadline: October 3, 2012
Notification: December 12, 2012
Deadline: January 9, 2013
Notification: March 27, 2013
Deadline: April 3, 2013
Notification: May 15, 2013