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Who Gets into Stanford Graduate School of Business?

The Stanford Graduate School of Business is arguably one of the best business schools in the world. Competition for a seat in the MBA class is fierce, with acceptance rates hovering around six percent. So, if you have your sights set on this prestigious program, here are a few things to consider as you prepare your application for the upcoming Round 1 deadline on September 13, 2022.

First, make sure you understand what kind of candidate is the right fit for the GSB. The consulting team at Stacy Blackman includes former Stanford GSB admissions officers—the frontline gatekeepers who know precisely the type of applicants who land a coveted admit. Our resident experts say that above all, the GSB seeks talented, diverse, intelligent people who will make a significant impact on business and society.

Stanford GSB students often have unique or unexpected traits and experiences. They take risks, push beyond the imaginable, and lead with passion. The GSB has always prioritized applicants’ values, ideals, and aspirations. The admissions team can quickly detect aspirants who view the MBA as a mere stepping stone for their next job up the corporate ladder. Such candidates likely won’t get past the interview stage.

Hyper-competitive personalities also don’t mesh well with the Stanford GSB ethos. Despite its elite status, Stanford MBAs are known for their humility. These are people with whom you would want to work on a group project, organize a conference, or study for exams. The fact that there are about 436 students per class guarantees that most students know each other. Having a smaller cohort also means that the admissions team gives a lot of thought to class balance and diversity.

Don’t let the competitive admissions rate convince you that only “perfect” MBA candidates will get in. The GSB is more than willing to consider applicants who have taken risks, failed, and learned from their experiences. Candidates who have shown resilience in the face of adversity can bring a lot to the learning experience of their cohorts. These are real people with flaws and strengths, going to b-school to improve and achieve more.

“From the moment I came to campus during the welcome weekend, I was impressed by how real everyone was,” says former SBC client and Stanford MBA grad Sarah Hinkfuss Diekroeger. “The GSB community is incredibly impressive, but also extremely humble.”

As for the Stanford MBA essay questions, the admissions committee gains significant insight into applicants by asking, “What matters most, and why?” along with “Why Stanford?” These questions are simple, yet the answers are revealing. Aim for authenticity in your essays and avoid attempting to package yourself as an “ideal” MBA applicant.

Admittedly, it’s tough to write such open-ended and challenging essays. Topics often range from personal history to big-picture visions of the future. These Stanford MBA essays should dive deep into what motivates you and why. Focus on people and experiences that have influenced you. The most persuasive essays are likely not career-related at all. Stanford likes to see applicants who dream big and have the credibility to achieve their goals. Be bold with your aspirations.

No magic formula guarantees admissions success at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. But personality, passion, and a sincere desire to make the world a better place can help tip the odds in your favor.

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