Thus, spend some serious time thinking about what has motivated you as you took each step in your career and consider where this path is leading you. For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. (1100 characters). We are also interested in learning about the things you have done that are most meaningful to you. The problem is that most applicants aren’t entirely honest with Stanford (not to mention themselves) about what they prioritize. In his words: “Value statements that are lists of aspirational behaviors aren’t good enough. Making the choice to live in Chicago after graduation came at a real cost – namely not being able to work at the best companies in my first-choice industry – but it was worth it to me because it is more important to be near a strong support network of friends and family. Stanford MBA Essay Sample 1: What matters most to you, and why? You may also want to mention how you can contribute to the community. (400 words) Both essays combined may not exceed 1,150 words. Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them. Stanford MBA Essay A Topic – What matters the most to you, and why? Finally, if you are applying for the Stanford MSx program, you are given an additional 50 words to also discuss your interest in this particular program. We asked our friend Kyle, an HBS MBA graduate and an experienced MBA admissions consultant, what he thinks of the prompt, and a few strategies for how to answer it. You can access the online application here. While the Stanford GSB community does include students who have pursued incomparable opportunities, most Stanford MBA students have excelled by doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. A Guide to the Stanford GSB and HBS Personal Essays. Finally, it’s important to note that this question does not ask “What matters most to you” but instead asks “What matters most to you and why?” The “and why” here is key. Stanford GSB wants to know your aspirations will be uniquely satisfied by the program at Stanford. It’s about hard choices – those that have a real cost. In this section, we provide an optional opportunity to go beyond your resume to discuss some of your contributions more fully. If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs. One of my favorite classes at HBS was Designing Winning Organizations, taught by Professor Robert Simons. Talking about what you gave up, if you truly cared about giving it up, will almost assuredly force genuine emotion into the writing. The admissions committee has read thousands upon thousands of essays. In our first article, we helped you confront the daunting question of “What matters most to you and why? If you write a goals essay that is completely at odds with what you’ve shown is most important to you in life in your first essay, this inconsistency will likely end your Stanford application journey. As a child I drew inspiration from my father who never settled for anything less than “The Best of the Best”. This simply won’t work for Stanford. Pertinent examples include: Are you almost finished with your application, but are still worried your essay is not quite perfect enough to send? Regardless of which topic you choose, make sure it is genuine and that you can point to specific moments in your life during which you have acted on this value. This essay question makes you stop and think about what it is that makes you who you are.” So, why has Stanford posed this question for so long? A Guide to the Stanford GSB and HBS Personal Essays. Stanford GSB offers guidelines and advice on its website for writing essays, "Essays help us learn about who you are rather than solely what you have done. Starting from the bottom up, thinking about the hard choices you’ve made before thinking about what is most important to you, will always lead to richer, stronger essays. These essays give you additional space to show off different elements of your profile and highlight areas you might not have been able to include in your What Matters Most and Why Stanford essays. Steve Jobs is a well-known example of this – a leader who was so singularly focused on one thing that he was willing to sacrifice social acceptance (before he became a tech idol) and what people thought of him, a cost that many of us would not be willing to pay. Figuring out the core of your personal story, and how to explain it in a way that the Stanford Stanford GSB admissions reader can understand, is a critical part of a successful Stanford A essay. The most infamous MBA admissions essay comes from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (with the Harvard MBA essay a close second!). If you don’t show your reader why your chosen theme matters so much to you, circle back and consider if A) you’ve chosen the right topic (perhaps your theme really isn’t what matters most if you’re having trouble showing why it matters); or B) you simply need to tweak your examples to tell a clearer, more compelling story. Actually without that, your aspirations will not make sense because you must have career goals that require Stanford. Essays help us learn about who you are rather than solely what you have done. If there is any information that is critical for us to know and is not captured elsewhere, include it in the “Additional Information” section of the application. Stanford’s notorious admissions essay questions. Writing any admissions essay is a tough task, however, Stanford raises the bar when it comes to presenting a highly-challenging yet open-ended prompt. What moments in your life did you feel most engaged or fulfilled? This question is a classic in terms of MBA essays; adcoms are interested in people who make an impact, whether at work, or in other avenues of their lives. Unlike other optional essays, this Stanford GSB essay is clearly an opportunity to showcase your impact, and therefore should be completed. Essay B: Why Stanford? Stanford GSB offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, which is a general management degree, along with a full-time MSx Program and also a Ph.D. program, along with a few joint degrees in collaboration with other schools at Stanford. Other parts of the application give insight to your academic and professional accomplishments; the essays reveal the person behind those achievements. The writing should be much more personal and casual than a traditional MBA essay. It’d be a tragedy to devote so much time and energy to crafting your best Stanford GSB essay, only to drop the ball at the very end. Many applicants make the mistake of making this essay about what they have accomplished, and claiming those accomplishments (often tied together by some central theme) as most important to them. “and why Stanford?” Your objective in the essay is demonstrate why you would greatly benefit from a Stanford MBA education. If at all possible, try to connect this example to the “core value” you presented in Essay A. Stanford has very specific requirements when it comes to how your essays must be formatted, so make sure you follow these instructions. Why Stanford? 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