Stanford GSB 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Want to learn more about Stanford? Check out our Stanford GSB B-School Zone!Stanford cut its essays from 3 to 2, actually returning to the same two essays it asked for several years (or slight variations of them) before it increased the number of  essays for the 2007 entering class. 

The other change in these questions is that Stanford has done away here with the behavioral questions that it added for the applications for the classes entering in 2007 – 2013. It will be interesting to see if those types of questions show up as short answer questions within the application or if they are used a lot more in the Stanford interview. 

Stanford gives a lot of advice and guidance as to what it’s looking for in the essays. You should access that advice. My tips are in blue below. 

Stanford GSB 2015 MBA Application Questions:

Essays help us learn about who you are rather than solely what you have done. Other parts of the application give insight to your academic and professional accomplishments; the essays reveal the person behind those achievements.

When writing your essays, resist the urge to “package” yourself into what you think Stanford wants to see. Doing so will only prevent us from understanding who you really are and what you hope to accomplish. The most impressive essays are the most authentic.

Essays:

We request that you write two personal essays. The personal essays give us glimpses of your character and hopes. In each essay, we want to hear your genuine voice. Think carefully about your values, passions, aims, and dreams prior to writing them.

Essay A. What matters most to you, and why?

A strong response to this question will:

• Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”
• Reflect the self-examination process you used to write your response.
• Genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.
• Share the insights, experiences, and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.
• Be written from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.

This superficially straightforward question has been Stanford’s first for the last several years, and it is actually one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult MBA essay questions to answer. It demands introspection. Before you put finger to keyboard or pen to paper, really reflect on what you value, how you have acted upon those principles, and why you value them. Stanford’s advice urges reflection. The question requires it.

When I reflect on our many successful Stanford clients, initiative in the face of need is the common thread among them. They are always the ones who revealed, especially in Essay A, that they do not turn away when they see a problem or need for action. They grab the initiative when faced with an opportunity to contribute. They are comfortable expressing emotion and their values, and their actions reflect both, but particularly the latter. Think purpose-driven, principle-driven lives.

More than anything else, initiative and self-awareness characterize the successful Stanford applicant. Implication: You have to know your values and those times you have acted upon them. Yes I wrote that a few seconds ago, but it bears repeating. Climbing Mt. Everest or suffering from terrible social ills is not a requirement of admission, but you do have to know the person occupying your skin.

Essay B. Why Stanford?

Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions.

A strong response to this essay question will:

• Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.
• Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at Stanford.

Now that question is succinct, and really says what they want to know.

Similar to  questions that have occupied this Stanford application slot for years, this question is a variation of a standard MBA goals question, as revealed in the two bullet points after it. For this forward-looking question, you say why you want an MBA. The best way to do so is in terms of your desired post-MBA professional direction. Then explain how Stanford’s program specifically will help you attain them.

Understand the flexibility inherent in Stanford’s curriculum, its integrated approach to management, its entrepreneurial culture, and how both will help you learn what you need to know to achieve your career goals. Realize that the curriculum allows for personalization based on your goal and your past experience, specifically your previous business education. Two pieces of information are required to answer this question: A clear MBA goal and an in-depth understanding of Stanford GSB’s curriculum. (Folks: It’s not just the ranking, brand, or location.)

Essay Length:

Your answers for both essay questions combined may not exceed 1,100 words. Below are suggested word counts per essay, but you should allocate the maximum word count in the way that is most effective for you.

      •   Essay A: 650-850 words
      •   Essay B: 250-450 words

Additional Information:

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. Pertinent examples include:

• Extenuating circumstances affecting academic or work performance
• Explanation of why you do not have a letter of reference from your current direct supervisor
• Work experience that did not fit into the space provided
• Academic experience (e.g., independent research) not noted elsewhere

This is optional. Respond if you have something to explain or need the additional space because you can’t fit in your work experience or all academic info. Responses should be succinct and to-the-point and should provide the context necessary for Stanford to understand the circumstances surrounding whatever difficulty you are writing about. 

If you would like professional guidance with your Stanford GSB application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Stanford GSB application.

Stanford GSB 2015 MBA Application Deadlines:

Application Round  Submit Your Application By  Notification Date
Round 1 1 Oct 2014* 10 Dec 2014
Round 2 7 Jan 2015* 25 Mar 2015
Round 3 1 Apr 2015* 6 May 2015

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

Get Accepted to Stanford Graduate School of Business! Click here to learn more!

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for Stanford GSB, please provide the following info:

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
    6) Your post-MBA goal.

    Or if you just have a question about MBA admissions, I’ll do my best to answer it.

    • sivaram

      I had 92% in under graduation. I am working in TATA since last 2months. MYgre score 325. I have completed 5 projects n 3 papers in International journals. I have completed 3 summer trainings. I have experience on NATIONAL JOURNEY OF 8000KMS in India. Many certificates and achievements. Can u please evaluate my chance of getting admission in stanford GSB. or atleast MS in stanford?
      Thank you so much in advance.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Your percentage is competitive. It’s seems to be that your GRE score is a little low for GSB. While you list what you’ve done, you haven’t revealed the impact of what you’ve done or leadership. Stanford is a stretch. At the same time, if you have had significant leadership and impact or will have impact from your job, then you would be competitive, especially if your raise your GRE or do well on the GMAT.

    • Muhammad

      1) I have worked full time as an Assistant Engineer with Reliance Industries Ltd (which is a Fortune Global 500 company) for two months leading around 30-40 foreign workers, technicians and interns. Besides that, I have also completed internships with two renown oil and gas companies; Technip S.A. and Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.

      2) GRE scores:
      Analytical writing: 4.5
      Verbal reasoning: 78
      Quantitative reasoning: 91

      3) Colleges:
      Undergraduate: University of Nottingham – BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering (First class honours with CGPA of 3.8)
      1st Postgraduate: University College London – MSc Mechanical Engineering (Merit with CGPA of 3.65)
      2nd Postgraduate: Imperial College London – PhD Aeronautical Engineering

      4) i. University tennis and football player (at national level)
      ii. Fluent in Spanish and Malay and intermediate in German
      iii. Chair of 2011 IEEE Conference held in Nottingham

      5) I do not have certifications related to CFA, CPA, etc. but I do have certificates in arc welding, steel milling and turning and others related to engineering software.

      6) Upon completing the MBA, I aim to join world leading companies and gain a few years of professional experience and expand my professional network before starting up my own business/firm.

      Could you kindly evaluate my profile? Thank you.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Muhammad,

        Your academics are strong, but your work experience is skimpy. you will need to show the personal qualities, especially the ability to achieve, innovate, and initiate, which Stanford values. You may have those experiences, but I don’t see them above.

        Also, your goal is very general and vague. Do you want to after your MBA go into a product or brand management role? A general management leadership development program? Consulting? And in which industry? It’s hard to say how Stanford will help you achieve your goals given how general they are because any top business school would help you now.

        I’d say Stanford is a stretch.

        Best,
        Linda

    • Harry

      Hi Linda,

      I am wanting to attend Stanford GSB and wanting to see if I have a good shot at getting in:

      1) work in finance, risk management, banking for past 4 years and history of working in non-profit city organization
      2 &3) UC Berkeley, GPA = 3.77 in Political Science, Completed an extension program for Accounting following undergrad
      4) Worked for a congressman, closely worked with a business school professor on tech research, volunteered for hospital and international orphanage, part of a non-profit managing finance and administrative side for the past 3 years
      5) Just Level 1 for CFA, started studying for it since end of 2013
      6) I want to get into venture capitalism, invest in start ups, work with people using my strong interpersonal skills, see the potential for organizations that will impact communities in positive way uses my big picture side of the brain, most likely will end up in non-profit using for-profit experience, want to work with investment and finance – like numbers, but like working with people for leadership development more.

      Any advice? How high do I need my GMAT to be? In the process of studying.

      • Harry

        I forgot to the mention, the leadership potential part is I train loan officers at the corporate office to send out to branches as well, and do leadership development with the administrative staff of the non-profit that I am part of.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Harry,

          It’s very hard to assess your chances without a GMAT. What do you think you are likely to get?

          Linda

          • Harry

            Hi Linda,

            I think I can get at least a 700, but aiming for 800! Not sure if I have a decent profile for stanford though. The way they brand themselves matches with my personality and outlook on life (I believe so). Thoughts?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Harry,

            I like your GMAT target. :-)

            Let’s assume a 700+ GMAT since you think that’s possible.

            If you can show an “I care” attitude in your essays and an ability to be a change agent, then yes you have a competitive profile for Stanford. But don’t apply to Stanford exclusively. Also consider Haas, UCLA, Wharton, and Yale,

            Best
            Linda

          • Harry

            Hi Linda,

            Thank you for the feedback. I just never invented anything or even started a company, I just make the best of every situation I have been in. Is that OK?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Harry,

            Making the best of every situation is a wonderful attribute and will take you far in life. However to get into Stanford you also have to show the qualities I discussed in the tip post and in my response to you.

            The reality at Stanford is that you can have a competitive profile and be “OK,” and still not get accepted. It is that competitive.

            You don’t have to have invented anything or started a company. You do have to show that you made a difference, and that difference could be making the best of a situation as well as helping others to do the same.

            If you’d like help with your applications, please let me know.

            Best,
            Linda

    • brio

      Hi Linda, I saw some of your profile evaluations and was happy to see some really helpful specific advice in your responses. I would be very grateful and happy to get your thoughts on my profile.

      I’m aiming for an MBA in Entrepreneurship for the overall immersive learning experience, including the skills I learn, the projects I work on with teams.

      B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (Tier-1Engg. college, India) in 2012, 8.5/10.0 CGPA.

      770 in GMAT.

      I have worked in a (MNC) company designing mobile chipsets & now in another company designing WiFi signal processing algorithms, both of which are leaders in these respective fields. I plan to apply for MBA for Fall 2016, by which time I would have 2 years exp of both domains/companies.

      target schools are Stanford, Haas, MIT Sloan, HBS, Wharton, Kellogg.

      My goal, 6 years from now is to expand my father’s business of Security systems, control systems & also expand / start new venture towards wireless devices.

      I’m also involved with my company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) group to interact with urban poor, which I would build upon later to get to know the problems poor face which could be solved using technology.

      I’m a musician, and I have been playing the synthesizer since childhood. My other hobbies are keeping fit, trekking & cycling, martial arts, studying practical psychology.

      Looking forward to your response. Thanks.

    • Kevin

      Dear Linda,
      I think it’s great that you’re giving people these advices. I’d like to try as well. I’m Kevin, a 23 year old dutch student.
      1. As a college senior I have no full-time working experience as of yet.
      2. I have not yet done a GMAT test. I’ll aim for 799 (I don’t believe in perfection), but I’ll be satisfied with ~730.
      3. I studied my bachelor of science in business administration at the University of Twente, a respected Dutch technical university, and am know studying economics and regional studies in the Greek University of Macedonia for an optional one-year exchange program.
      My GPA is a 7.5/10 according to the Dutch grading model. The dutch government advices to treat this as an A, if I look at university conversion tables it corresponds to a gpa of ~3.4-3.5/4 according to the US model. Though my gpa is on the low side for Stanford, I did however on average took so many extra curricular courses that my workload was nearly twice as high as normal for most of my second & third year (out of 3). My extra-curriculars consists of electical engineering courses (~1050 hours worth), psychology courses (~400 hours worth), law courses (140 hours worth), and by the end of this academic year about 300 hours in computer science extra, and around 1400 hours in Business Administration & economics courses related hours extra.
      I will graduate this academic year (I got all the requirements to get my bachelor already as I did most of the third-year courses in my second year), I’m only waiting to finish my exchange program. My final bachelor assignment was in the field of improvisational leadership, combining business and military literature, and got a grade comparable to a A+ or 4.0/4.0 in the US.
      4. During my years as a student I was in the organisation of a study tour, completely organised by students, and helped in the creation of courses related to that tour. Helped organised activities for first-year students to socialise with each-other (during my entire first year of study). Was in a council that handled complaints from Electrical Engineering students related to their study/professors.
      And my most significant project is that together with technical students I set up a recognised charity organisation that gave students the ability to work on our own (ambitious) research-satellite. As only non-technical student I was mostly in a project and information management role but I also helped on technical issues. I authord one Business Administration related papers and co-authored 3 technical papers for the biggest conference in the space industry (IAC by the IAF) as well as authoring a paper for a smaller conference by the IAF and presenting, discussing, and promoting our research project at ESA’s main research facility (ESTEC) on invitation.
      5. I got no relevant certificates for MBAs.
      6. My direct career plans after my MBA are to be an (ascociate) project-manager and than to promote to project manager. I want to do this in technical firms with new product development teams, being very close to engineers, I got an obvious preference to the space industry but I’m certainly not limiting myself to that. I’m also very interested in the internet of things and am working on ideas here that I can maybe accomplish at Stanford with all the available facilities (and technical students). Entrepreneuring is also a career path I’m considering.
      I hope you think I’ve got an interesting offer for Stanford. I’m looking forward to your response!

  • Muhammad

    1) I have worked full time as an Assistant Engineer with Reliance Industries Ltd (which is a Fortune Global 500 company) for two months leading around 30-40 foreign workers, technicians and interns. Besides that, I have also completed internships with two renown oil and gas companies; Technip S.A. and Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.
    2) GRE scores:
    Analytical writing: 4.5
    Verbal reasoning: 78

    Quantitative reasoning: 91

    3) Colleges:
    Undergraduate: University of Nottingham – BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering (First class honours with CGPA of 3.8)
    1st Postgraduate: University College London – MSc Mechanical Engineering (Merit with CGPA of 3.65)
    2nd Postgraduate: Imperial College London – PhD Aeronautical Engineering
    4) i. University tennis and football player (at national level)
    ii. Fluent in Spanish and Malay and intermediate in German
    iii. Chair of 2011 IEEE Conference held in Nottingham
    5) I do not have certifications related to CFA, CPA, etc. but I do have certificates in arc welding, steel milling and turning and others related to engineering software.
    6) Upon completing the MBA, I aim to join world leading companies and gain a few years of professional experience and expand my professional network before starting up my own business/firm.

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    That quant score is low for these programs; they are stretch programs for you. Also consider Yale, UNC, and UCLA.

    Best,
    Linda

  • JD

    Hi Linda,

    I’m aiming to go to school at USC or UCLA but am considering Stanford. However, I’m not sure if my scores will automatically put me at the bottom of the list.

    1. Currently wearing two hats as a project coordinator and business development manager with a maritime company specializing in offshore support services based in Jakarta. I’ve been living abroad for just over a year. Previously, I worked as a managing editor for a news site and editorial writer for a newspaper for two years. I’ve also dabbled in political consulting and nonprofit management, and had internships in the fields of public policy, government affairs, biopharma, and wealth management.
    2. GMAT was a 680 (Q 52 percentile, V 96 percentile, IR 92 percentile). Retaking it in a couple of weeks because Q was terrible.
    3. UC Irvine, graduated in 2011 with a 3.36 GPA, majored in political science and minored in business management and conflict resolution.
    4. Anteater Mentorship Program: was a mentor, then cluster leader (mentoring mentors)
    Was involved with ASB, under student affairs and academic affairs
    Assisted in teaching student-run 2 unit class called Visions Leadership
    Also was involved with legislative branch of ASB
    5. CAPM certified (which is like mini-PMP)
    6. My goal is to work as a consulting in the oil & energy industry as a consultant with a company like Schulmberger or McKinsey. Eventually, I want to teach at universities and gradually move into government affairs.

    Would appreciate any help. Thanks.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      What do you think your GMAT will be, especially the quant?

      Linda

      • JD

        Likely over 700. My Q score has been trending in the 70-80 percentile range so far.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          JD,

          I still think Stanford would be a stretch. Even if your GMAT is 700 and your quant is over 70% your GPA is still low for Stanford. They would like your work in Indonesia, but I’m not sure that will be enough to get you in. You would be competitive at both UCLA and USC.

          Best,
          Linda

  • Carlos

    1) My job consists in leading savings oriented or productivity oriented
    projects within given categories inside the firm’s clients. We achieved savings
    through changes in the client’s process(es) or through multi-variable negotiations (2 years)
    – Analyzed and monitored the client’s salesforce and saved 12% of the commissions budget while increasing the salesforce productivity by 2% for CrediScotia (a Microfinance company in Peru and member of the Scotiabank Group)
    – Analyzed and monitored the client’s external salesforce and the rival companies salesforces and achieved a 10% savings in the client’s budget while avoiding to negatively affect the client’s productivity for Telefonica in Ecuador (a member of the Telefonica Group)
    – Led a 3-member team and reduced by 30% the amount of heavy machinery inside a steel-manufacturing company and managed to save 21% of the client’s heavy machinery rental budget for Aceros Arequipa (the main steel-manufacturing company in Peru)
    – Implemented 2 new gas stations in 2 steel-manufacturing factories and managed to save 9% of the client’s fuel expenses by implementing new controls measures over the client’s fuel disposal process and saved an additional 4% by a 3-rounds negotiation with 3 of the 4 biggest fuel companies in Peru for Aceros Arequipa
    1 year as a Deputy Manager in a Agro-industrial company
    2) GMAT 720 (Q 49, V 38, IR 8, AWA 5.0)
    3) UPC (Lima, Peru), 3.69 GPA, Bachelor in Economics and International Business, graduated on July, 2011
    4) Volunteer Service: helped to build houses for the poor from Oct-2010 to Nov-2012 and started a new volunteer service helping senior high school students with low resources developing their business ideas into actual small businesses
    5) None. Instead I list my own Language Skills: Native in Spanish and Intermediate Superior level in Portuguese
    6) My post-MBA main goal is to be able to develop a global career as a consultant and to acquire work experience in Silicon Valley based companies if I had the chance

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Your goal is a little vague. Do you want to work in Silicon Valley or as a global consultant? And in either case, what do you want to accomplish in Silicon Valley or as a consultant? In what industry do you want to work. I think you need to clarify your goal.

      The other elements of your profile or competitive.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Farid Vij

    Linda,

    Appreciate your help. Below are my stats:

    1) Worked at an enterprise software start-up since graduating from Wharton in 2009. Lead the Sales & BD organization today; my team has tripled revenue in the last three years and I have grown our team from 4 people to 25. I also lead our largest deals and have personally generated over $15M of revenue for a sub-$30M company.
    2) GMAT score of 750 (98% percentile), V-42 (96%), M-49 (81%), IR-7 (82%), AR-6 (91%)
    3) Attended Wharton School (UPenn) for undergrad, BS in Economics (Concentrations: 1) Finance 2) Entrepreneurship) & Minor in French. GPA was 3.1/4.0.
    4) Recruiting Officer at ElevateSF (San Francisco non-profit that mentors low-income individuals to secure employment), Vice-President at Wharton Alumni Relations Council (while at Wharton), Captain of Club Tennis team at Penn (2008-2009)
    5) n/a
    6) Start my own venture in the data analytics space focused on helping to consolidate and provide seamless access to patient medical information for doctors and patient alike in India, which has one of the fastest-growing healthcare industries.

    I know my GPA is low for GSB but it is my top choice and I’m going to give it my best. Other schools are HBS & Kellogg (considering Berkeley). Your candid feedback is much appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Farid

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Farid,

      Your GPA is low as you say and it is a hurdle. Obviously your GMAT, progression at work, community service, sports leadership are impressive. Is it possible that Stanford (or HBS or Kellogg) will overlook the GPA, yes. Is it likely? I’m not optimistic.

      Also consider Duke, NYU Stern, Yale, and Haas.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Urvashi Gupta

    Hello Linda,

    I need your help in profile evaluation. Your timely help is highly appreciated.

    Please find below my profile details:
    1) 6 years of strong experience in software/telecom industry, with exposure to various technical and business roles. Have strong technical and interpersonal skills. Diverse background includes solution integration, providing technical training, technical product verification, end-to-end customer presales, Client-handling, vast international exposure.

    Currently I am responsible for Presales & Solution Design activity via alliance with multiple regional and global partners, across EUROPE, US & LATAM.
    Have good experience in Client-Handling/Interaction, Conducting Customer Workshops, Conduction Solution presentations, Conducting Product Demos, handling end-to-end Presales activities and Solution Designing, Closing Customer bids technically and commercially, Bid Management, Submitting Bid/tender quotations

    2) GMAT (Yet to take, will be taking around 12th December). Target score 720+
    3) Education: Bachelor of Engineer (Electronics & Communication) from Gujarat University, INDIA – GPA: 3.83
    4) Extra-curricular activity or community service experience: Nothing concrete to show on paper. However, I do voluntary service for under-privilege kids, whenever possible. I teach under-privilege kids at home.
    5) Am also helping my brother to setup Edu based tech startup
    5) Post MBA goal: Want to work either in Consulting doamin or Global strategy

    Target Schools: Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, London Business School, INSEAD, MIT Sloan, Columbia, Tuck, Duke, Dartmouth (any other suggestions?)

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Assuming you are successful with the GMAT, I suggest you drop Stanford and apply to 3-4 from Wharton, Kellogg, LBS, INSEAD, MIT, and CBS and also to two from Ross, Darden, Duke and Yale.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Urvashi Gupta

        Hello Linda,

        Thank you for your prompt response and help.

        Apologies for I forgot to mention some more details about my profile Would like you your view on this. Would like to know if this will change the prospective colleges list as stated by you.

        I am a 30 years old female working in India, with an MNC. I have a 6 years of experience and 5 years into technical core. Rest since last 1 year I have been into more of a techno-business role, which has given me good international and business exposure.

        Also, would like to know the possibility with Booth, IESE, IE, IMD, UC Berkeley and HBS.

        Also, do let me know if i have something lacking in my profile, for getting into a good B-school.

        Your help most appreciated.

        Regards,
        Urvashi

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Urvashi,

          Haas is a great idea for you, but I am concerned that lack of community service will hurt you there and lack of leadership will hurt you at HBS, not to mention the competition. Same with Booth. You have a competitive profile for IESE, IE, and IMD. You could easily add them to the second group of schools I suggested where you are more competitive. Booth would be in the first group. Frankly, I don’t think you would be competitive at HBS and Stanford.

          • Urvashi Gupta

            Hello Linda,

            Appreciate your prompt help.
            Will take care of your views while applying.

            Regards,
            Urvashi

  • Edward

    Hi Linda,
    Thank you very much for providing your consultation. Your advice is very appreciated.

    1. (1year) Charge nurse/Infection manager at DaVita HealthCare Partners, supervising hemodialysis clinic, (3year) Lifeguard Manager/EMT supervising 60+ lifeguards.

    2. GRE Old Score Verbal 640 (90th %), GRE Old Score Math 750 (75th %), Writing 4.5 (80%)

    3. Columbia University Nursing, 3.97GPA graduation with honors, UCSB Biopsychology 3.77GPA

    4. Treasurer/Philanthropy Chair/President of my fraternity, founder of my fraternity, we raised more for charity in our first year than any other existing fraternity. Volunteer at community health center in NYC.

    5. RN, EMT, Lifeguard Instructor, Bachelor Science of Nursing, BS Biopsychology

    6. Identify efficient pathways to promote the humanization of medical treatment (more to this)

    Thank you so again. I really value your input.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Edward,

      You’re most welcome. Thanks for the feedback.

      I’m assuming your GRE is still valid albeit on the old scale. Your grades and verbals score are competitive. Your math score is a little low, but not horrible.

      The key question in my mind is for you to explain why you need an MBA to do what you want to do. How will an MBA help you do that? What means do you intend to use to effect this kind of enormous and systemic change. Also it is a very broad goal. For Stanford, that is not as much of an issue as for other programs, but frankly there frequently is a disconnect if not an actual conflict between efficiency and humanization. How will a Stanford MBA education help you to bridge that gap?

      If you can cogently answer these questions, I think you have a chance but Stanford is a stretch; the competition is very tough. Also consider Wharton and its Healthcare Management Program (see http://blog.accepted.com/2013/10/10/healthcare-management-at-wharton-and-at-large/ ), Haas, Yale, and Duke.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Ritz

    Hey Linda,

    This is Ritz here from India. I am 29 yrs presently pursuing my Masters in Engineering. I have presented two papers at two Indian COnference which have been published. I have a 7yrs experience at work in Marketing & Business Deveopment of Channel Partners in manufacturing sector. I have helped my channel partners to present a 100% growth in two consecutive years and hence got promoted. I was involved in a project with the ERP team to manage day to day business more smoothly by the Partners, which was a huge success.

    However due to financial condition I had to complete my graduation in Engineering via correspondence along side a full time job from the best institute of India and my GPA on a scale of 10 is 6.73.

    I am thoroughly involved in myself into helping deaf and dumb children from rural areas to make a earning by teaching them dance, make them participate in various competitions, and assigned them to various NGO’s as a dance coordinator. Also, I have worked with an NGO and my kids to help eradicate superstitions in the villages of India via theatrical shows. I want to use dance as a medium to help people to have a better life.

    Presently I am also working with a fellow mate on a startup to manufacture AeroBikes.

    My GMAT score is 770. With this profile do I stand a fair chance to crack the top B schools – GSB, HBS, Wharton, etc. Also by the time I apply I would be 30. Will my age be a constraint?(considering give a break to studies in between to take up family responsibility and hence my graduation got delayed)

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Ritz,

      Your age will not be an issue.

      It’s not clear to me if you earned your bachelors, masters, or both via correspondence. If both were earned via correspondence that part of your academic performance will be a question mark in the admissions committees’ minds, but everything else is competitive and you just have to apply and see.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Mary

    Linda,

    Please review my info below – I appreciate any feedback to help me assess which schools I should consider applying.

    1) Summary: 7 years of full-time experience in the Enterprise Servers and Storage industry. Breakdown: 2.5 years at HP as ASIC Design Verification Engineer, 3 years at HP as Program Manager (internal R&D and vendor interface), 1.5 year at SanDisk as Engineering and Customer Program Manager.
    2) Have not taken the GMAT yet. Actively studying and plan to take exam in Dec. Targeting a score of 720. Do you have a recommended target for quant and verbal scores?
    3) Education:
    MS from San Jose State in Computer Engineering, GPA: 3.67/4.0, 2007
    BS from Univ of the Pacific in Computer Engineering, GPA: 3.7/4.0, 2005
    4) Board member for my community’s HOA; Co-led and volunteered a technology camp for girls for several years; Co-led many society of women engineers activities; various random volunteer activities: led science projects at elementary schools, soup kitchens, tutored ESL adults (with low socio-economic background), charitable giving campaigns, etc.
    5) PMP certified
    6) Post-MBA Goal: Return to SanDisk to gain more work experience on the “business” side, particularly in finance, operations, marketing, or sales. I believe this would help me get a better perspective on the holistic view of what it takes to run a company and understanding ROI analysis.

    Thank you in advance for sharing your evaluation, Linda! Any advice you can share is very much appreciated, including recommendations as to where else I should apply in the west coast if I would not be a good fit for Stanford.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Mary,

      I’m assuming a balanced 720. Target is always an 800. :-) However to be competitive at top programs, 80% on verbal and on quant would be a competitive score, and maybe a little less works too

      I think Stanford is a major stretch for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t apply and try, but I’m not optimistic. If you want to wait a year or two, you might want to consider the Stanford MSx program.

      Look into Haas, UCLA, USC and UC Irvine Merage.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Mary

        Thank you very much for your perspective, Linda. Could you please help share what areas I can work on improving to become a competitive candidate? One of the key takeaways I got is to increase my target GMAT score.

        Thanks,
        Mary

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Mary,

          At the risk of being terribly discouraging, I’m not sure there is a lot you can do. Stanford tends to prefer younger applicants. in addition, while you did very well in both your undergrad and masters studies, those are not exactly Ivy league Schools. And while you have progressed well professionally, it does not appear to be above average. (If I’m wrong that would be in your favor.)

          Obviously you can’t change your age or your past schools. If you really want Stanford, wait a couple of years and apply to Stanford MSx. If you realy want to start next year, consider Wharton EMBA (with a 700+ GMAT) or Haas.

          Best,
          Linda

          • Mary

            Linda,

            I truly appreciate your candid feedback, as well as the time and thought you put into your response. I will consider your advice and look into applying to Wharton EMBA and Haas, in addition to Stanford.

            Cheers,
            Mary

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Mary,

            Thanks for your gracious response to what must have been a disappointing response from me.

            Best,
            Linda

  • brio

    Hi Linda,

    It’d be very helpful to get your viewpoints on my profile as summarized below, and have a quick profile evaluation.
    I’ve read your other profile evaluations, and I liked the way the candidates were getting help from your expertise.

    I’m aiming for an MBA in Entrepreneurship for the overall immersive learning experience, including the skills I learn, the projects I work on with teams.

    B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT in 2012, 8.5/10.0 CGPA.

    770 in GMAT.

    I have worked in a company designing mobile chipsets & now in another company designing WiFi signal processing algorithms, both of which are leaders in these respective fields. I plan to apply for MBA for Fall 2016, by which time I would have 2 years exp of both domains/companies.

    I’m also involved with my company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) group to interact with urban poor, which I would build upon later to get to know the problems poor face which could be solved using technology.

    target schools are Stanford, Haas, MIT Sloan, HBS, Wharton, Kellogg.

    My goal, 6 years from now is to expand my father’s business of Security systems, control systems & also expand / start new venture towards wireless devices.

    I’m a musician, and I have been playing the synthesizer since childhood. My other hobbies are keeping fit, trekking & cycling, martial arts, studying practical psychology.

  • Akshay Bhasin

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks in advance for the assessment.

    1. I have 9 years full time work-experience in the IT technology sector. Post-Graduation, I spent the first 2 years in India working for one of Asia’s largest IT Consultancy firms before moving to the UK. I’m currently working as a Project manager with one of the largest banks in the UK where I currently manage a project portfolio of £25mil.

    2. 710 (V: 38 , Q: 49 , AWA: 5.0) — I took my exam in 2011 so I don’t remember the specific %iles unfortunately but I do remember that both were fairly balanced.

    3. B.Tech in Computer Science from Nagpur University. Graduation year:2005..Graduated with Honours

    I do not have a GPA as my college never provided one but I do have a letter form the university stating what my % means in terms of rank/position.

    4. Volunteered with “Mend the Gap” non-profit in London.

    Working as a junior mentor for start-ups through the “startupbootcamp -fintech” financed events in London.

    5. PRINCE2

    6. Work as a product manager in the tech industry –> VP –> C level

    I’m not sure if this is relevant but I’ll mention it anyway. I got through Georgetown(McDonough) with scholarship a year ago but didn’t join due to various reasons.

    I’m 31 years of age and I am planning to apply to Stanford in Oct 2015.

    Will my age work against me?

    Should I re-take the GMAT?

  • Akshay

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks in advance for the assessment.

    1. I have 9 years full time work-experience in the IT technology sector. Post-Graduation, I spent the first 2 years in India working for one of Asia’s largest IT Consultancy firms before moving to the UK. I’m currently working as a Project manager with one of the largest banks in the UK where I currently manage a project portfolio of £25mil.

    2. 710 (V: 38 , Q: 49 , AWA: 5.0) — I took my exam in 2011 so I don’t remember the specific %iles unfortunately but I do remember that both were fairly balanced.

    3. B.Tech in Computer Science from Nagpur University. Graduation year:2005..Graduated with Honours

    I do not have a GPA as my college never provided one but I do have a letter form the university stating what my % means in terms of rank/position.

    4. Volunteered with “Mend the Gap” non-profit in London.

    Working as a junior mentor for start-ups through the “startupbootcamp -fintech” financed events in London.

    5. PRINCE2

    6. Work as a product manager in the tech industry –> VP –> C level

    I’m not sure if this is relevant but I’ll mention it anyway. I got through Georgetown(McDonough) with scholarship a year ago but didn’t join due to various reasons.

    I’m 31 years of age and I am planning to apply to Stanford in Oct 2015.

    Will my age work against me?

    Should I re-take the GMAT?

  • Akshay

    Sorry about the 1st guest post. I was using my phone to post earlier and must have posted that by mistake.

  • Kevin

    Dear Linda,

    I think it’s great that you’re giving people these advices. I’d like to try as well. I’m Kevin, a 23 year old dutch student.

    1. As a college senior I have no full-time working experience as of yet.

    2. I have not yet done a GMAT test. I’ll aim for 799 (I don’t believe in perfection), but I’ll be satisfied with ~730.

    3. I studied my bachelor of science in business administration at the University of Twente, a respected Dutch technical university, and am know studying economics and regional studies in the Greek University of Macedonia for an optional one-year exchange program.
    My GPA is a 7.5/10 according to the Dutch grading model. The dutch government advices to treat this as an A, if I look at university conversion tables it corresponds to a gpa of ~3.4-3.5/4 according to the US model. Though my gpa is on the low side for Stanford, I did however on average took so many extra curricular courses that my workload was nearly twice as high as normal for most of my second & third year (out of 3). My extra-curriculars consists of electical engineering courses (~1050 hours worth), psychology courses (~400 hours worth), law courses (140 hours worth), and by the end of this academic year about 300 hours in computer science extra, and around 1400 hours in Business Administration & economics courses related hours extra.
    I will graduate this academic year (I got all the requirements to get my bachelor already as I did most of the third-year courses in my second year), I’m only waiting to finish my exchange program. My final bachelor assignment was in the field of improvisational leadership, combining business and military literature, and got a grade comparable to a A+ or 4.0/4.0 in the US.

    4. During my years as a student I was in the organisation of a study tour, completely organised by students, and helped in the creation of courses related to that tour. Helped organised activities for first-year students to socialise with each-other (during my entire first year of study). Was in a council that handled complaints from Electrical Engineering students related to their study/professors.
    And my most significant project is that together with technical students I set up a recognised charity organisation that gave students the ability to work on our own (ambitious) research-satellite. As only non-technical student I was mostly in a project and information management role but I also helped on technical issues. I authord one Business Administration related papers and co-authored 3 technical papers for the biggest conference in the space industry (IAC by the IAF) as well as authoring a paper for a smaller conference by the IAF and presenting, discussing, and promoting our research project at ESA’s main research facility (ESTEC) on invitation.

    5. I got no relevant certificates for MBAs.

    6. My direct career plans after my MBA are to be an (ascociate) project-manager and than to promote to project manager. I want to do this in technical firms with new product development teams, being very close to engineers, I got an obvious preference to the space industry but I’m certainly not limiting myself to that. I’m also very interested in the internet of things and am working on ideas here that I can maybe accomplish at Stanford with all the available facilities (and technical students). Entrepreneuring is also a career path I’m considering.

    I hope you think I’ve got an interesting offer for Stanford. I’m looking forward to your response!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Yes. I think you have a shot at Stanford and should apply there. They may direct you to their deferred admission program since you don’t have full-time work experience. You may also want to consider Yale’s Silver Scholar’s program or HBS 2+2, which also are deferred admission programs.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Matthew

    Hi Linda,

    My name is Matthew, and I would love to get your assessment of my chances with regard to getting into Stanford GSB.

    1) 5 years as a communications systems engineer for a major defense contractor. Progressed to Senior Engineer in less than four years (typically a ~10 year progression). Then transitioned into investment management, where I have worked for 5 years. I now manage portfolios for an RIA with $1.1B in AUM, including a socially responsible mutual fund.

    2) Recently took the GMAT and scored 710 – 41Q/46V, 6.0 AWA, 7.0 IR. I mismanaged my time on the quant and did not score well. I will be retaking next month, and I believe a boost to 750+ is quite within reach.

    3) BS Electrical Engineering at Valparaiso University – 3.7/4.0 GPA, graduated in 2004

    4) I was a decorated member of the Valparaiso University cross country and track teams. I continue to run competitively and recently placed 31st overall in the Chicago Marathon (17th American and top finisher from the state of Illinois). I am currently pursuing the qualifying standard for the Olympic Marathon Trials for 2016.

    I have coached cross country and track at the high school and collegiate levels, and I now serve as the coach for a major Chicago Marathon charity program that raises money to send children with pediatric cancers to a special camp that is designed to give these children a chance to simply be kids as they work through treatment.

    I also serve on the Associate Board of an organization that provides mentoring services to Chicago high schoolers who are first generation college bound. I am the chair of the Programming Committee for the organization and have also served as a mentor.

    5) I recently earned my CFA charter.

    6) I want to continue to work in finance, though in a different capacity than I do now. I am interested in working in private equity, VC, or potentially for a hedge fund. Ultimately I would like to launch my own fund.

    I understand that I am an older applicant for Stanford, but any feedback that you can provide would be very helpful.

    Thank you,
    Matthew

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Hi Matthew,

      You’re welcome.

      Stanford is a stretch school for you. As you note, you are an older applicant and even if you raise your GMAT, that won’t change. At the same time, it isn’t impossible, especially if you raise that quant score.

      At the same time, apply to programs where you are more likely to get accepted and that still support your goals. If your quant score goes up even close to what you anticipate, consider Haas, UCLA, Chicago, Wharton, Columbia, and Tuck.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Daniel

    Looking for Stanford GSB MBA program

    1) Brief
    description of your full-time work experience.

    R. I
    am an IT intrapreneurship executive with 10 years of experience in major and
    booming companies with more than $3 B on revenues.

    Working with development and adoptions of
    new IT services and products offerings through the Latin America market for
    different size of customers and marketing vertical.

    2) GMAT is 710

    3) College info:

    In
    Brazil we don´t have the GPA concept, but my average was 7.9/10 in a Top-10
    university graduation (Mackenzie University) in 2003 and in 2008 I almost
    finished the Best MBA in Brazil (FGV – 15 of 16 disciplines concluded with
    8.3/10 average) , but due a personal issue unfortunatelly I didn’t complete.

    4) Significant college and post-college
    extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership
    experience.

    I am deeply involved with my community
    activities, specially focus on raised funds to help childrens education. I
    always choose to lead multidisciplinary groups instead a big one that reports
    directly to me.

    5) Important certifications Some in a IT
    segment and Six Sigma

    6) Your post-MBA goal: Be recognized for VC
    funds and booming companies as the right executive to develop their companies
    in Latin America.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Daniel,

      I suggest you look into the MSx in Leadership at Stanford or the Sloan Fellows programs at London Business School and MIT.

      You do have a shot at Stanford, but the programs I just mentioned are a better fit for you.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Nino

    Dear Linda,

    I am so happy to have found this opportunity. I’ve gone through your responses and was really impressed on how personalized and valuable they are!
    I’ve been struggling with my Stanford application recently and the deadline is approaching. Could you please evaluate my profile and maybe suggest some other schools as plan B (my favorite is still Stanford)
    Your fast feedback will be appreciated since the deadline is approaching.
    1) I am from Georgia (country), my GPA is 3,7
    2) My GMAT score is 740 (Q50, V41)
    3) I have a 8-years experience at an international commercial bank representative in Georgia, currently work as the Head of Research and Analytic Department
    4) My future plan is to work at one of the top Investment Banking and/or Consulting companies in the US for several years, in order to afterwards lead the representative office of the latest here, in Caucasus and/or post Soviet Union region.

    Thank You i advance

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Nino,

      Stanford is a stretch because it’s Stanford, but otherwise you are competitive. Also consider Wharton, Booth, NYU, and Columbia.

      For application purposes when asked about your goals, choose either consulting and investment banking, whichever appeals more, and go with that. If you say you want consulting or banking, it’s (IMO) too broad to show direction.

      Best,
      Linda