UPDATE- THE TIPS FOR STANFORD’S 2009 MBA APPLICATION ARE NOW ONLINE- Please Post Questions or Comments To The New Post–
Application Received By Notification Date
One 22 October 2007 24 January 2008
Two 7 January 2008 3 April 2008
Three 21 March 2008 15 May 2008
My comments are in red.
Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?
This has been Stanford’s first question for the last several years, and it is one of the hardest, if not the hardest to answer. It demands introspection. Before you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard, take time to think about what you value, how you have demonstrated those values, and why you hold them dear.
- Essay B: What are your career aspirations? How will your education at Stanford help you achieve them?
As a Stanford MBA student, you will be assigned a team of advisors who will guide both your academic experience and your personal development. Your team will include a faculty advisor, a career counselor, and a leadership coach. Use Essay B to help you prepare for your first conversations with these mentors.
- Essay C: Answer 2 of the questions listed below.
In answering both questions in Essay C, tell us not only what you did, but also how you did it. Tell us the outcome and describe how people responded. Describe only experiences that have occurred during the last three years. (emphasis added)
1: Tell us about a time when you empowered others.
Empowering others is one aspect of leadership. It is clearly an important if not defining quality to Stanford (and Tuck, but that’s for a different post.) So when have you empowered others either on the job, in a community service organization, on a sports team, a band…? The possibilities are broad and give you a opportunity to show a different aspect of your background and experience than you provided in A & B or than you will provide in your other C response.
2: Tell us about a time when you had a significant impact on a person, group or organization.
This question is almost identical to last year’s C3, which asked “Tell us about a time when you had a significant effect on a group or individual.” This year’s question includes “organization” so it is slightly broader.
3: Tell us about a time when you tried to reach a goal or complete a task that was challenging, difficult, or frustrating.
Use this question to present a challenge you successfully handled. A PAR approach would work well here, as well as with the other C questions.
In their specificity these questions differ from the open-ended Stanford questions of years past. and from A . Make sure that you answer all parts of the questions you choose to respond to. In choosing your questions, select those that will allow you to write essays that complement Essays A & B. Obviously you also want to show throughout your essays the qualities that Stanford values: intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and the initiative and individualism that permeates the entire Stanford admissions site.
Essay Length & Format
Your answers for all 3 essay questions cannot exceed 7 pages in total, double spaced using a 12-point font.
Each of you has your own story to tell, so be sure you allocate these 7 pages among 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 little as you like on any question, as long as you do not exceed 7 pages total.
- Essay A: 3 pages
- Essay B: 2 pages
- Essay C: 1 page each
- Use a 12-point font, double spaced
- Indicate which essay question you are answering at the beginning of each essay.
- Number all pages
- Preview each uploaded document to ensure that the formatting is true to the original
- Save a copy of your essays
This year’s Stanford’s essay have two new questions and also a slightly different format. Stanford provides suggested length for each essay and requires 12-point font and double-spacing for all essays. However it firmly requests that the total for your 3 essays not to exceed 7 pages. This firm limit marks a change for Stanford. In years past, applicants could write up to 14 pages and stay within Stanford’s guidelines. Last years, Stanford suggested that 7-11 pages would be sufficient, but allowed those with more to express to say it. This year, honor that limit.
At the same time take advantage of Stanford’s flexibility within that limit to tell your story to maximum effect, just as Stanford suggestions.
For one-on-one guidance through the Stanford application, process please check out Accepted.com’s Stanford Application Package or our other MBA essay editing and admissions consulting assistance. Through July 31 Accepted.com is offering an Early Bird Special to MBA applicants: 10% off all essay services. You can start early and save money.
For more tips on writing the Stanford essays, please consider the ebook, MBA BlastOff by Maxx Duffy and me.
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