Stanford Graduate School of Business 2020-2021 MBA Essay Tips and Application Deadlines

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Applying to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business can be a daunting process. If nothing else, the competition is fierce. But on the other hand, the school’s admissions committee has done just about everything they can to clarify what they’re looking for in b-school applications.

 

For admission in the fall of 2021, Stanford has three rounds of deadlines:

 

  • Round one: September 15, 2020
  • Round two: January 6, 2021
  • Round three: April 6, 2021

 

For many applicants at the start of the process, applying to an elite business school means proving that you’re the “best of the best”.

 

Of course, realistically, there are a whole lot of students who can be considered “the best”. At Stanford, they lay out their evaluation criteria pretty explicitly: they are seeking applicants who have demonstrated intellectual vitality, leadership potential, and diverse personal qualities and contributions.

 

Understanding the adcom’s evaluation criteria can go a long way toward helping applicants figure out what to discuss in Stanford’s very broad MBA essay topics. For example, the first MBA application essay prompt is:

 

What matters most to you, and why?

 

Before you begin crafting your MBA essays, it’s worth considering what your application as a whole says about you. If your transcripts and test scores make it clear that you’re a top student, your essays don’t necessarily need to focus as heavily on your intellectual vitality.

 

Of course, that doesn’t mean that your essays should only focus on shoring up your weak spots. By all means, highlight your strengths! Just remember that no part of your application will be read or reviewed in a vacuum.

 

Stanford GSB expands on this question with the advice, “For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. Once you’ve identified what matters most to you, help us understand why… What people, insights, or experiences have shaped your perspectives?”

 

This first essay is the ideal place to show what you will bring to your Stanford cohort.

 

Much like a pageant show talent section, it’s hard to know what will resonate. But what matters most is showing a skill that can apply to the wider world, both in terms of business and in terms of education.

 

It’s not enough to say you’re passionate about mountain climbing, urban green spaces, classical music, access to literacy. What have you done to advance your interests? Anyone can say something matters – how have you shown it?

 

To be quite honest, for this specific question the “why?” is almost an afterthought. Anyone can share a sob story, whether their own or that of someone they love. What Stanford, and most top business schools, are looking for is someone who knows how to translate that passion into action.

 

Writing the Second 2020-2021 Stanford GSB Application Essay

 

The second Stanford MBA application essay prompt reads:

 

Why Stanford?

 

Talk about a straightforward question. You should expect to explain “Why our school?” in one form or another for every business school you apply to. At Stanford, the school itself offers a little extra guidance – “Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them.”

 

Of course, no other time in recent history has required quite as much guesswork when it comes to this type of application essay.

 

But maybe that’s the point: ideally, an elite business school education won’t just prepare you for the world where you currently live. Instead, it will teach you to adapt and grow in societies, cultures, and times you might never have imagined.

 

If that’s the type of education you’re looking for, you might be in the right place. All you have to do is to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you’re looking for an education for the long haul, not a jobs program for the next three years.

 

Changes for COVID-19

 

As with everything surrounding the novel Coronavirus, Stanford GSB’s response is evolving rapidly. As of mid-July 2020, the school has not yet revealed whether they will be holding classes in person, online, or as a hybrid format. However, the school is celebrating the reversal of “recent [federal government rules] that would have forced many international students to leave the country.”

 

While in-person admissions events are canceled for the foreseeable future, Stanford offers a wide range of virtual admissions events for applicants around the world.

 

Are You Ready to Apply to Business School?

 

One of the most important things you learn in business school is to open up your horizons. If you’re asking yourself if you’re ready to apply for an MBA, it might just be because you’ve outgrown your current career path.

 

If you’re looking for help when navigating a new path, EXPARTUS can help.

 

We don’t just help people write killer MBA application essays – we can also give you advice on narrowing down your ideal school list, preparing for MBA interviews, and choosing the right people for your recommendation letters. To learn more about what we can do for your business school journey, get in touch at 844-259-4506 or email us at info@expartus.com.

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