Stanford MBA Essays

Essay Writing Tips and Application Deadlines


Round Application Deadline
R19 September 2021
R25 January 2022
R312 April 2022

Word limit for both essays together: 1050 words. 650 words suggested for the first essay and 400 words for the second.

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

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. You might consider, for example, what makes this so important to you? What people, insights, or experiences have shaped your perspectives?

Additional suggestions from past years

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.

Essay B: Why Stanford? Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them.

Additional suggestions from past years:

A strong response to this question will:

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



Optional Question A

In the Essays section of the application, we ask you to tell us about who you are and how you think Stanford will help you achieve your aspirations. We are also interested in learning about the things you have done that are most meaningful to you. If you would like to go beyond your resume to discuss some of your contributions more fully, you are welcome to share up to three examples (up to 1,200 characters, or approximately 200 words, for each example).

Question: Think about times you’ve created a positive impact, whether in professional, extracurricular, academic, or other settings. What was your impact? What made it significant to you or to others?


Optional Question B

We know that each person is more than a list of facts or pre-defined categories. We are interested in how your background may have influenced your life experiences. In answering this question, consider how your background, such as your work, education, skills, interests, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, where/how you grew up, and/or other factors had an impact on your recent actions and choices (up to 1,200 characters, or approximately 200 words).

Question: Tell us about a time within the last three years when your background influenced your participation in a situation, interaction, or project.


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