Stanford GSB essays 2009/2010: the focus is tightened towards results and successes

Stanford’s essays are notoriously “introspective” and give many applicants trouble. Stanford Adcom do really want to get to know the real you through your writing. This year the flavor is the same, but (and possibly to avoid waffle) some important tweaks have been made in the optional essays to shift the focus squarely towards communicating successful results.

Why results? Because successful outcomes are hard to achieve. Anyone can tell a good story, particularly about what great things they may do in the future. That’s important. But if you can twin it with proof of past success, then it sounds like you are likely to hit your targets in life.

Stanford GSB Application Essays

  1. What matters most to you, and why? (750 words recommended)
  2. What are your career aspirations? How will your education at Stanford help you achieve them? (450 words recommended)
  3. Answer two of the four questions below. Tell us not only what you did but also how you did it. What was the outcome? How did people respond? Only describe experiences that have occurred during the last three years. (300 words recommended).
    Option A: Tell us about a time when you built or developed a team whose performance exceeded expectations.
    Option B: Tell us about a time when you made a lasting impact on your organization.
    Option C: Tell us about a time when you motivated others to support your vision or initiative.
    Option D: Tell us about a time when you went beyond what was defined, established, or expected

Here is where successful outcomes results-orientation has been upgraded. In Option A they have added “whose performance exceeded expectations.” Option B used to be “Tell us about a time when you felt most effective as a leader.” Now “the lasting impact” demands a results-oriented perspective. Option D remains from last year: this is a directly results-oriented question.

Stanford GSB Application Deadlines are:
Round 1: October 7, 2009
Round 2: January 6, 2010
Round 3: April 7, 2010

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