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Journey to my MBA

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stanford Essays for 06-07


We read the essays to get to know you as a person and to learn about the ideas and interests that motivate you. Because we want to discover who you actually are, resist the urge to "package" yourself in order to come across in a way you think Stanford wants. Such attempts simply blur our understanding of who you are and what you can accomplish.
Essay Questions for Fall 2007

Please answer essay questions A, B, and C. We provide recommended lengths for each essay, but these are only guidelines. Most applicants will find 7-11 pages (in total) sufficient. If your responses total more than 11 pages, you need to upload the remaining pages in the Additional Information section.

* Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?
(Recommended length is 3-4 pages, double-spaced)
* Essay B: What are your career aspirations? How will your education at Stanford help you achieve these?
(Recommended length is 2-3 pages, double-spaced)
* Essay C: Short Essays—Options 1-4
Please answer two of the questions below. In answering each question, please tell us not only what you did, but also how you did it. Describe what you felt, said, and thought during these experiences. Tell us the outcome, and describe how people responded. Your responses should describe experiences that have occurred within the last three years.

Option 1: Tell us about a time when you did something that was not established, expected, or popular.
(Recommended length is 1-2 pages, double-spaced)

Option 2: Tell us about a time when you felt effective or successful.
(Recommended length is 1-2 pages, double-spaced)

Option 3: Tell us about a time when you had a significant effect on a group or individual.
(Recommended length is 1-2 pages, double-spaced)

Option 4: Tell us about a time when you tried to reach a goal or complete a task that was challenging, difficult, or frustrating.
(Recommended length is 1-2 pages, double-spaced)

In other parts of the application, we learn about your academic and professional accomplishments (i.e., what you have done). Through your personal essays, we learn more about the person behind the achievements (i.e., who you are). This is the time to think carefully about your values, your passions, your hopes and dreams. In your short answer responses, we learn more about the experiences that have shaped your attitudes, behaviors, and aspirations.

We want to hear your genuine voice throughout the essays that you write. Truly, the most impressive essays are those that do not begin with the goal of impressing us.
Editing Your Essays

Begin work on these essays early, and feel free to ask your friends and family members to provide constructive feedback. When you ask for feedback, ask if the essay’s tone sounds like your voice. It should. Your family and friends know you better than anyone else. If they do not believe that your essays capture who you are, how you live, what you believe, and what you aspire to do, then surely the Committee on Admissions will be unable to recognize what is most distinctive about you.

However, there is a big difference between "feedback" and "coaching." There are few hard and fast rules, but you cross a line when a piece of the application ceases to be exclusively yours in either thought or word (excluding the letter of reference, which should be exclusively the recommender’s in thought and word).

Appropriate feedback occurs when you show someone your completed application, perhaps one or two times, and are apprised of errors or omissions. In contrast, inappropriate coaching occurs when either your essays or your entire self-presentation is colored by someone else. You best serve your own interests when your personal thoughts, individual voice, and unique style remain intact at the end of your editing process.

It is a violation of the spirit of the Fundamental Standards and Honor Code to have someone else write for any part of your Stanford MBA Program application. Such an act will result in denial or your application or withdrawal of your offer of admission.
Essay Format and Instructions

* Please use at least a 10-point font, double spaced, and make sure it is easy to read.
* Indicate which essay question you are answering at the top of each page.
* Number all pages.
* After you upload your documents to your application, please preview each document to ensure that the formatting is true to the original.
* Save a copy of your essays.

Additional Information

If there is any other information that is critical for us to know and is not captured elsewhere, please include it in this section of your application. Please do not include additional essays.

Examples of pertinent additional information include:

* Extenuating circumstances affecting academic or work performance.
* Explanation of why you do not have a Letter of Reference from your current direct supervisor.
* Explanation of criminal conviction, academic suspension or expulsion, and/or failing grades.
* Any other information that you did not have sufficient space to complete in another section of the application. Please begin the information in the appropriate section.
* Additional work experience that cannot fit into the space provided.


You have an opportunity to describe your extracurricular activities in your application. This is an excellent way for us to understand your unique experiences and insights and to come to know you personally. No club, community, or professional activity is more important than another. With activities, a sustained depth of commitment in one or two activities may demonstrate your passion more than minimal participation in five or six organizations.

Please note that there are separate sections in the online application for you to report activities during and after university/college. Examples of activities in which you are/have been involved may include charitable, civic, community, and professional.


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