Top Tips to Get Into the Best US MBAs: Stanford Graduate School of Business |

Top Tips to Get Into the Best US MBAs: Stanford Graduate School of Business

By Linda M

Updated May 19, 2021 Updated May 19, 2021

Stanford GSB offers one of the world's best MBA programmes with a fierce admissions cycle. Here's everything you need to know about maximising your chances of getting in. 

Getting into an MBA programme isn’t an easy job, especially if you dream of securing a spot at one of the most sought-after American business schools such as Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Ranked best in the world in the QS Global MBA Rankings 2021, Stanford GSB’s faculty includes three Nobel Prize winners, two John Bates Clark Award winners and 15 members of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences.

Here are our top tips to help you stand out in every step of the application process.

Meet the average

Similar to the Wharton admission cycle, getting good test scores and having a high GPA can increase your chances of getting into Stanford GSB.

In fact, the MBA class profile at the school boasts some of the highest average test scores across North American business schools. You’ll want to ensure you can meet – or even surpass – the standard candidate performance for the programme.

The average GMAT score of a Stanford MBA candidate from the Class of 2022 is 733. For GRE test-takers, the average verbal score is 165 and the average quant score is 164.

The average GPA is 3.8. However, remember this only applies to candidates who attend universities with a 4.0 grading system.

For non-native English speakers who are required to take the TOEFL, the average score is 113.

Don’t pretend to be a tech entrepreneur

Because of Stanford’s ideal location between San Jose and San Francisco, you might be thinking it’ll be difficult to get accepted if you don’t present yourself as a tech entrepreneur hoping to advance your career in the Silicon Valley region.

The truth is, Stanford’s admissions committee specifies the school doesn’t expect candidates to all fit into one mould. MBA students from the Class of 2022 come from a wide range of industries, including investment management, venture capital, consulting, government and education, arts, healthcare, energy and financial services.

As Lisa Giannangeli, MBA admissions director at Stanford GSB, told TopMBA: “We consider applications holistically, and take into account factors such as your background, experiences, perspectives, fit with Stanford GSB and its MBA programme, aspirations, values and accomplishments.

“We want to hear your genuine, authentic voice ‘packaging’ yourself into what you think Stanford wants to see will only prevent us from understanding who you really are and what you hope to accomplish.”

Focus on what you’re being asked

Stanford GSB uses three criteria to evaluate MBA applicants: intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and personal qualities and contributions.

The school requires applicants to submit two essays of between 400 and 650 words each.

  • Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?
  • Essay B: Why Stanford?

To you, these might either seem like suspiciously easy or incredibly difficult questions to answer. Regardless, admissions committees at the school specified that these are not meant to trick you, but rather to see whether you have sense of self and to get insight into what makes you unique.

When writing your essays, make sure you hit all these points:

  • Answer the “whys”: The “whys” are the most crucial component of both essays. Successful candidates are not those who can tell the wildest or most profound stories, but those who pay close attention to the school’s prompt and are able to answer all parts of the question with honesty and evidence.
  • Connect the dots: While the two essays are posed as separate questions, finding connections between the two might give your application a boost. For example, after discussing what matters to you the most in Essay A, find a way to relate to it in Essay B, explaining how Stanford either champions or can help you achieve it.
  • Be aware of your impact: Even though the school isn’t looking for a specific type of candidate, admissions committees will want to see that you’re not only self-aware, but that you also understand how you can make an impact on the world. When structuring your essays, think about what your vision for the future is, and how you can convey your ambitions and show your leadership potential.

This article was originally published in May 2021 .

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 


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