Stacy Blackman Consulting’s client roster hails from over 30 countries and the company has placed thousands of clients in every top MBA program in the world. We recently spoke with her about how to land a spot on the MBA program at Stanford; see the conversation below.
You can read more about Stacy Blackman Consulting and other MBA application consultants on FIND MBA’s Admissions Consultants directory.
How hard is it to get into the Stanford MBA?
GSB is the most difficult MBA program to gain an admit for in the entire world, with an acceptance rate that usually hovers around six percent. Acceptance rate is always a function of demand for the program. Stanford’s brand is so strong, and thus application volumes are high. Much of demand is driven by its reputation and location, as it is close to the tech capital of the world. Unlike large programs, Stanford’s smaller size means it can’t admit as many students and so the acceptance rate is low. There are limits to admits such as the GSB not being able to accommodate many people from the same firm.
What is Stanford looking for in MBA students?
Stanford seeks outstanding and diverse people who seek a transformative experience at Stanford GSB and in turn, seek to make a significant impact. People who are looking at an MBA as merely the expected next step in getting credentials for their next job will not stand out. The GSB is looking for people who will make a big difference AND have a better shot than most in being able to execute.
Stanford GSB students also seem to have this 'X' factor associated with them. Almost like an 'unexpected' trait, talent, or experience. For example, a Wall Street banker who started a nonprofit or a doctor who was also a professional poker player.
Stanford cares a LOT that students have a genuine interest in making some larger, positive, social impact on the world. Yes, the point of business school is for your own career advancement. But GSB wants that career advancement to amount to broader social advancement, too.
How can prospective Stanford MBA students improve their chances of admission success?
I consistently hear about how the GSB seeks diverse people who seek a transformative experience. The GSB has always prioritized values, ideals and aspirations. Be sure to define and convey core passions and driving motivation shared through several examples: professional, community, personal. And let your guard down: GSB is more willing to consider candidates that took risks, failed, learned from their experiences and bounced back more resilient than ever.
An applicant’s personal narrative is often the most influential factor in the admissions decision process at Stanford GSB. It can be even more predictive of admissions success than rigid categories such as college type, test score, or employer.
Maturity and self-awareness are also key. Ultimately, your experiences probably aren’t that unique, given the huge number of applications GSB will get every year. But it’s how you frame them, reflect on them, and use them to showcase yourself that will set you apart from others.
How can they apply to the MBA? Does Stanford have any unique or noteworthy admissions requirements?
The longtime hallmark of the GSB application is it’s “What Matters Most and Why” essay, one of several GSB essay prompts. There are a couple of more focused essay prompts with room to share other parts of your story in optional short-answer questions. It’s helpful to think about how all the essays and questions relate to each other. Make sure you’re not being redundant in your responses, while also making it a point to highlight various parts of your application in the most applicable section.
Beyond that, academic stats, intellectual horsepower, leadership track record, career clarity, and proven drive are all important to convey in the GSB application.
What is the culture like at Stanford?
Stanford GSB is about personal development and is known to be a supportive culture with students who are humble and collaborative, while also being impressive and accomplished. GSB students share that they are comfortable being their full selves, and deep classmate connections are quickly formed — playing out in powerful ways in both professional and personal lives.