Every year, future MBA students wonder how to get into Stanford Business School, one of the most selective business schools in the world. Located in Stanford, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, the school’s programs are built on the pillars of principled leadership, a transformational experience, breakthrough knowledge, and positive impact. Although they attract thousands of applicants each year, only around 6% are accepted, so students applying to this school might consider for extra help. In this blog, you’ll learn more about Stanford Business School’s curriculum, admission requirements, application timeline, tuition costs and expert advice on how to get accepted.
Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa.
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“Our mission is to create ideas that deepen and advance our understanding of management and with those ideas to develop innovative, principled, and insightful leaders who change the world.”
Stanford Business School offers a full-time, two-year MBA program designed to expand your mindset, build your community, challenge you to think boldly, lead from your heart and redefine the future. The school promises an experience like no other MBA program, and they have proof to back it up, since 20% of the individuals on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list are Stanford MBAs, and the school’s MBA graduates raised $1.4 billion in start-up capital in the last 5 years.
Aside from the MBA program, Stanford offers a one-year MSx program for mid-career, experienced professionals to reflect, connect and redefine their careers. Whether that be through an entrepreneurial pursuit, major career shift, or just to advance your career to new heights. The MSx program offers a customizable curriculum so you can pick and choose which courses will best suit the changes you want to bring to your career.
Stanford offers a suite of PhD programs for graduate students, in a variety of fields of study including accounting, economic analysis and policy, finance, marketing, operations, information and technology, organizational behaviour, and political economics.
Stanford Business School students can pursue a joint MBA degree as of their second year at school. These joint degrees include the JD/MBA, MA Education/MBA, MPP/MBA, MS Computer Science/MBA, MS Electrical Engineering/MBA, E-IPER/MBA and MD/MBA.
The first-year curriculum at Stanford Business School’s MBA program focuses on building students’ general management knowledge and gaining global exposure. Students take core required courses with the possibility of one or two electives to tailor their experience to their skills, experience, and future goals. Students are also required to dive into global leadership experiences with the Global Experience Requirement, which offers a variety of programs for students to choose from. The experience challenges students to broaden their perspectives and adapt to a global management mindset.
In their second year, students can further customize their learning with their choice of electives, seminars or through the pursuit of a joint degree. Students can also choose electives outside of their MBA, and attend classes at Stanford University, or enroll in compressed MBA electives courses to free up time to pursue career interests outside of school.
Stanford Business School lastly offers students resources including career and academic advisors to help students craft study plans, career paths and refine the professional skills students need to excel.
Stanford has three rounds of admissions each year. The deadline for Round 1 is in early September, for Round 2 it is in early January, and for Round 3 it is in mid-April. Applicants are given the admissions board’s decision by early December, the end of March and late May for Rounds 1, 2 and 3, respectively.
Admission decisions and interview invitations are posted on the MyStanford.MBA admissions portal and sent to the student’s provided email address. Stanford does not accept early admissions requests.
Stanford Business School hosts regular admissions events, including special events for the MBA program, both online and in-person. Students are also encouraged to sign up for the MyStanford.MBA admissions portal to personalize their admissions journey. The online portal offers application information and tracking, notices of upcoming events and course recommendations tailored to students’ interests.
Although the school doesn’t provide a checklist of the ideal applicants, the admissions board is seeking students to be authentically themselves in their application, and those students who display intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and personal qualities and contributions in their general criteria.
As part of the application process, students will be asked to send their educational history, professional experience, GMAT or GRE scores and two letters of recommendation. Both letters of recommendation need to come from someone who directly supervised you in a professional setting, with one of the letters being from your current employer. Students may also have the chance to share details of their personality and interests in the college essay, an or if they are invited for an interview.
Interested in info on how you can make your personal statement stand out? This video covers one of our top tips:
As one of the most selective MBA programs in the US, Stanford accepts only around 6% of its applicants each year. While the university does accept US citizens, permanent residents and DACA, as well as international applicants, it is an incredibly competitive admissions environment.
Applicants can distinguish themselves by displaying the above qualities of intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and personal qualities and contributions that the admissions board is looking for. Some of Stanford’s MBA graduates include very influential individuals, including world leaders in politics and business. To set yourself apart, it’s recommended not to just come armed with high grades and an application that demonstrates those above qualities we outlined, but show Stanford that you are a collaborative learner, a risk-taker and a have a passion for innovative thinking.
The average GPA of accepted students at Stanford is 3.78, with the median GMAT and GRE score being 733 and 165, respectively. Stanford accepts scores for both the GMAT and GRE, and has no stated preference for either, though most students submit a GMAT score. Nearly 20% of accepted students also already have an advanced degree when they apply for the MBA program.
Most students also have 4-5 years of work experience under their belts before they apply for the Stanford MBA program, so be sure to spruce up your resume with your most relevant professional skills and positions or consider working in your desired field for a few years before applying for the MBA.
Stanford Business School doesn’t require specific courses or undergraduate fields of study to apply for the MBA program. However, the majority of its current accepted students come from engineering, economics, technology and business undergraduate backgrounds. Other fields of study represented include mathematics, social sciences and arts and humanities. If you’re already planning an undergraduate degree in business, carefully consider your options for the .
As far as work experience, students from many professional disciplines are represented, however the current student body has an average work experience of 4.8 years. Extensive and exemplary work experience, no matter your field of study or interest, is beneficial in helping you secure acceptance. Some of the top professional fields represented at investment management; consulting; technology; government, education and non-profit; health care; and arts and entertainment.
Our recommendations, to boost your chance of getting into Stanford Business School, is to keep your GPA as high as possible during your undergraduate degree and to seek exemplary work experiences for a few years before applying. Remember to foster good relationships in your professional positions, as you will need to ask your supervisors for letters of recommendation later.
When you are ready to apply, be sure to book your GMAT or GRE test well in advance so you have time to prepare and get as high a score as possible. If your score is below the average, consider retaking the test if you have enough time to do so before applications close.
Looking to learn more about MBA courses? This video had valuable information that can help you:
The tuition cost for a first-year MBA student at Stanford is $74,706. Total costs, including living expenses, books and materials, transportation and health care fees comes to an estimated $119,964 for single students. For married students, Stanford estimates a total cost of $144,042. Tuition costs include Stanford University Cardinal Care health insurance, but does not include costs associated with the Global Experience Requirement, which adds an extra $3,000-$4,500.
The school offers a variety of financial aid programs and loans to help students. Students can also make use of external scholarships, loans, and sponsorships to offset the cost of attending Stanford Business School.
We’ve already seen that Stanford’s average admitted students demonstrate sky-high test scores and come from impressive professional and academic backgrounds. But the Stanford admissions board selects its students based on a holistic view of their applications. They will consider your academic record, your work experience, your personality and interests, including your MBA personal statement and letters of recommendation, and finally, they consider your admissions interview assessment before they make a final decision.
If your goal is to get into Stanford Business School, you want to make sure every part of your application is as great as it can possibly be, and that it stands out from the crowd of other hopefuls. Let’s break it down by section.
For the personal side of your application, it usually includes an MBA personal statement, which introduces the admissions officers to who you are, where you’re coming from and why you’re applying for the Stanford MBA. Prove to the admissions board that Stanford is the right place for you by including in your statement details of your best achievements as a leader, as part of a team. Write about any time you took a risk that paid off, or the time it didn’t and what you learned from picking yourself back up again. These stories don’t need to be related to business, but they should be personal, insightful stories into what kind of person, and what kind of leader, you will be. You should also include at least two letters of recommendation, from recommenders who can expand on your contributions as a leader. To get some more inspiration for your own, check out .
The application form includes a short answer section, for any meaningful activities, interests or professional experience you want to share with the admissions board that demonstrate your qualities as a leader and forward-thinker.
Whatever academic background you come from or undergrad degree you have before applying, it’s most important to show how your past experiences connect to your desire to get an MBA. More specifically, a Stanford MBA. If you’re coming from an arts background, mention in your personal statement your desire to work in arts and entertainment management, or how it’s always been your dream to be the leader of an arts non-profit organization. Go on about how Stanford, as an institution, will help you achieve this goal because of its focus on fostering leaders who are dedicated to the community and embrace the spirit of innovation.
You’ll need to submit an and two letters of recommendation from professional supervisors. Just as if you were applying for a job, put your most relevant and impressive experiences at the top of your resume. Anytime you received a promotion, award or lead a team project, include specific details of actions you took and skills you demonstrated. Stanford is looking for qualities including strategic thinking, initiative, persistence, results orientation, engaging others, and developing others.
Not sure where to start with your MBA resume? This infographic has some tips to get you started:
When choosing which supervisors you should ask to write your letters of recommendation, be sure to pick the two who know you best, and who have witnessed your development as a leader or as part of their team. One of these supervisors must be your current boss, too.
For the GMAT or GRE test, it’s best to get above the median score, if possible. Take the test well in advance of the application deadline. That way, if you score below your goal, you’ll have time to retake the test before you need to submit it for your application.
The MBA admissions interview at Stanford Business School differs from others in that it is a one-on-one interview not with an admissions board member but with a Stanford MBA alum. Interviews are typically 30 to 60 minutes, including an introduction wherein students can introduce themselves and their interest in the program, followed by behavioural questions, information from the alum on the Stanford experience, and a closing. Sometimes, the interview will be conducted by an admissions officer instead of an alum, depending on circumstances.
Typical will revolve around a student’s personal or professional experiences, including questions such as ‘tell me about a time you showed leadership at work’ or ‘tell me about a defining moment in your life.’ As with all admissions interviews, you can and should prepare answers ahead of time to ace the interview. The admissions board is seeking to learn more about your past experiences and meaningful contributions you’ve made in professional or community atmospheres.
Since it is also conducted by an alum at Stanford, there will be the unique opportunity to as them about their experience in the program you wish to join, so come prepared with a list of questions to ask as well.
The interview process plays out in 7 steps. First, the MBA admissions officer will send you an invitation via email. Second, you inform the officer of your current location, and you will be paired with an interviewer for the interview. Third, you and your interviewer will work together to schedule the interview, usually within a week. Fourth, you will be asked to send a copy of your resume to your interview. Fifth, your interview will be conducted, taking around 30-60 minutes. Sixth, your interviewer will submit a written assessment of you to the admissions board. Finally, the admissions board will consider your entire application and interview assessment to evaluate your candidacy.
Interviews for Round 1 usually take place between early October to late November. Round 2 interviews are held from late January to mid-March, and Round 3 interview schedules are determined after applications are received.
Want to learn more about the different MBA interview question types you may be faced with:
Students are notified of acceptance decisions via email and the MyStanford.MBA student portal. Waitlist information is also sent via email or posted for students to review in the portal. Admissions decisions are typically available by mid-March of every admissions year.
1. What MBA programs are offered at Stanford Business School?
Along with one of the most selective MBA programs in the US, Stanford Business School offers an MSx degree and numerous options in PhD studies for their graduate students.
2. Can I get a joint degree at Stanford Business School?
Yes, there are numerous joint degree programs available at Stanford, including a JD/MBA, MA Education/MBA, MPP/MBA or MS/MBA joint degrees.
3. When can I apply to Stanford Business School?
There are three rounds of applications in the academic year during which Stanford accepts applications. Round 1 applications end in early September, Round 2 ends in early January and Round 3 ends in mid-May of each year.
4. How much is MBA tuition at Stanford Business School?
The yearly tuition cost is $74,706. The total cost of attendance for the first year of the program is estimated at $119,964 for single students.
5. Is there financial aid available for the MBA program?
Yes. Stanford Business School offers a variety of financial aid programs to help students. Students can also seek employer sponsorship or may apply for scholarships based on their situation or identity. There are also external scholarships, federal and private loans available to help cover tuition costs.
6. What are the requirements when applying to the Stanford MBA?
In general, Stanford accepts students with a high GPA average and high median scores on the GMAT or GRE tests. Students are also expected to have extensive professional experience and a strong written application. Most of Stanford’s MBA students come from business, economics, technology and finance-related undergraduate programs and professional backgrounds.
7. What is the interview format at Stanford MBA?
Stanford uses a one-on-one, in-person interview format. Most of the time, students are interviewed by a Stanford MBA alum, although an admissions officer may also be present.
8. What is the average GPA for Stanford MBA students?
Stanford MBA students’ average GPA is 3.78.
9. What is the average GMAT score for Stanford MBA students?
The median accepted GMAT score for Stanford MBA students is 733.
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Your friends at BeMo
BeMo Academic Consulting
Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results.