Here are some Stanford MBA personal statement examples, as well as tips on how to write an MBA personal statement for Stanford Business School. Stanford has one of the best MBA programs in the US, so getting accepted is very competitive. Your Stanford MBA personal statements are your chance to share who you are with the admissions committee, what you value, and why you want to study at Stanford. In this blog, we’ll cover how to approach writing the Stanford Graduate School of Business admission essays, what the requirements are, and some sample essays to help you.

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How to Write a Stanford MBA Personal Statement Stanford MBA Personal Statement Requirements Stanford MBA Personal Statement Examples FAQs

How to Write a Stanford MBA Personal Statement

The Stanford Graduate School of Business has one of the lowest MBA acceptance rates in the US, and is among the top of MBA rankings, so getting accepted is extremely competitive. You can expect almost all of the candidates who apply to the Stanford MBA program are accomplished, experienced and have impressive academic records. To set yourself apart and make a memorable impact on the admissions committee, use your Stanford MBA personal statement.

Stanford has two MBA admission essay prompts, designed to get to know the applicant behind the professional, academic and extracurricular accomplishments. Stanford asks applicants to think about their goals, dreams, motivations and passions. The essays should be similar to an MBA motivation letter, but have a short-essay format instead, and should dig a little deeper into who you are as a person, rather than what you’ve done and what you aim to do. You can certainly share why you are pursuing an MBA and why Stanford is your top choice, but the essays require a good deal of self-reflection.

Stanford wants to have some insight into your personal values and experiences, so its to your advantage to use a compelling narrative and an attention-grabbing first sentence. Read some MBA personal statement examples for an idea of how to create a strong narrative flow, and start reflecting on the personal experiences that shaped who you are, what your values are and what your future goals are.

It's a good idea to research the opportunities available at Stanford business school, the school’s mission statement and values. In your Stanford MBA personal statement, you can share why your personal values align with the school’s, how your personal values will contribute positively to the program or why Stanford’s focus on social impact and social change are also important to you.

These can be addressed in the “optional essays” short-answer section of the Stanford MBA application, or the additional information section, which prompts students to expand on other aspects of their application. Note that the “additional information” section does not require an essay submission.

Stanford MBA Personal Statement Requirements

Stanford Business School asks applicants to write two short essays or personal statements as part of its MBA requirements. Unlike your

The MBA essay topics for Stanford Graduate School of Business are related to your personal values, motivations and why you want to pursue an MBA at Stanford, specifically.

The prompts for Stanford MBA admissions essays are:

  1. Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. Once you’ve identified what matters most to you, help us understand why. You might consider, for example, what makes this so important to you? What people, insights, or experiences have shaped your perspectives?
  2. Essay B: Why Stanford? Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them. If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs. You may have already answered “Why Stanford” when deciding how to choose the right MBA program.

There is a word count limit of 1,050 for BOTH essays combined. Stanford recommends devoting up to 650 words for Essay A and 400 words for Essay B, though you can come in a little under the word count.

Stanford also recommends having a friend or family member read over your essays to ensure the tone and voice sound like you and are authentic. The school also advises against having someone write the essay for you or writing an essay that isn’t genuinely about you and your experiences. The essays should be authentic and true to who you are.

Avoid using an MBA essay writing service that offers to write your essay for you, but find one that helps coach you on how to write effective personal statements or hire an MBA essay consultant if you need extra help crafting your Stanford essays.

Stanford MBA Personal Statement Examples

Stanford MBA Personal Statement Example #1

Prompt: “What matters most to you, and why?”

From a very young age I learned that change happens to us whether we want it to or not, and that it’s crucial to find a way to move forward anyway. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve learned the true meaning of perseverance, though. Of moving forward through obstacles, hardship and heartbreak without giving up, without backing down. Change happens whether we like it or not, but positive change and impact in society doesn’t happen without perseverance.

I thought I was someone who’d faced a lot of adversity in my life and knew the value of perseverance. I grew up the child of immigrants from Vietnam, learning English as a second language and struggling to reconcile my culture at home and vague memories of my early life in Vietnam with my new life in America. When I was 15, both of my parents were killed instantly in a collision. I moved in with my grandparents. I struggled with depression and anxiety. My grades dropped. I decided to take time away from school, and travel back to Vietnam and reconnect with my roots.

My relatives were warm and welcoming, and they showed me a more rural, quiet life than I was used to. I was shocked when they told me the region was recovering from a drought and hadn’t yet bounced back. Everyone was so generous, smiling despite the hardships they’d faced. They were focused on rebuilding. On the future. One of my family’s neighbors was a woman I will never forget. She lived alone in the nearby village, a long-time resident since she’d fled from her home in Tibet. She’d lost two toes to frostbite during her escape. She’d lost her husband, children, brother and all her friends. Yet she smiled every day. The kids in the village called her “grandma”. She built a new family and a new life. Her ability to pick herself back up after awful circumstances was inspiring. Despite losing everything, she found a way to move forward again.

My trip to Vietnam was my first real lesson in the power of perseverance. When I returned home, I enrolled in university, despite my fears that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I earned a degree in communications and eventually landed a job with Refugees International in public relations. For the last 6 years, it has been my privilege to work towards change. To fight to make a difference in the lives of refugees and displaced persons. I’ve worked on awareness campaigns and initiatives that helped provide resources to refugees around the world, worked with new immigrants to help them start their new lives. Every day, I witness the resilience and perseverance of individuals fighting through incredible hardship. And every day I get the privilege of working with others who continue to fight for the rights of refugees.

As an international organization, my company has projects around the globe, but I have been stationed in the US for my time here. In order to keep growing and flourishing with this organization and the amazing work it does, I need to keep going. I want to keep working with this company around the world and keep bringing attention to the plight of refugees. At one point in my life, I never thought I’d graduate high school, let alone get to the point where I am now. Yet everyday there are tens of thousands persevering through far harsher obstacles than I have faced in my life. I know if I want to remain true to my goal to effect positive change in the lives of refugees around the world, I can get through anything.

Stanford MBA Personal Statement Example #2

Prompt: “Why Stanford?”

Stanford’s commitment to social change, its extensive research into renewable energy and unparalleled opportunities and support for entrepreneurs made it the only choice for me. To achieve my goals and gain the absolute best foundation in entrepreneurial leadership and industry knowledge, I think there is no choice other than Stanford for me. My passion has always been in renewable energy and helping create more affordable, attainable paths to net-zero living.

For the past 3 years I have worked for a startup company that specializes in solar energy installation for private homes and businesses. My goal is to create a business which goes a step further and collaborates not only with private homeowners or businesses but local municipalities to plan and develop net-zero construction and communities. Many companies and local municipalities have already been making commitments or progress towards a net-zero goal, but there is much more that can be done. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I am especially looking forward to the program’s “leadership labs”, where I could ascertain my leadership persona and learn how to mold myself into an effective company leader and a leader in the communities I want to serve. I also look forward to electives such as “Design for Disruption” and “Design for Extreme Affordability”. If my aim is to disrupt the current market with new, innovative ideas and make renewable energy technology more affordable for everyone, these will be critical to my education.

Stanford’s research into “Energy Business Innovations” is an important draw for me, as well. I am excited at the prospect of gaining a deeper understanding of the global energy business and global issues around net-zero energy. It would be a great advantage for me to learn from experts in the field and take advantage of Stanford’s alumni network to speak with global leaders in sustainability and energy, to learn how I might make my own ventures a success in today’s market. Participating in the Stanford GSB Impact Fund and taking courses in social impact and social innovation will be invaluable to me for learning how investors assess startups focused on social and environmental impact and how to attract the right investors.

To launch my entrepreneurial career and start my projects in the right foot, I need the best possible foundation for my own education and knowledge. I can think of no better platform for entrepreneurial success in the long-term than joining the Stanford GSB community.


1. How do I write Stanford GSB essays?

To start, read the prompts provided carefully, and make note of the MBA personal statement instructions. Brainstorm what the prompts mean to you, and start making a list of relevant experiences and points you want to make in your essay. Choose the most impactful or significant experiences, maybe 2 or 3, and organize them into a chronological narrative. Once you have an outline, focus on creating a compelling story that answers the prompt and keep the reader interested in learning more.

If you need extra help with crafting your essay or reviewing your finished draft, you can hire an MBA admissions consulting service to help you.

2. What does Stanford Business School look for in MBA applicants?

Stanford stresses remaining authentic and sharing the “who” you are over what you’ve done in your MBA personal statement. Your essay should be written entirely be you alone, and share important insights into you who are as a person and what you value. It’s also a good idea to research what Stanford’s MBA program focuses on and what its mission statement is. Demonstrate how your values align with the values of the program. For instance, the program has a focus on social impact and social change, so you could share how and why these are important values to you, too.

3. How long should my MBA personal statement be for Stanford?

Your Stanford MBA personal statements should be no longer than 1,050 words, combined. Stanford suggests no more than 650 words for Essay A and no more than 400 words for Essay B.

4. What is the essay format for Stanford MBA?

Stanford MBA uses a short essay format for its admission essays and optional essays. 

5. What are the MBA essays questions for Stanford?

Stanford’s MBA essay questions are “what matters most to you, and why?” and “why Stanford?”

6. How do you stand out to Stanford MBA?

To really stand out at Stanford MBA, your personal statement is your best chance. Use your essays to convey your genuine voice and passions. Use a strong personal narrative and compelling writing ability to make an impression on the admissions committee and set you apart from other candidates.

7. How many essays does Stanford MBA ask for?

Other than the two MBA admissions essays, Stanford gives applicants an opportunity to submit 3 short optional essays.

8. What are Stanford MBA’s optional essays?

The Stanford MBA application has a spot for you to contribute 3 optional essays of no more than 200 words each. The essays ask you to share your most meaningful experiences or experiences where you had a positive impact in the personal, professional or academic sphere, and what made it significant.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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