The Stanford MBA Program and Admissions Process


[MUSIC] Hi everyone, my name is Sabah Khan and
I’m on staff in the MBA admissions office. I’m excited to spend the next 15
minutes with you talking about the MBA program experience as well
as the admission process. Those of you who are joining us today
are probably thinking deeply about your future. If you’re in this room, you’re wondering how to make a big
decision like pursuing a graduate degree. You might be asking yourself questions
like what do I really want to do. How will the management degree from
Stanford help me accomplish what it is I aspire to achieve? And can I get in? Where your journey at the GSB
begins is by asking yourself this deceptively simple question of what
do I want to be when I grow up? Harking back to that feeling that you had
as a child where anything was possible, imagine the types of choices you might
make if you had no fear of failure, if you weren’t afraid of taking risks, if you
let go of pressures you might be facing based on what your peers are doing or what
your family or colleagues expect of you. Ultimately, would that enable you
to follow your own true north? Our philosophy is that there’s no
reason not to follow your heart. Success is not an end goal unto itself but
it’s actually the byproduct of pursuing your passions
and your strengths and your motivations. And what those are is totally
unique to each of you. At the end of the day, greatness is
achieved by people who have big dreams and are doing what they truly love to do. No matter what your dream is,
getting there will be a journey. At Stanford our goal is to help you
build the knowledge, skills, and relationships that you need
to navigate that journey. Our school’s tag line is change lives,
change organizations and change the world. With two years here you’ll be better
equipped to do each one of these things. And you’ll also undergo a fundamental
change within yourself as a person. We equip you for your personal,
intellectual, and professional journey
in four distinct ways. First, the GSB can shape how you dream,
how you create, how you innovate. Secondly, at Standford,
you’ll learn more about yourself and how to lead others effectively. Third, the GSB can change your
sense of place in the world. And finally, the GSB will
enable you to develop lifelong relationships with your classmates. So let’s talk about each
one of these changes. The first relates to how you think. Stanford and Silicon Valley are pretty
much one and the same geographically. Our borders are completely porous. We see ourselves as being
embryonic to innovation. We offer design courses here at Stanford
as well as at the design school on campus, which is also known as the D school. Students in these courses come
from across the entire university. So you could be working jointly on
a problem with students from the medical school, the law school, PhDs in the
sciences or arts, and you’re collectively working together on concepts and
prototypes to help serve unmet needs. This level of collaboration allows you
to understand what assumptions you might be making about an issue because of
your particular discipline or background. This enables you to see things from
another point of view, and that’s a huge part of the so called secret sauce to
innovation that happens here at Stanford. The second way that Stanford helps you
change is by deepening your understanding of yourself, and this enables you to
influence others more impactfully. At the GSB, our leadership curriculum
is based around answering this question of why should someone follow me? You’ll be encouraged to step out of your
comfort zone as you develop the skills that will result in your
becoming a stronger leader. In a class called Interpersonal Dynamics
colloquially known on campus as touchy feely, you’ll learn all about how
what you say makes other people feel. This has a direct impact on
whether you’re able to inspire and motivate the people around you. In another class called Leadership Labs,
you’ll culminate the end of the quarter in a full day
exercise called the Executive Challenge. In this simulation you’re refining your
skills with the help of alumni to actually role play what it would be like
to have a seat at the table in a leadership position. The third way the Stanford experience
helps you change is by expanding your sense of place in the global citizenry. In today’s world we’re all aware
that business challenges involve understanding people who
are different from you. Deals can literally be made or broken over understanding the norms
of doing business abroad. And so in order to foster that
sense of global understanding, we have a requirement at the GSB that you
experience a country you’ve never lived or worked in before in order to graduate. There are an entire portfolio of
experiences that you can choose from, including global study trips,
summer internships, an exchange program with Shanhai University, or
you could petition to create your own. There’s no one size fits all. Across the whole portfolio,
the goal is to help you better understand what challenges are being
encountered internationally? And how are those problems being solved? In what ways could you learn
from those solutions and apply that learning to a situation
that is relevant for you? Finally, at Stanford, you will be changed by the relationships
that you form here in the MBA program. Outside of all of the ways
that learning happens here what we hear from our alum and
students all over the world is that their biggest takeaway from the experience
was the community itself. The learning environment here
is incredibly collaborative. Students here have a norm
of grade non-disclosure. That means your GPA is
not on your resume and you don’t share it with your classmates. This really facilitates
academic risk taking, and it increases the amount
that you all work together. Another example of our amazing close knit
community here is a series that happens every week in a student
led series called Talk. This is where students share deep
insights about their lives and their aspirations in a vulnerable
personal and authentic way. In a class of about 400,
this allows you to deepen and elevate your relationships from being classmates
to developing lifelong friendships. And this close knit community extends to
faculty and staff and alumni as well. I’m going to sum up with a quote
that’s engraved on the cornerstone of the Knight Management Center, our campus
here, and it says we’re dedicated to the things that haven’t happened yet and
the people who are about to dream them up. And we hope that you are those people,
people who aspire to huge levels of greatness and seek careers with impact and
lives of meaning. Now, let’s talk about admissions. If you’re wondering how to get in, the truth is I don’t have any
closely guarded secret formulas. They just don’t exist. But luckily,
you don’t need a secret formula. What you do need you already have, which
is the ability to tell us about yourself as well as convey how Stanford
will help you achieve your dreams. In terms of criteria, we’re looking for
three primary things. The first is intellectual vitality. This includes your academic aptitude. We are a rigorous quantitative programme. We want to know that you’ll succeed here. We also understand that a lot of
your aptitude is enabled by your attitude towards learning. We want to have a sense of your
curiosity and your desire to learn. The second thing we look for
is your demonstrated leadership potential. Fundamentally, this boils
down to your results. What have you done and
how have you done it? What is the impact that you’ve had in
your professional organization and workplace or
in the community that you’re a part of? The third thing we’re looking for
are your personal qualities and how they contribute to your class. To understand who you are a person,
your experiences, beliefs, passions, dreams, your ambitions and how they’ll
form the community here at Stanford. Where we find evidence of those three
things is throughout your application. We look at your transcripts,
there’s no minimum GPA requirement. We don’t have any pre required courses or
preferences for particular majors or schools. We also look at your test scores. Either the GMAT or the GRE is required. We don’t have a preference
between the two. You can take either exam and, like your GPA,
there’s no minimum test score requirement. We’re trying to understand
overall academic experiences. We also look at your activities and
work history. You can contribute to Stanford
at any stage of your career, regardless of your tenure,
what industry you’re working in, or where in the world you
might be applying from. We want to understand where your
leadership potential has been demonstrated, and we get a lot of sense
of that from your letters of reference. We require two of them. One should come from your
current direct supervisor. Now there might be reasons
why that’s challenging. For example, if your direct immediate
supervisor is not aware that you’re applying or has only known you for
a short time, if you work in a family business,
if you run your own company. If that’s your situation,
think about the next best alternative. Maybe a former manager, a client,
someone you’ve been held accountable too. Think about people who
know you really well, and can give us detailed information about
your results and your potential. The second letter of recommendation
should come from someone else who has supervised your work. We find that the strongest references do
come from a professional environment, but you could select a reference from
an extracurricular activity. Having two letters from the same
organization is totally fine. We also ask a couple of essay questions. What matters to most to you and why? And then why Stanford? There’s also an optional short answer
question, which asks you to think about times that you’ve created a positive
impact, whether in a professional, extracurricular, academic,
or other setting. What was your impact and what made
it significant to you or to others? The best way to stand out in this
process really is to be yourself. What we’re actually seeking are candidates
who have a level of depth and insight and awareness about yourselves, and
your ability to share that with us. No one else can be you better than you,
so take the time to reflect deeply on yourself when you’re writing your essays
and putting together your application. Finally, we offer
interviews by invitation. Typically these are with our alumni
conducted all over the world. So when you are invited to interview we’ll
match you with someone in your area. Interviews take about 45 minutes. They’re behavioral, so questions like
tell me about a time when x, y, z. This gives you a chance to put your
experiences in your own words, and to also ask any questions that you might
have about the Stanford experience. So we’ve talked about what we look for
in evaluating your application. What we don’t evaluate as
part of the admission process are your financial resources. The admission process is need blind. That means that we evaluate
your application without any knowledge of your financial situation. Once we’ve selected which
students are admitted, we immediately introduce you
to our financial aid process. Our financial aid revolves around
three core values which are access, excellence, and equity. Financial aid is awarded solely based
on your level of financial need. That includes both fellowship funding,
which is money you don’t have to pay back, and loans, which is money that
you pay back with interest. The average MBA fellowship
is $38,000 per year. Stanford GSB students are fortunate. They have one of the highest
starting salaries at graduation, and one of the lowest levels of total debt. Both US citizens and
international students are eligible for the same types of fellowships and loans. Stanford does not require a US cosigner
for loans for international students. The bottom line is if you’re admitted,
we will work with you to figure out how to get you launched
on your path to the GSB, and ultimately, to changing lives, changing
organizations, and changing the world. Thank you for taking the time to learn
more about the Stanford MBA program. If you have questions, feel free to
contact our office, you can call us, you can email us. We really look forward to staying
in touch and goodbye for now. [MUSIC]

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