Essays for the Stanford MSx Application

Essays help us get to know you as a person and learn what motivates you.

Other parts of the application give insight into your academic and professional accomplishments; the essays reveal the character behind those achievements.

When writing your essays, resist the urge to position yourself as what you think Stanford wants you to be; it will only prevent us from understanding who you really are and what you can accomplish. The most impressive essays are the most authentic.

Questions to Answer

Our essay questions are meant to be straightforward, not trick questions. This is an opportunity for you to share reflections on your life and career and further describe your aspirations.

Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?

Essay B: Why this program now? What are your personal and professional objectives, and how will the Stanford MSx Program help you achieve them?


Your answers to the two essays questions combined may not exceed 1,150 words. We recommend up to 750 words for Essay A and up to 400 words for Essay B.


  • 12-pt. font size
  • Double-spaced
  • Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman font (recommended)
  • Write the question you are answering at the beginning of each essay
  • Number all pages
  • Upload one document that includes both essays

Be sure to save a copy of your essays and preview the uploaded document to ensure that the formatting is preserved.

Editing Your Essays

Begin work on the essays early to give yourself time to reflect, write, and edit.

It is improper and a violation of the terms of this application process to have someone else write or translate your essays. Such behavior will result in denial of your application or withdrawal of your offer of admission.

Additional Information

If there is any information that is critical for us to know and is not captured elsewhere, include it in the “Additional Information” section of the application. Pertinent examples include:

  • Extenuating circumstances affecting academic or work performance
  • An explanation of why you do not have a letter of reference from your current direct supervisor
  • An explanation of any academic suspension or expulsion
  • Work experience that did not fit into the space provided
  • Academic experience (e.g., independent research) not noted elsewhere