The essays are a key aspect of your application and are designed to inspire thoughtful reflection.

Your essays help us understand what character traits have propelled you in your career and tell us how the Stanford MSx (Masters in Management) Program is integral to maximizing your impact in the world after receiving your business masters degree.


We require you to write two essays that answer the following prompts:

  1. What matters most to you, and why? For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. Once you have 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. Why Stanford MSx, and why now? Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford MSx experience will help you realize them. Why is this the right time for you to pursue your master’s degree at Stanford GSB?

The admission committee can better engage with your essays if you format them appropriately. We encourage you to:

  • Submit one document with both essays
  • Include the prompt with its respective essay
  • Write concisely (total word count must not exceed 1,050 words)


Both essays combined may not exceed 1,050 words. We recommend up to 650 words for Essay A and up to 400 words for Essay B. We often find effective essays written in far fewer words.

Career Aspirations Short Answer Question (required)

Because the Stanford MSx program is for mid-career managers, it is valuable to have clear career goals in mind when you begin. Beyond a sentence or two, tell us about any specific career goals you have for the next few years, and how you believe the Stanford MSx Program, combined with your experience, education, or background, will help you achieve them. If you choose to explain this in your essay or other portions of the application, you can reference that here (no need to repeat), but be as specific as you can.

Optional Short Answer Question

What do we mean by “optional”? We truly mean you have the opportunity to choose. If you feel that you’ve already described your contributions well in other areas of the application, congratulations, you’re done! If not, feel free to use this opportunity to tell us more.

In the Essays section of the application, we ask you to tell us about who you are and how you think Stanford will help you achieve your aspirations. We are also interested in learning about the things you have done that are most meaningful to you. Perhaps you would like to expand upon a bullet item from your resume and tell us more about the “how” or “why” behind the “what.” Or maybe you have had an impact in a way that doesn’t fit neatly in another part of the application. You are welcome to share up to three examples (up to 1,200 characters, or approximately 200 words, for each example).

Question: Think about times you’ve created a positive impact, whether in professional, extracurricular, academic, or other settings. What was your impact? What made it significant to you or to others?

Qualities of Exceptional Essays

Exceptional essays are authentic: Write about what you are compelled to tell us, not what you believe the admission committee wants to hear. In addition, they:

  • Indicate self-awareness and acknowledge areas for growth opportunities
  • Express an understanding of your effect on others
  • Demonstrate how you want to maximize your impact on the world
  • Showcase your unique worldview and goals by being personal, specific, and honest
  • Detail how you see the MSx Program helping you achieve your goals and how you will leverage your year at Stanford

Additional Information (Optional)

The application provides an additional opportunity for you to share any other pertinent information not otherwise captured in your application. You might use this opportunity to:

  • Describe the circumstances affecting academic or work performance
  • Explain why you are not using a current supervisor as a reference
  • Address an academic suspension or expulsion

Recognized at the Highest Levels

With this elite degree on your resume—and the support of a global community behind you—you will experience exciting new career opportunities.

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Student Tip: Authenticity Matters

“Talk to the accomplishments or challenges that you connect to emotionally, and not necessarily the most prestigious ones. It is easier to write a genuine and moving story if you are emotionally invested in it.”

— Sourabh Chirimar, MS ’19