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 MSx Program is integral to maximizing your impact in the world.
We require you to write two essays that answer the following prompts:
- 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?
- Why Stanford MSx, and why now? Please 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)
Please tell us about what you aspire to do in your career. How will the Stanford MSx Program, combined with your experience, education or background, help you achieve your career goals? Be specific. (up to 1,200 characters, approximately 200 word limit)
Optional Short-Answer Questions
The required essays shed light on who you are and how you imagine 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. In this section, we provide an optional opportunity to go beyond your resume to discuss some of your contributions more fully. What do we mean by “optional?” We truly mean you have the opportunity to choose. In evaluating your application, we want to know who you are, what you have done, and how your background may have influenced your experiences. If you feel that you’ve already addressed these questions well in other areas of the application, congratulations, you are done! If not, feel free to use this opportunity to tell us more by answering one or both questions.
Please do not include your short-answer response in your essays upload; use the text boxes provided in the application.
Optional Short-Answer Questions
Optional Question 1: 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? You are welcome to share up to three examples. (Up to 1200 characters, approximately 200 words, for each example)
Optional Question 2: Tell us about a time within the last three years when your background influenced your participation at work or community. (up to 1100 characters, approximately 180 words)
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
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