How to Get into Stanford MBA: A Step-by-Step Guide



Getting into Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) MBA program is a highly competitive process that requires diligent preparation and a strong application. Stanford GSB is one of the top-ranked business schools in the world and has a highly selective admissions process, with an acceptance rate of around 6%. Therefore, getting into Stanford GSB is not easy.

how to get into stanford mba

In this blog post, we will provide you with valuable insights, tips, and a step-by-step guide on how to navigate the admissions process and increase your chances of getting into Stanford MBA. Let’s first look at what qualities does Stanford MBA admissions committee look for in applicants.

What qualities does Stanford GSB look for in applicants?

Stanford GSB does not have a checklist for applicants, as they believe there is no typical Stanford MBA candidate. Instead, they emphasize the importance of authenticity and encourage applicants to ensure their application truly reflects their unique candidacy.

However, Stanford GSB evaluates applicants based on three main criteria:

How You Think

The admissions committee looks beyond grades and test scores to assess an applicant’s intellectual capacity. They want applicants to reflect on instances where they expanded their knowledge, tackled challenging problems, and gained new perspectives. Sharing these experiences allows the committee to understand how an applicant’s life experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, can enrich the Stanford GSB learning community.

How You Lead

Stanford GSB believes that past actions are a strong predictor of future actions. Leadership potential is a crucial factor, regardless of one’s position or title. The admissions officers are interested in hearing about instances where applicants took initiative, overcame obstacles, collaborated with others, and made a positive impact within their immediate surroundings. The application forms, resumes, letters of recommendation, and the optional short-answer question provide opportunities to elaborate on these experiences.

How You See the World

Stanford GSB values the diversity of perspectives and backgrounds among its students. They want applicants to reflect on their values, beliefs, identities, and goals in their application essays. Understanding how an applicant’s upbringing has influenced their decisions and future aspirations is important. Stanford’s collaborative teaching model thrives on a rich tapestry of ideas and approaches, making it vital to admit applicants who can contribute to the diversity of the MBA class.

It is crucial for applicants to spend time introspecting and being confident in their own identity. Stanford GSB emphasizes that there is no “typical” or “ideal” MBA student, and they value genuine and authentic applications.

How to get into Stanford MBA program

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the application process for Stanford GSB:

Research the school and the program

Before applying, it is important to understand the school’s values, culture, and academic programs. Read about the curriculum, professors, alumni network, and any special programs or initiatives offered by Stanford GSB. Attend information sessions or webinars, talk to alumni or current students, and visit the campus if possible. Assess your academic and professional qualifications to determine if you meet Stanford GSB’s admission criteria. Look at the average GPA, GMAT/GRE scores, and work experience of admitted students. Identify any gaps in your profile that need improvement and consider if Stanford GSB is the right fit for your goals and aspirations. For example, the average GMAT score for the class of 2024 is 737 and therefore, you should assess your GMAT score in comparison to 737. Your goal should be to score 750+ on the GMAT to make sure your application stands a good chance.

Here is the class profile for the latest class i.e., class of 2024. Get a more detailed look at Stanford’s class profile.


  • Applications Received by Stanford GSB – 6,152
  • Total Enrolled – 424
  • Enrollment rate – 6.9%

Test Scores, GPA, and work experience

  • Average work experience – 4.9 years
  • Average GPA – 3.76 on a 4-point scale

GMAT Score

  • Average GMAT – 737
  • GMAT Range: 630-790

GRE Score

  • Average GRE Quant – 163
  • Average GRE Verbal – 164

Average TOEFL score – 113

Undergraduate Major

Undergraduate MajorPercentage of Stanford MBA Class of 2024
Social Sciences20%

Pre MBA industry

Pre-MBA industry% of Stanford MBA Class of 2024
Investment Management/Venture Capital/Private Equity20%
Consumer Products & Services7%
Financial Services4%
Health Care5%

Take the GMAT or GRE

The GMAT or GRE is a required component of the application process. Prepare for the exam by studying the test format, taking practice exams, and considering test preparation courses or tutors. Here are a few reasons why these standardized test scores are important:

Academic Aptitude: The GMAT or GRE scores provide an assessment of an applicant’s quantitative, verbal, and analytical abilities. Stanford GSB seeks candidates who possess strong academic aptitude, as the program is rigorous and requires analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Comparison Among Applicants: The GMAT or GRE scores provide a standardized metric that allows the admissions committee to compare applicants from different academic backgrounds and institutions. It helps them evaluate applicants’ relative strengths in a fair and consistent manner.

Program Preparedness: The GMAT or GRE scores give an indication of an applicant’s readiness for the academic challenges of an MBA program. Stanford GSB wants to ensure that admitted students have the necessary skills and aptitude to succeed in the program’s rigorous coursework.

Here are a few tips from Stanford MBA admissions officers:

Gain work experience

Stanford GSB values real-world experience, so aim to gain significant work experience before applying. Seek internships, part-time jobs, or full-time positions that allow you to develop leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Look for opportunities to make an impact and take on challenging projects.

Here are some reasons why work experience is important for Stanford GSB admissions:

Demonstrated Leadership: Stanford GSB seeks applicants who have demonstrated leadership skills through their professional experiences. Admissions committee members evaluate the quality and nature of work experience to determine whether the applicant has taken on leadership roles, made an impact, and achieved results.

Real-World Experience: Work experience provides a practical, real-world context that can enrich the academic experience of an MBA program. Students who have worked in different industries or roles bring diverse perspectives and can contribute to class discussions and projects.

Networking Opportunities: Work experience also provides opportunities to build a professional network, which can be valuable both during and after an MBA program. Stanford GSB looks for candidates who can contribute to the school’s collaborative culture and bring a diverse range of experiences and perspectives to the classroom.

Career Goals: Admissions committee members evaluate an applicant’s career goals and whether their past work experience aligns with those goals. Candidates with relevant work experience and clear career aspirations demonstrate a sense of purpose and focus that can be attractive to the school.

Maturity and Professionalism: Work experience can demonstrate a candidate’s maturity, professionalism, and ability to navigate complex organizations and situations. Admissions committee members look for candidates who have demonstrated these qualities in their work experience.

Request letters of recommendation

Choose recommenders who know you well and can speak to your strengths, accomplishments, and potential. Provide them with relevant information about your goals and experiences to help them write compelling letters. Give your recommenders ample time to complete the letters before the application deadline. Here are a few tips from Stanford MBA admissions officers on letters of recommendation:

Craft a compelling application essay

Your application essay is an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities, experiences, and aspirations. Be authentic, reflect on your personal and professional journey, and clearly articulate why Stanford GSB is the ideal place to achieve your goals. Show how you will contribute to the Stanford GSB community. Here are a few expert tips on how to write a compelling essay for Stanford MBA admissions.

Demonstrate leadership and extracurricular involvement

Demonstrating leadership and extracurricular involvement is essential for Stanford MBA admissions because it shows that an applicant has a well-rounded personality and has developed important skills beyond academic achievements.

Stanford GSB is interested in admitting students who can make a positive impact in their learning community and eventually in the business world. Participating in extracurricular activities and taking leadership positions in them, such as leading a team or organizing an event, demonstrates an applicant’s ability to collaborate, communicate, problem-solve, and motivate others. These are valuable skills that are necessary for success in business.

Furthermore, the admissions committee believes that an applicant’s past actions are the best predictor of future actions. Thus, demonstrating leadership and extracurricular involvement is an indication of an applicant’s potential to contribute to the business world as a leader and innovator.

Therefore, engage in activities that demonstrate your leadership potential and passion for making a positive impact. Get involved in clubs, organizations, or community initiatives where you can contribute and showcase your ability to lead, collaborate, and create change.

Prepare for the interview

If invited, prepare for the admissions interview by researching common interview questions and practicing your responses. Reflect on your experiences, values, and goals, and be ready to articulate them effectively. Demonstrate your knowledge of Stanford GSB and convey your fit with the program.

Here is some valuable advice from Kirsten Moss, Assistant Dean and Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid.

Submit a complete and error-free application

Review your application thoroughly to ensure it is free of grammatical errors, typos, and inconsistencies. Submit all required documents, including transcripts, test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation, well before the deadline.

Is Stanford GSB your dream school?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Stanford Graduate School of Business is highly regarded for several reasons:

Academic Excellence: Stanford GSB offers a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum that blends business fundamentals with innovative thinking. The school is known for its exceptional faculty who are thought leaders in their respective fields.

Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Stanford GSB is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, providing unparalleled access to a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. The school fosters a culture of innovation and supports aspiring entrepreneurs through various programs, resources, and networks.

Collaborative and Diverse Community: Stanford GSB attracts a diverse and talented student body from around the world. The collaborative environment encourages students to learn from one another’s experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds, fostering a rich and inclusive learning community.

Global Perspective: Stanford GSB offers numerous global opportunities, including study trips, international internships, and exchange programs. The school emphasizes the importance of understanding global business dynamics and prepares students to thrive in a globalized economy.

Thought Leadership and Impactful Research: Stanford GSB is renowned for its cutting-edge research and thought leadership in various business disciplines. The faculty and students engage in groundbreaking research that influences business practices and drives positive societal change.

Extensive Alumni Network: Stanford GSB has a vast and influential alumni network that spans industries and continents. The alumni community offers mentorship, networking opportunities, and career support, which can be immensely valuable in advancing professional goals.

Why Stanford’s MBA Admissions Process is Highly Competitive

The admissions process at Stanford GSB is highly competitive due to several factors:


Stanford GSB receives a large number of applications each year but admits only a small percentage of applicants. The school seeks exceptional candidates who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership potential, and a strong fit with the program’s values and culture.

High Caliber of Applicants

Stanford GSB attracts highly accomplished and talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. Applicants often have impressive academic credentials, exceptional work experience, and notable achievements, making the applicant pool exceptionally competitive.

Limited Class Size

Stanford GSB maintains a relatively small class size, which allows for personalized attention and a close-knit community. However, this limited capacity intensifies the competition among applicants, as only a select number of individuals can be admitted each year.

Holistic Evaluation

The admissions committee at Stanford GSB takes a holistic approach to evaluating applications. They consider academic performance, test scores, work experience, leadership potential, extracurricular involvement, letters of recommendation, and the applicant’s fit with the school’s values and mission.

Tips to Improve Chances of Admission to Stanford GSB

Demonstrate Impact and Leadership: Highlight your leadership experiences and the impact you have made in your professional and personal endeavors. Showcase your ability to influence and inspire others, as well as your commitment to making a difference.

Show Intellectual Curiosity: Emphasize your intellectual curiosity and passion for learning. Discuss how you have sought out opportunities for personal and professional growth, such as pursuing additional coursework, attending conferences, or engaging in research.

Connect with Stanford GSB: Take advantage of opportunities to connect with the Stanford GSB community. Attend admissions events, webinars, or information sessions to learn more about the program and make a positive impression.

Tailor Your Application: Customize your application materials, including your essays and interviews, to reflect your understanding of Stanford GSB’s values, culture, and unique offerings. Show how you align with the school’s mission and how you will contribute to the community.

Seek Strong Recommendations: Choose recommenders who can provide specific examples of your accomplishments, leadership potential, and personal qualities. Ensure they have a deep understanding of your aspirations and can speak passionately about your potential for success.

Prepare Thoroughly: Dedicate ample time to prepare for the GMAT or GRE, as well as for interviews if invited. Practice answering common interview questions and seek feedback from mentors or professionals in the field.

Be Authentic: Stanford GSB values authenticity, so be true to yourself throughout the application process. Share your unique story, perspectives, and experiences in a genuine and compelling manner.

Final Thoughts

Gaining admission to the Stanford MBA program is a highly competitive and challenging endeavor. However, by following the strategies and tips outlined in this article, you can significantly enhance your chances of acceptance.

Remember that Stanford GSB values authenticity, leadership, and a diverse set of experiences. Craft a compelling application that reflects your true self, highlighting your unique qualities and accomplishments. Take advantage of opportunities to demonstrate leadership and make a positive impact in your community, both academically and extracurricularly.

Additionally, invest time in thorough research, preparation, and self-reflection. Understand Stanford GSB’s values, curriculum, and the contributions you can make to the program. Build a strong network, seek mentorship, and leverage resources available to you.

Lastly, remain resilient and persevere through the rigorous admissions process. That’s where Admit Expert, a trusted MBA admissions consulting service, can assist you.

Investing in expert guidance can make a significant difference in your chances of getting into Stanford GSB. With Admit Expert’s support, you can present the best version of yourself and maximize your opportunities for admission.

Don’t leave your Stanford MBA aspirations to chance. Contact Admit Expert today to explore how their comprehensive consulting services can help you realize your goals and embark on a transformative educational journey at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Start shaping your future today!

Is Stanford GSB your dream school?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

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