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I was left with an indelible impression — a small group of people can transform lives of an entire country.That night, the Chinese government rolled tanks into Tiananmen Square, which smashed into the tents and killed the protesters sleeping inside.Take this on as a personal challenge, not just a business school essay question.
They propose that you think in terms of who you are, events that have influenced you, and insights and lessons that have shaped your perspectives. Derrick Bolton was quoted as saying, “please think of the Stanford essays as conversations on paper ‒ when we read files, we feel that we meet people, also known as our ‘flat friends’ ‒ and tell us your story in a natural, genuine way.” The dictionary definition of ‘story’ is along the lines of ‘an account of imaginary or real people and events told in an entertaining way.’ The best essays are conveyed in a captivating, ‘story-like’ way that may involve humor, inspiration, emotion, honesty, wit, insight and simply – being yourself.
A GSB admissions officer may be reading 30 applications today, 20 tomorrow, and hundreds more in the subsequent weeks.
So how can you grab his or her attention, be original, sound intelligent, and connect with your reader? Take the time to get introspective and excavate below the surface and dare tell the story you are best qualified to write.
(Hint: the story you’re best qualified to write is your own.) Here’s some advice on structuring of this type of essay while telling your ‘story,’ taken from my Fortuna Admissions colleagues, senior MBA admissions professionals: Having jotted some notes to the questions above, now review your answers – including what you initially captured as your gut response.
Whether you’ve set your sights on Stanford or wonder which career path that is right for you, taking the time to answer this question can give you invaluable insight into your values, life purpose and true self.
Understanding – and articulating – what matters most to you demonstrates significant self-awareness, and the process to getting there gives you a strong foundation not only for success at business school but in your career and relationships.
Why does that one thing matter to you more than something else?
If you’re staring down the blank page, begin with some advice that Stanford GSB itself offers.
“The school genuinely wants to understand your values and get know you.
Stanford MBAs are driven by a desire not just to excel in their careers but also to help others and to have a positive impact.