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Stanford GSB’s New Admissions Director, Kirsten Moss

In March, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business announced Kirsten Moss as its new admissions director.

Now, as of June 1, she has officially started in her new role, and Stanford GSB has marked the beginning of her tenure by releasing an interview that sheds some light on how she intends to approach the job. 

Stanford-GSBs-New-Admissions-Director-Kirsten-Moss

The interview tells us many things – from the fact that Moss is an avid dancer in her free time to the fact that she recently added a doctorate of psychology to her list of accomplishments. Most of all, though, the interview tells us what Moss’s priorities will be going forward. 

Moss was formerly admissions director at Harvard Business School, and I was fortunate to meet her during my time working in HBS’s admissions office. In fact, she’s the one who hired me! 

I remember her as passionate and open-minded, and these qualities are still obvious in Moss’s recent interview. Another thing that stands out is Moss’s interest in leadership specifically – we can likely expect to see an increased emphasis on leadership with her at the helm of GSB. 

Moss says she sees GSB’s mission as “selecting and developing leaders.” Here’s how she describes her interest in leadership: 

Personally, I have been focused on leadership assessment and development for the last two decades because it holds great meaning for me. I believe every individual has the potential to create positive impact; however, each of us needs the knowledge, skills, leadership ability, and support to turn our ideas into realities. 

According to Moss, the job of the admissions team is to find the leaders with the most potential. But she acknowledge that “leadership assessment is as much of an art as it is a science” – in fact, for her, this uncertainty is what makes admissions so interesting! 

And if there’s anyone who’s qualified to talk about the science of leadership, it’s Moss. Moss recently earned a doctorate in leadership psychology – that’s on top of an MBA she already holds from HBS. 

Given Moss’s interest in the science of leadership, it makes sense that Moss is interested in the possibility of bringing more data-oriented methods of assessing leadership into the business school admissions process in the future. 

Moss says that in comparison with B-school admissions processes, private sector hiring practices have “evolved more rapidly and focus on measurable behaviors, which predict performance more accurately.”

With this in mind, she says she hopes admissions offices will start to “consider data not just on what an applicant has accomplished but on how they have accomplished it.” 

While it remains to be seen what those changes in the admissions process would look like, two things are already clear.

The first is that Moss plans to focus on leadership in her approach to admissions. And the second is that with someone as enthusiastic and open to new ideas as Moss in charge, Stanford GSB is in good hands!

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