How to Ace Your Stanford GSB Interview
If you are reading this because you recently received an invitation to interview with the Stanford GSB admissions team, congratulations!
You are one of the lucky few MBA applicants to have made it this far by receiving an interview invitation to one of the most difficult business schools to get admitted to.
To finish strong and ensure you have a solid interview that results in an admission offer to Stanford Business School you will need to keep a few important things in mind.
- Remember What Stanford Wants
The best place to start is to look at Stanford GSB mission statement:
Our mission is to create ideas that deepen and advance our understanding of management and with those ideas to develop innovative, principled, and insightful leaders who change the world.
They are looking for
Intellectually sharp individuals who are passionate to advance management & business.
Principled and ethical, self-aware leaders.
People who will change the world.
So, when you are answering the Stanford MBA admissions interview questions, consider how your answers can resonate with what the school values.
- Be Ready to Tackle a Ton of Behavioral Questions
Stanford GSB is one of the schools that asks applicants behavioral questions. These questions center on events and times that affect you, your decision making, and judgement. Brush up your story-/ telling skills. You need to be able to get to the good stuff quickly and when handling behavioral questions, it is vital that you pick a specific moment in time and then drill down into the important stuff to make sure you offer enough color for the interviewer to get a good sense of who you are.
Avoid using broad strokes or generic statements. Instead prepare a few examples of actual “moments in time” to speak of so you can comfortably handle whatever questions you are asked.
These questions tend to begin with phrases like:
“Tell me about a time when you….”
- Identified an opportunity
- Dealt with a difficult colleague/team member
- Were prevented from achieving a goal
- Motivated others
- Led without formal authority
- Worked on a project where people weren’t pulling their weight
- When you were disappointed
- When you failed
- When you made a mistake
- When you achieved something you felt really proud of
- Convinced others to follow your recommendation
Stanford GSB is looking for a specific event when something happened and they want to understand the details of what happened, how it did, what steps you took, your reasoning and motivations. Self-awareness matters a great deal to Stanford GSB so they are looking for individuals who can articulate the rationale behind their actions and what’s driving them. While the above examples are by no means exhaustive, they provide a good foundation for many of the popular behavior interview questions applicants will receive during their Stanford GSB interview.
- Prepare for Other Questions That Confirm That You are a Great Fit for Stanford GSB
It is wise to prepare for other questions besides the behavioral interview questions. Here are common questions applicants should be ready to address during their Stanford interview:
- Why Stanford?
- What are you most passionate about and why?
- Who inspires you and why?
- Why do you want an MBA?
- What project are you most proud of and why?
Many of the questions you will receive during your interview will be followed up with several questions so expect that the interview will go by very quickly and be ready to talk confidently about any of the questions that you are asked.
You will also have the opportunity to ask your own question. So, try and research the alum ahead of the interview to see if there are shared interests you could capitalize on. Have a couple of questions ready to ask when given the opportunity.
- Final Thoughts
Get a good night rest ahead of the interview. Dress professionally. Bring a copy of your resume, though the interviewer will already have a copy. Remember that you know your story the best and that the interviewer isn’t trying to trip you up.
The main goal of the interviewer is to get a good “read” of the applicant and to then write a detailed follow up review to make a case for or against admitting the candidate.
As a small school Stanford cares a great deal about fit so remember that the question behind all the questions you are being asked is whether you would be a great fit in their school. Be honest. Be authentic. Wishing you the best of luck with your interview!