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Stanford Class of 2023 - Discussion with Kirsten Moss

June 16, 2020

Stanford GSB released their application for the 2020-21 cycle earlier today. You can find more details here.

In addition to the application release, earlier today, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) hosted a call with Kirsten Moss, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at Stanford GSB. During the call, Kirsten noted the strong Round 2 and Round 3 application volume and yield and the expectation that the strong pool of candidates would continue this coming fall. During the early part of the conversation, she recognized the continued uncertainty that every MBA program continues to face due to COVID, including the possibility some current admits will choose not to begin this Fall.

Several questions on the call related to the impact on future classes from possible deferrals this year due to COVID. They noted that admitted students can begin remotely this Fall, even if unable to obtain a visa in time to begin in-person. Consequently, they do not expect significant movement off the waitlist or a significant impact on the size of future classes to make room for deferred students. Nevertheless, Kirsten acknowledged the healthcare and economic environments are changing, and that school officials will continue monitoring the situation closely.

Most of the discussion focused on Stanford’s updated MBA application for the Class of 2023 as well as the opportunities that exist for students despite (or because of) innovative course delivery.

During the discussion, Kirsten reiterated what Stanford is looking to learn through the application:

  1. What matters to you
  2. What you aspire to do
  3. What impact you have had on your communities
  4. How your experiences and background impact your perspectives

She noted that over the past few years, they have seen more applicants include statements of impact in their “What Matters Most” essay. Kirsten highlighted the many ways in which candidates can share their stories, including the optional impact essays, which may be a more appropriate avenue to convey these successes. In some cases, the discussion of impact can crowd out critical information on what motivates candidates to achieve that impact in the first place.

What’s different this year?
Stanford reduced the word limit on the required essays by 100 words (to a total of 1050 total for “What Matters Most” and “Why Stanford.”) It further reinforces that the essay should focus on motivation, not achievement.

The application includes the same three optional 250-word short answer questions that were introduced last year “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?” remain. During the discussion, Kirsten shared that there were indeed many applicants who were successful last year who did not submit all three optional essays (some submitted none).

Finally, the short answer question (1,100 characters) that has been required for the past several years “Tell us about a time within the last three years when your background influenced your participation at school or work” is now optional.

2020/21 deadlines

Deadline time: 4:00pm PT

Round 1: Application deadline: Sept. 15, 2020; Decision date: Dec. 10, 2020

Round 2: Application deadline: Jan. 6, 2021; Decision date: Apr. 1, 2021

Round 3: Application deadline: Apr. 6, 2021; Decision date: May 20, 2021

Other application details

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The online application is now live.

Re-applicant?

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School resources

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