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Guides: Admissions Guide

“What Matters?” and “What More?”: A Guide to the Stanford GSB and HBS Personal Essays

“What Matters?” and “What More?”: A Guide to the Stanford GSB and HBS Personal Essays

The two most competitive MBA programs in the world—Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business—require two of the most challenging application essays to write. Having helped hundreds of candidates gain acceptance to both of these programs over the years, we have distilled and codified some of our best advice for these schools into this guide, which is designed to help you tackle and craft these essays more confidently. You do not need to be a wildly creative or incredibly skilled writer to be accepted to these programs, but you do need to thoroughly contemplate your life and frame your message(s) effectively.

To help you achieve this, the “What Matters?” and “What More?”: A Guide to the Stanford GSB and HBS Personal Essays covers:

  • Three approaches you can take to the essays: thematic, inflection points, and single anecdote
  • What not to include in your essays
  • Guidance regarding the programs’ vastly different word counts
  • Eight sample essays representing a range of voices and experiences, plus thoughtful introductory commentary and constructive side notes for each

We believe this guide will inspire you to share your strongest stories with these programs and position yourself for success.

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