Ace your Stanford MBA Interview | A guide to GSB Interview

Stanford GSB has consistently been the most selective business school out there. Only about a 1000 applicants are interviewed each year and the total acceptance rate is a measly 6%. If you have received a Stanford MBA interview invite, consider yourself lucky and start preparing for the interviews immediately. This guide to the Stanford MBA interview will walk you through everything you need to know and prepare for your interview.

We’ve covered:

  • A general introduction to the Stanford MBA interview
  • Stanford MBA interview dates and notification
  • Stanford GSB interview format and interview process
  • Stanford GSB interview questions
  • Mocks interviews to practice Stanford GSB interview

What to expect in the Stanford MBA Interview

As explicitly stated on the Stanford website itself, the interview invite is an opportunity for the school to understand you better and help you learn about the school so you can assess whether Stanford GSB is a good fit for you.

Most importantly, Stanford GSB interviews are highly focused on past performance. Unlike other schools, Stanford focuses less on hypothetical behavioral type questions and more on actual examples from the applicant’s previous experiences.

These experiences and stories are evaluated to understand the applicant’s personal characteristics like leadership, self-evaluation capacity, managerial skills, and others.

Stanford GSB Interview Invitations 2019

The next roll – out of Stanford MBA interview invites will start in February.
Interview invites for Stanford GSB round 2 will start from February 6th and extend till March 8th.

Stanford GSB Interview Format

Stanford MBA interviews are conducted by the school’s alumni. Post the interview the alumni sends their recommendation on the candidature of the applicant. Only one interview is conducted per applicant but sometimes two interviews are conducted as well in rare cases.

A typical interview starts with an elevator pitch by the applicant – A short introduction to their profile. This is followed by approximately 30 minutes of generic MBA interview questions akin to behavioral questions. Next 15 minutes will then focus on questions specific to Stanford and the applicant’s fit with Stanford. Interviews are casual and not stress interviews.

While Stanford interviews seem pretty straightforward, as mentioned earlier, it is important for applicants to focus on giving plenty of examples from past experiences in their answers. Also, applicants should prepare thoroughly for their initial pitch and the questions they want to ask the interviewer in the end.

Interview Process:

  • Interview invites are rolled out by the admission council over email and applicants are asked to register on the portal and accept the invite to know the names of their interviewers.
  • The applicant gets a window of 7-10 days to work together with the interviewer to finalize the date, time and location and conduct the interview.
  • If an applicant is not located in a major city where a Stanford alumnus resides, the applicant might have to travel to the nearest city where the interviewer is available.
  • From past experience of previous applicants, interviews are known to be conducted at the interviewer’s office or at a café nearby.
  • Post the interview, the interviewer submits a written assessment to the admission council

Stanford GSB Interview Questions

Before diving straight into interview questions, it helps to understand what Stanford is looking for when it asks interview questions.

The best way to go about this is to look at the Stanford Recommender Leadership grid as it gives a sneak peek into the factors the school is looking for in an applicant. These factors are:

  • Initiative
  • Results orientation
  • Communication, professional impression & poise
  • Influence and collaboration
  • Respect for others
  • Team leadership
  • Developing others
  • Integrity
  • Adaptability
  • Self awareness
  • Problem solving
  • Strategic orientation

Quite a long list indeed!

Stanford GSB Interview Experiences – Questions from Stanford MBA Interview

All questions asked in a Stanford interview are focused on assessing one or more of these qualities only. Here is a list of commonly asked interview questions, compiled from Stanford interview experiences and divided into different categories:

  1. Questions to understand the diversity potential or the overall development activities of the applicant.
    • Apart from work, what other hobbies do you engage in?
    • What book are you currently reading? Questions to understand the personality traits of an applicant
  2. Questions focusing on the career trajectory of the applicant and their MBA story
    • What are your career goals in the next 5 – 7 years? How will Stanford help in achieving them?
    • Why did you choose a particular school X or a course Y in your education? What was your motive?
    • Why did you work for a company Z? Why did you choose the role you did?
  3. Questions to understand the personality traits of an applicant
    • Tell me about a time you faced a challenge at your office, what was it and how did you tackle it? (Ability to face change and problem solving)
    • Tell me about a time when the company wanted to do something and you wanted to do something else. How did you convince them? (Negotiation and communication skills)
    • How would your subordinates describe your leadership style? (Leadership skills)
    • Tell me about a time you lead a team (Team management skills)
    • What are your key strengths and weaknesses? How are you working on your weaknesses? (Self-awareness)
    • What are some of your biggest achievements and failures? What did you learn from them? (Ability to introspect and self evaluate)
    • What drives you? Who do you look up to? What is one quality that you admire about someone else? (Motivation and self drive)
    • Walk me through a day of work in your job / office. (Work experience and working Questions focusing on applicant’s choice of Stanford for the MBA style)
  4. Questions focusing on applicant’s choice of Stanford for the MBA
    • Why did you choose Stanford as your preferred school for an MBA?
    • What are you looking forward to at Stanford?
    • What will you gain by joining Stanford?

Download Stanford GSB Interview Questions

At MBA Sage, we’ve gone through the interview experiences of many Stanford applicants and compiled a document with all the interview experiences along with the interview questions the applicants have faced. This document will help you comprehensively prepare for your Stanford MBA interview.

You can download this document by filling the form below:

Mock Interviews Practice for Stanford GSB MBA Interviews:

The best way to prepare for a Stanford MBA interview is to practice with Stanford students and alumni.

Being from the same school, they can conduct mock interviews for applicants and ask highly targeted and personalized questions based on the applicant’s profile and their fit with Stanford.
Not only that, students and alumni can also give tips on how to prepare for the interview and share their feedback on how to perform better in the interview.

MBA Sage connects YOU, the applicant, with the students and alumni of Stanford GSB for practicing mock interviews. Applicants can choose a mentor that suits them best from our platform and get mock interviews and feedback.

To understand more, Sign up on MBA Sage

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Edited at MBA SAGE
We write content on MBA Sage to help applicants with their MBA admissions. If you liked this article, please feel free to share it with other applicants and help them in their MBA admissions journey.
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