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  • Writer's pictureMalvika Patil

Stanford MBA Interview Questions 2023-24

Updated: Jan 31



Reaching the interview stage in the MBA application process is a great sign that the Admissions Committee likes your profile. But your work isn’t done here. Stanford typically interviews 2-3 candidates for each available seat. So it’s crucial that you spend time learning about the interview process of your target school, the type of questions they ask, what they hope to learn during the interview process, and things you should prepare for.


In this Stanford MBA interview guide, we’ll walk you through the Stanford MBA interview process, questions previously posed to interviewed candidates, and tips to ace the MBA interview.


The Stanford MBA Interview Process


The Stanford MBA interviews are invite-only. So, while receiving an interview invite is a positive sign, it is not a promise of an admit. No admits are rolled out without a formal interview.


Your interviewer will be a trained Stanford GSB MBA alumnus or an AdCom team member and your interview will take place either remotely or in-person. Stanford does not currently offer an option to interview on campus.


Your interview will be approximately 45-60 minutes long. The interview process allows the AdCom to evaluate your candidacy holistically, but it also acts as a good way for you to evaluate your fit with the Stanford GSB MBA program. This is why you will typically be asked questions about your profile and application during the first 30-45 minutes of your interview and will have approximately 15 minutes to ask your interviewer about the MBA program, school, any recent or upcoming changes, the cohort, alumni community, recruitment, etc.


The school recommends that you wear business attire during your interview. Gentlemen, that means “suit and tie”.


The Approach


Stanford GSB conducts a structured behavioral interview where the focus is on your past actions and motivations, rather than questions about a hypothetical scenario in your professional life or extracurriculars. This implies that Stanford GSB believes that demonstrated leadership experience is a better indicator of your leadership potential in the future.


The Process


Step 1: Interview Invitation

The Stanford MBA Admissions Office will contact you via email to extend the interview invitation.


Step 2: Connect with the AdCom

At this stage, you will need to inform the AdCom of your current location (read: time zone), and the school will pair you with a suitable interviewer.


Step 3: Schedule

The school connects you with your interviewer. You will work together to decide an interview date, typically within the week.


Step 4: Interview

The Stanford GSB MBA interview is typically 45–60 minutes long. The medium of interview will be English.


Step 5: Assessment

Post the interview, your interviewer will submit a written assessment to the Admissions Office.


Step 6: Consideration

Post this, the AdCom adds the interview assessment to your application file and considers your full application to evaluate your candidacy for a place in the Stanford GSB MBA class.


Interview Schedule


Generally, interviews take place during the following periods:

Rounds

Timeline

Round 1

Late September to Mid-November 2023

Round 2

Mid-January to Mid-March 2024

Round 3

Late April to Mid-May 2024

The school will send you a more specific timetable once you submit your MBA application.


Stanford GSB MBA Interview Questions 2023 - 2024


Obviously your questions can vary, and you can expect your Stanford interviewer to deviate from their script. But from our experience, these are the questions you can expect to be asked.


Introduction


  1. Tell me about yourself.

  2. Walk me through your resume.


Behavioral Questions


  1. Tell me about a time when you thought of something before another team member.

  2. Tell me about a time when you were blocked from something you wanted to do.

  3. Tell me about a time when you had to persuade someone of something they were initially reluctant to do/believe in.

  4. Tell me about a time when you helped someone learn a skill or achieve something.

  5. Tell me about an accomplishment you are proud of.

  6. Tell me about a time you helped someone upskill.

  7. Tell me about a time you were blocked from achieving something.

  8. Tell me about a time you failed.

  9. Tell me about your biggest accomplishment.

  10. Tell me about a time when you had to interact with a difficult colleague or client. How did you manage the situation?

  11. Why is X your passion?

  12. What was your favorite consulting project?

  13. Tell me about a time where you had to convince a team to agree to an unpopular opinion.

  14. Tell me about a time you found a problem and solved it.

  15. Tell me about a time you led a team.

  16. How did your mentorship change someone?

  17. Tell me about a time you started something.

  18. What are you most proud of? (Some specific follow-ups here)

  19. Tell me about a time you received an insight and how it changed the way you and the team worked.

  20. Tell me about when you had to convince someone in a group. (Digging in with follow-up questions around the events)

  21. When did you change the culture of a team?

  22. Tell me about a time you persuaded someone to give you resources (beyond the norm).

  23. What are you passionate about outside of work?

  24. Tell me about a pivotal life moment.

  25. Is there something you wish you could change about yourself?


About the School


  1. Why an MBA?

  2. Why an MBA at Stanford GSB?

  3. How will you decide which school to attend?


Questions for the Interviewer


  1. Do you have any questions for me?


Since this section of the interview is meant to give you the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions about the school, the program, their personal experience at the school, and resources and opportunities they found useful, you should prepare a few questions for the interviewer in advance. This also shows the interviewer that you are genuinely interested to learn more about the program. If you’re struggling to identify questions you should ask, here are 28 questions to ask your interviewer in an MBA interview.



Tips to Ace the Stanford GSB MBA Interview


In our experience, the Stanford GSB MBA interview has a friendly tone (more so than HBS) and applicants are usually matched with an alum based on their background, career journey, or future goals.


The interviewer typically doesn’t stick to a laundry list of questions they want to cover. Instead, they may pick up on interesting themes in your answers and dig deeper into certain questions. Their aim is to get to know you on a personal level, beyond your written application. There may be times when you might feel cut off or that the interviewer is challenging your answer, so you should prepare for this during your interview training. A good tip to handle such situations is to take a deep breath before your answer, maintain a positive attitude, force yourself to smile, and focus on demonstrating skills and values in your answer. Maintain your composure and do not let the interviewer's questions or reactions rattle you.


Prepare some stories in advance around broader topics like a challenge you've faced, a stressful situation, a time you had to stand up for your idea, a time when you dealt with pushback, a time when you lifted your team’s morale, gave feedback to a team member, and other situations where you have displayed leadership traits. For a more exhaustive list of questions to practice with, read our blog - behavioral questions in an MBA interview. Here, you’ll find in-depth guidance on how to prepare for interview questions as well as a bank of 30 behavioral interview questions to help you practice your answers.


Since most of the interview will be focused on behavioral questions, you should practice your answers using the STAR method, or what we at SWC refer to as the SCAR method.


For more interview advice and practice with mock interviews, check out the Interview Guide course on MBAConsultant.com.

 

Thinking of applying to Stanford GSB MBA? Book a free chat today.

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