The MBA Interview for Stanford Graduate School of Business

Quick Facts 

Who does Stanford GSB interview?

Stanford GSB invites a select few applicants (typically, 2-3 per seat) who have submitted their written application to interview. The applicant is put in touch with their interviewer whereupon applicant and interviewer work out the best time, place, and format for the event—this is a process which takes roughly 7-10 days.

Who conducts the Stanford MBA interview?

The MBA interview team at Stanford GSB is made up of both the admissions team and a small subset of global alumni.

How long is the Stanford MBA interview?

Interviews typically last 45 – 60 minutes, though exceptions have been reported.

Where is the interview held?

Interviews may be remote or in-person though be aware that Stanford does not accept requests to interview on campus as they have no campus-based interview program. 

What is the format?

Stanford GSB employs a competency-based behavioral interview.

Deadlines and Decision Schedule 

Stanford GSB sends out a more specific deadline after the application is processed. Because the interviews are arranged by individual applicants and team-members, there are no universal deadlines by which the applicant needs to schedule theirs.

App SubmissionInterview WindowDecision
Round 1Sep 9, 2021Mid Oct. – Late Nov.Dec 9, 2021
Round 2Jan 5, 2022Early Feb. – Mid MarchMar 31, 2022
Round 3Apr 12, 2022Mid-April – Early MayMay 26, 2022

More information available on Stanford’s deadline page.

Video Essays

There is no video essay at Stanford GSB.

Detailed Overview

Drawing from Menlo Coaching’s extensive client database of first-hand interview reports, this section offers the most up-to-date information on Stanford GSB’s interview process.

Interviewer profile

Stanford GSB’s MBA  interviews are conducted by a member of the admissions team or by alumni, depending on the location and availability of both applicant and team member. These interviews are either remote or in-person though never on Stanford’s campus. 

In terms of the alumni interviewer’s graduation years, 2021-2022 app cycle data shows a wide range, with interviewers from the mid-90s through the class of 2020.

Many applicants report interviewers being direct and to the point. This “no nonsense” varies from the concise and direct to the interruptive and jarringly brusk. One applicant, reported, for example, that the interviewer jumped right into behavioral questions with no time allotted for an introduction or questions about why the applicant preferred Stanford GSB. While some report interviewers as “conversational,” with some alumni interviewers offering insight and stories about their time at Stanford), other applicants refute this, saying that interviewers were friendly but still direct and down to business. 

A Menlo Coaching client reported that their alumnus interviewer prefaced many behavioral and background questions with details about their own career and Stanford experiences.

With all this in mind, it is prudent to expect behavioral questions to be central and, in some cases, the only questions an applicant will be asked. Applicants have reported being disappointed at not getting to discuss their reasons for picking Stanford and general points of their biography so be aware that you may not be able to rely on your standard interview introductions to help set the tone.

Length

Stanford GSB interviews typically fall between 45-60 minutes, though based on interview reports from the 2021-2022 app cycle, the duration can occasionally exceed this.

For example, some clients have reported an hour long interview followed by 15 minutes of discussion with the opportunity to ask questions. A 2019 client reported half an hour of behavioral questions followed by 10 minutes of discussion cut short by an assertion on the interviewers behalf that time was up. 

The most common reason for these extensions comes down to the personalities of the interviewers. While Stanford’s interview process is almost singularly focused on behavioral questions which can be answered in the first 30-45 minutes of the interview, some interviewers will want to talk about their experiences in the program or invite you to ask questions of them.

Location

Because no interviews take place on Stanford’s campus and all interviews, both virtual and in-person are decided by the applicant and the interviewer on a case-by-case basis, the location and format are highly variable. 

Format

The Stanford GSB interview is conducted by an interviewer who has read your application and will often tailor questions to specifics from it. The interview is a competency-based series of behavioral questions that focus on past experiences rather than hypothetical situations. Stanford’s interview page also makes a point of saying that applicants should feel free to discuss any meaningful professional or community-based experiences pertinent to the questions.

Interview reports show that the Stanford GSB approach is no-nonsense and direct but often quite friendly. One applicant reported that the interviewer interrupted frequently. A number of applicants reported that there was either no introductory period or a very brief one.

Stanford GSB MBA Interview Sample Questions

This section lists a number of possible Stanford GSB MBA interview questions. Like the details in the section above, these questions are sourced from Menlo Coaching’s client database of first-hand interview reports.

You can use the questions below to conduct mock interviews that mimic an actual conversation with a Stanford alum or admissions officer. Remember, however, that because the interviews at Stanford GSB are not blind, questions may be tailored to your specific resume and application.

For best results, however, consider seeking expert help via Menlo Coaching’s interview prep service.

The Stanford MBA interview, sample questions

  1. Your Biggest, Proudest Accomplishment (At Work)
  2. A Time When You Needed Help 
  3. A Time When You Helped Someone Else Improve Skills or Team Culture
  4. An Example of Resolving a Conflict
  5. Dealing With a Difficult Team Member
  6. An Example of a Time You Failed
  7. What do you do Outside of Work? Challenges You Face There?
  8. Why Did You Enter the Field You are In?
  9. A Time You Went Above and Beyond
  10. Anything Else I Should Know?
  11. Questions for the Interviewer