The Stanford MBA program has a new admissions director – Kirsten Moss – and, everything being personal in this program, she is already leaving a fresh stamp on admissions approaches. During our AIGAC (Association of International Graduate Application Consultants) annual conference a couple of weeks ago in CA, she generously shared her ideas, plans, and passion for the new role and what it means for our clients who want to apply to Stanford. Fresh from completing a PhD in psychology, Kirsten expressed excitement about implementing in Stanford admissions what she learned through her research into leadership.
Stanford will likely remain as daunting an admit as it was under Derrick Bolton, but I believe Kirsten will bring a unique slant to shaping the class. Here are my notes and insights from our group’s conversation with her:
• The adcom will look for a record of demonstrated impact as evidence that the applicant will grow into a leader of impact.
• Kirsten believes that there is an impression “out there” that Stanford admits or seeks only graduates from top-ranked colleges/universities. She wants to dispel that impression and cites two examples from some years back of students admitted who’d attended state colleagues of no exciting pedigree. What they DID have was outstanding academic records AND exceptional impact on their school communities. She intends to continue this approach of focusing on outstanding and distinctive performance over pedigree.
• Through the application, she is looking to discover what applicants love to learn and how they’ve demonstrated it; how they have behaved, e.g. when/how/where have they taken initiative to go above and beyond, how have the led in conflict; where their energy comes from and what motivates them. In the “what matter most” essay, she hopes to understand what is the link between “what matters” and the applicant’s actual behavior.
• Also, she’s seeking evidence of persistence – that the applicant has taken initiative and fought really hard for something important to him/her. Similarly, she’s looking for people who are doing things today – not only projecting about meaningful things in the future.
• Stanford is known for its stratospheric GMAT scores, and if I were a betting person, I would bet that under Kirsten’s direction, the adcom will weight a hyperventilation-causing GMAT slightly less, and track record of powerful, constructive impact even more. I don’t think it will make Stanford an easier admit by any means – just slightly differently weighted amazingness.
Mike Hochleutner, Director of the Stanford MSx program, also kindly gave us some time. He mentioned that, this year again, applicants will have the opportunity to apply to both the MBA and MSx programs in one application. While the MBA targets people with outstanding leadership potential, the MSx program targets people with “demonstrated leadership accomplishment” who present “clarity of purpose.” He notes that, while MSX students can have access to MBA recruiting, most recruiters are looking for a different age and experience cohort.
He made the interesting point that the MSx Diversity Fellowships are looking to reach more people in both Africa and – yes – the midwestern states of the US! Both are under-represented regions for the program.
It is tempting to write on about all the mouthwatering resources the MSx students enjoy during their year at Stanford, but there is no need to repeat the website. I’ll just say: if you are interested in the program and you are a qualified applicant, DO give your application your all. Everyone I’ve worked with who has been admitted to this program has done just that.
Cindy Tokumitsu has advised hundreds of successful applicants, helping them gain acceptance to top MBA and EMBA programs in her 15+ years with Accepted. She would love to help you too. Want Cindy to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
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