The Book I Read 3X To Get Into to Stanford GSB

"MBA Admissions Strategy" Book I Read When Applying to StanfordSo on Wednesday, I went to a Stanford MBA Admissions session in Bangalore, to be on the student panel.  It was a lot of fun talking to the applicants about the program, about our classmates, the courses, etc.  I was there with Dan, my buddy from South Africa, and Vasily, my buddy from Russia, as we were all interning in India for a month.

The session was fun and the questions were interesting.  But, once we broke into small groups, the obvious and most frequent question was ‘how should I write my essays?’, ‘what are they looking for’, etc?  Answering those questions is almost as impossible as writing the essays is.  The only advice I could tell anyone was to read THIS book.

MBA Admissions Strategy. Getting in to top 10 MBAs

When looking for the right book to read when I was applying, I skimmed the table of contents of every relevant book and thought this was the most useful…I felt that this one did the best job, to me, of explaining (1) what the admissions committee is thinking and (2) what the question archetypes are and how to respond to them.

I read the entire book, cover to cover, 3 different times over the course of my application preparation and essay writing process.  It was literally my reference guide every time I got stuck writing my essays; I marked it up, re-read certain passages many more times, etc.

Everything about the entire application process requires so much personal introspection that it’s REALLY hard to give applicants advice…the usual lame stuff like ‘be true to yourself’ is really unhelpful, so the only advice I can possibly give is, “read this book and do what it says.”

Stanford GSB Update – After 1st Quarter of MBA Program

Stanford has been amazing – the people are spectacular.  The access to local VCs has been great – and we’re already fully into recruiting & interviews for summer internships.  The campus itself is really pleasant – I get to bike to class each day, the weather is almost always sunny and fresh feeling.

I got a deepdive in Finance this past quarter, so I can now understand the WSJ when I read it.  I am about to dive into another quarter of classes, but this time, they will be almost exclusively quantitative (modeling, stats, microecon, mngrl accounting, and corporate finance).  Between the courseload and spending time with classmates, the school absorbs practically all of my time – my life is once again managed by an Outlook calendar that finds lunches regularly double and triple booked.  We call it ‘drinking from a firehose’.   It’s crazy to have so many interesting lectures, seminars, and activities to spend time with.

Anyways, I’m getting to spend time with a lot of high-achieving and well-meaning people who want to build companies (either Internet businesses or clean energy companies) – and those are the two things I’m most interested in.  All in all, it’s been every bit the experience I had hoped it would be.

Fortunately, Joan has been a great companion – getting to spend time with her helps keep me balanced and after Q2, everything is supposed to ease up a great deal – giving us more time to work on projects, meet people outside the school, etc.