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Stanford GSB Interview Questions & Report: Round 1 / Alum / Off-Campus

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The interview was conducted by an alum in his office building. I walked into the building and entered the elevator to go up to my interviewer’s floor as instructed in our emails to each other. As I was going up, I noticed a man looking at me curiously. When I turned to him, he introduced himself to me and said that I must be the person he’s interviewing. He’s the CEO, so I must have been the odd person he did not recognize in his elevator!

We chatted a little bit and then walked over to the in-company coffee bar, and he offered me something to drink. We then went back to the elevator, went down a floor, and chose a small meeting room. He left me in there alone for a few minutes while he went out to grab something. He came back and then we chatted a little bit more. It was very relaxed.

He then started the questions, which were mostly behavioral-based. All he had was my resume that I had emailed earlier. He did not have access to my application. The questions he asked included:

  1. Why an MBA?
  2. Why a Stanford MBA?
  3. Why an MBA now?
  4. Tell me about a time when you led a transformational change in an organization.
  5. Tell me about a time when you had a strategic level impact.
  6. Tell me about a failure. How did you react?

For each of the questions, the interviewer would build on my answers and delve deeper into the details to gain greater insight. There were many additional smaller questions for clarification and additional spin to determine my motivations. I used several leadership stories as examples to answer the questions.

Overall, I think the interview was illuminating. The interviewer seemed genuinely interested in learning more about me as a person and determine what motivated me. We concluded with me asking a few questions about Stanford and the interviewer’s experiences while in school.

The entire experience was relaxed and very non-threatening. I enjoyed the interview. The experience seemed very much in line with most of my experience with the school: intellectual yet more interested in individual motivations and drive. Very cool.

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