Or at least, sort of.
Now, we’re not trying to blame the person being interviewed here. This is not her fault.
But check out this short video from Stanford GSB:
It’s also posted on this page of their admissions website .
Now, let’s examine the title of this video.
On that admissions page, it’s under the heading:
How to Decide When It’s the Right Time to Apply
On YouTube, the video has a title slide of:
When is the right time to apply?
Please watch it again.
DOES SHE SAY ANYTHING AT ALL THAT ANSWERS THIS QUESTION???
Sure, if you unpack what she says, and parse it out, then yeah, an argument could be made that she’s saying, “Apply when you meet these criteria!!”
But c’mon. Deciding WHEN to apply is not mentioned anywhere.
This is a case of marketing folks putting their spin on stuff when they are figuring out what content to post on their website. It happens.
But guess what?
If you do this in your essays then you’re hurting your chances!
What we mean by that is, if you have an essay prompt that asks for “Tell us why it’s the right time for you to apply” and you talk about how you want to “change lives” and all that make a difference gobbledygook that BSers like to spout…
Well guess what?
You’ll be falling into MBA Essay Writing Trap #1: NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTION!!
(Please go read the posts we’re linking. We don’t have the ability to capture all of our fabulous advice directly in each topic we present on the daily. We provide those links so you can go read up on these issues and more fully understand what we’re saying.)
Now, is her video useful?
Because guess what again!?
SHE’S TELLING YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO INCLUDE IN YOUR STANFORD ESSAY B!
She’s basically just mapped out for you there what she’s looking for when she reads that essay specifically.
So, here’s a tip:
When you write your essays for Stanford (after you have revised them, and thrown them away*, and started over and revised those again), then come back to this video and watch it again.
Is your Stanford Essay B showing you as someone who fits the criteria she has defined?
Is evidence of you fitting that criteria coming through elsewhere in your application?
This type of reverse-engineering is one of the most valuable parts of the process.
It’s how you make sure: “Have I answered the question?”
Or is my essay more like a comedy sketch on Saturday Night Live?
Want more advice like this? Our SnarkStrategies Guide for Stanford is a veritable goldmine! If you’re gonna buy one of the guides for just one of the schools, you might want to make it this one.
Finally: The question that Ms. Moss answered is literally the one that was asked by her student interviewer: “How do you figure out if you have a shot at getting into Stanford?”
Why the marketing folks didn’t use that as their headline is baffling indeed. Do they think that the title about timing is more click-baity?
Because c’mon. All that anyone applying to bschool wants to know is, “Can I get in?”
(Shameless self-promotion: WE CAN TELL YOU! Either our Comprehensive Profile Review or even more so, our Sanity Check will give you exactly that answer — to the level of specificity that anyone outside of Stanford will ever be able to do.)
*Throwing away at least one attempted topic seems to be almost required in order to get a good essay strategy established for Stanford.