The Stanford Graduate School of Business: What Makes It Different?

Application Strategy

The Stanford Graduate School of Business: What Makes It Different?

"Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world."

The Stanford Graduate School of Business (Stanford GSB) focuses on the world of tomorrow and allows students to have a customized learning experience that is tailored to the needs of the student. In order to have a successful application to the GSB, it is important that you not only effectively share your unique perspective and stories, but that you understand some of the aspects that make Stanford GSB so unique as an institution.

Here are some key dynamics to understand about the Stanford GSB:

I. Class Size

The Stanford GSB is a small school, with under 400 students per class. This is about half as many as at other top MBA programs. Thus, the atmosphere is very community oriented, and over half of first-year GSB students actually live together at the Schwab Residential Center, a housing facility reserved for MBA students.

There are ample opportunities for students to share their stories with their classmates and to get to know their professors on a more personal basis through programs such as "Take your Professor to Lunch." While there are certainly advantages in being part of a larger program, a smaller class sizes undoubtedly allow students to foster closer relationships with one another and with their professors, both of which can strengthen networks and amplify future opportunities in the workforce. So, if you've been looking for a small program with a strong network and excellent post-graduation career opportunities, you should consider the Stanford GSB!

II. Location

Beyond great academics, the Stanford GSB enjoys an exceptional location in the heart of Silicon Valley, making it a natural incubator for innovative ideas. It also allows leaders from top companies in the area to be regular lecturers and guest speakers, enhancing the learning environment at the GSB. Its close location to so many startups also allows students to easily set up independent projects and more informal summer internships than would be possible at other schools.

III. An Interdisciplinary Education and Joint Degrees

Stanford GSB students have the opportunity to take classes across all departments at Stanford, whether through a joint degree program or simply as an elective. Many GSB courses are actually listed with other schools, such as engineering, the design school, law, and social sciences. This allows students to practice developing innovative solutions across a variety of fields and industries.

The Stanford GSB also, however, has an extensive number of joint degree opportunities with other leading graduate schools, including a JD/MBA, MBA/MA in Education, MBA/MPP (Master in Public Policy), MBA/MS in Environment and Resources, MBA/MS in Computer Science and MD/MBA. If you're looking for a school that gives students opportunities to tailor their academic experience with interdisciplinary courses and a cross-disciplinary curriculum, then you should research into all the opportunities the Stanford GSB has to offer.

IV. International Exposure and Diversity of Perspective

While Stanford is composed similarly to other top programs, the GSB has a unique Global Experience Requirements, through which every student must undertake a project abroad, in a country where they have never spent significant time. Because Stanford GSB students are encouraged to fulfill this requirement in the first year, the entire GSB community benefits from these experiences when students return to campus. Stanford was one of the first MBA programs to focus on the international aspects of business, and a sense of world understanding is a common thread among Stanford GSB students.

Beyond these experiences and a large concentration of international students, the GSB takes great measures to gather a diverse set of perspectives among its incoming classes. While every class has its fair share of traditional pre-MBA career paths, such as investment banking and consulting, the GSB also welcomes a large number of students from all walks of life. It is worth noting that the GSB has an unusually high percentage of students who are the first to attend the Stanford GSB from their company or organization, so don't be afraid to submit an application if you truly feel the GSB is an excellent fit for you.

Good luck!