Six Must-Have Classes at Stanford GSB

Stanford GSB GuideContinuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we take a look at six classes that are universally popular among Stanford GSB students. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Stanford research.)

Among Stanford GSB students, there are a handful of courses that are considered a “must” in order to have the full GSB experience. Not surprisingly, many of the top courses are related to entrepreneurship and venture capital, although there are a few that fall outside of that scope:

  • Entrepreneurship and Venture Capitalwith Peter Wendell, Andrew Rachleff, and Eric Schmidt. Peter C. Wendell is the founder and a Managing Director of Sierra Ventures and has been recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the top 100 technology venture investors in the United States. The class is co-taught by Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Andy Rachleff, founding General Partner of Benchmark Capital. This is one of the top classes at the GSB and provides an opportunity for second-year MBAs to learn about all aspects of the venture capital business from industry giants. This is a class known for its strong guest speakers and engaging class discussion. Also, the all-star faculty of entrepreneurship and Venture Capital is often willing to go to lunch with students after class.
  • Managing Growing Enterprises with Professor Harold Grousebeck. Professor Grousebeck founded Continental Cablevision, where he served as Chairman until 1985, has served on numbers nonprofit and corporate boards, and is a principal owner of the Boston Celtics. His course places MBA students in the role of CEO and challenges them to deal with difficult managerial situations through a process assessment, prescription, and execution, including frequent role-playing. He brings a mixture of industry credibility and an engaging teaching style to the class, which sets the tone and brings out the best in his students. Grousebeck is well-known for coldcalling in almost every class. This course is a common “Round Zero” pick for Stanford students.
  • Entrepreneurship and the Formation of New Ventures with Professor Garth Saloner and Professor Jim Phills. Professor Saloner is one of only two faculty members to twice win the Distinguished Teaching Award at the GSB, first in 1993 and again in 2008. He was recently named as the GSB’s new Dean and was instrumental in designing the new curriculum. His focus is e-commerce, entrepreneurship, strategy and strategic management. He teaches the Entrepreneurship course with Jim Phills, who is the Director of the Center for Social Innovation at the GSB. There is another section of this course taught by Andrew Rachleff (another GSB favorite) which is more “tech heavy,” but Garth Saloner is one of the best teachers at Stanford. Professors Saloner and Ellis are known to bring in a formidable line-up of speakers, many of whom are “GSB traditions” who visit year after year.
  • Investment Management and Entrepreneurial Finance with Professor John McDonald. Professor McDonald is known internationally for his work on investment in the context of global equity markets. He is one of the first professors to serve as vice chairman of NASDAQ, and also represented the public’s interest on the Board of Governors of the National Association of Securities Dealers in Washington, D.C. His private equity, venture capital and principal investing courses are some of the best at the GSB and provide insight into the grown of Silicon Valley and other venture capital hotbeds. This is not a technical finance course, but an opportunity for students to listen some of the best financial minds in the industry. It has been described by some students as one of the best finance speaker series in the world.
  • Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability with Professor James Patell, Professor David Beach, and Professor David Kelly. This relatively new course, offered in conjunction with the Stanford School of Design (“”), is quickly becoming one of the top course offerings at the GSB. It is difficult to get into and requires an application. However, the professors teaching the course are very enthusiastic and this helps create a great classroom atmosphere. Professor Patell is one of the seven core founding faculty of the He also served as the GSB’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1985 through 1991, and was Director of the MBA program from 1986 through 1988. The class takes place over two quarters. While the coursework is exceptionally demanding, it is known to be one of the most rewarding classes at the GSB because the work results in a tangible output and
    students get the experience of working on a project with a multidisciplinary team. Each year, several class projects are taken forward and have real-world impact. In 2006, a team won the Draper Fisher Jurvetson Venture Challenge and $250,000. They launched their company, d.light designs, in June
  • Interpersonal Dynamics. While its name marks it as one of the “softer” classes at the GSB, Interpersonal Dynamics (aka “Touchy-Feely”) is a perennial favorite of GSB students. Almost all MBAs take this course at some point during their second year, with most taking it during the spring. If you have ever heard a GSB alumnus talking about their “t-group”, then you know it is a not-to-be-missed part of the Stanford GSB experience. Interpersonal Dynamics is offered as part of the Stanford GSB’s leadership curriculum and is focused on improving the way managers and individuals communicate.

Today’s blog post was clipped from our Stanford GSB Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, or any other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions consultant today!