GSB Is a Good Fit for You If…
You have an interesting backstory. With the lowest admission rate of any MBA program in the world, usually around 6 to 7%, Stanford has the luxury of selecting a class from a huge pool of extremely well-qualified candidates. As a result, the entering class of about 400 students tends to have really interesting backgrounds and stories outside of work in addition to unquestioned academic and professional qualifications. Authenticity, passion, and impact in every aspect of your life will be key. Be sure to flip to our Admissions section for further insight.
You’re a techie. While only 15% of the GSB’s most recent incoming class came directly from the tech industry (as opposed to 20% of UCLA Anderson’s class!), one-quarter of graduates went into the industry immediately upon graduation. Many other members of the incoming class come from consulting and finance jobs that are heavily tech-related as well. As one recent Stanford GSB graduate put it, “This can be a good thing or bad thing. Some students who are less interested in tech probably feel a little alienated or distant at times.”
You want to become an entrepreneur. This probably goes without saying: Stanford is a great place to launch a business. Typically about 60 to 70 students strike out on their own after graduating—about 16% of the overall class, more than at any other top-tier school. Not all entrepreneurs are launching tech ventures, though clearly those who do are at an advantage, given the Silicon Valley location. Many graduating students with slightly less appetite for risk have the option of cherry-picking and joining early-stage, venture-backed startups and play meaningful roles in the future success of these businesses. For more details on entrepreneurial opportunities at the GSB, see our Employment & Careers section.
You are interested in a career in venture capital (VC). Let’s not oversell this: Only 3% of Stanford GSB grads went into VC last year, or about 12 members of the entire class. However, that percentage is still higher than those of most other top programs. Venture capital is an extraordinarily competitive field to get into, so if you’re planning on pursuing it, you’d better have a Plan B and Plan C ready to go!
You’re a well-accomplished college senior. Because Stanford’s deferred enrollment program doesn’t have a fancy name like HBS 2+2, it may be overlooked by outstanding college seniors who are looking to lock down their MBA future now. With deferred enrollment, you can work for one to three years before starting your MBA program. Stanford has plenty of advice for aspiring seniors on its website, but one thing it doesn’t mention is a profile of admitted candidates, or even the number who were successful (which is likely to be in the single digits each year). Because college seniors have limited experience in “the real world,” the bar is set even higher to demonstrate leadership potential and articulate a clear vision of how they will impact the world around them.
You are a mid-career manager or executive. The Stanford MSx Program is a one-year, full-time master’s of science program for managers with at least eight years of professional experience (12 years is the MSx program average). Average work experience of Stanford’s full-time MBA program participants is just four years, so applicants with more experience may find they are not a great fit. For candidates who prefer a full-time program to a part-time EMBA, the MSx program is a unique opportunity to get the full, on-campus immersive experience of an MBA with a 90-member cohort of “fellows” who are successful mid-career professionals. This year, Stanford is permitting candidates to apply for both the MBA program and the MSx program simultaneously, so while applicants of the past were forced to choose one or the other, you’ll now have the opportunity to “throw your hat into the Stanford ring” twice. This Guide focuses primarily on the MBA program, but Veritas Prep has seen great success in helping MSx applicants gain admission to this highly selective program. Interested candidates should also investigate similar programs at MIT Sloan and London Business School.