What Stanford GSB Is Known For
Silicon Valley. Venture capital has its origins on Sand Hill Road, where Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital got their start in the ’70s and which runs along the border of the Stanford University campus. Stanford Graduate School of Business (known as “the GSB”) is in the heart of Silicon Valley, and this proximity makes the school a natural incubator for great ideas. And, it means that the quality of guest speakers is phenomenal. It is not uncommon to see the likes of Steve Ballmer (the former CEO of Microsoft), Pat House (the founder of Siebel), and Jack Dorsey (the cofounder of Twitter) on campus—in the same week. This close proximity to so many startups also means that it’s fairly easy for students to set up independent projects and more informal school-year internships than is possible at other schools.
The anti-HBS. We know that Stanford probably doesn’t want us to say this, but the school seems to go to great lengths to emphasize that it is everything Harvard Business School (HBS) is not. While HBS boasts the largest full-time MBA program in the world, at more than 900 students per class, Stanford emphasizes that by the end of your two years you’ll get to know every member of your graduating class of about 400 students. HBS prides itself on having developed the case study method back in 1925, while the GSB emphasizes innovation in the classroom and its wide range of teaching methods. Taking a page from basic business strategy, the school seeks to differentiate itself by laying claim to the “anti-HBS” territory.
A “California culture.” GSB students live by the ethos “work hard, play hard.” While their schedules are extremely tight—filled with challenging coursework, a ton of recruiting events, study group meetings, class projects, student organizations, and other activities—they enjoy the California lifestyle and the relaxed culture at the GSB, with events such as FOAM, short for Friends of (former dean) Arjay Miller; the informal Tuesday night happy hour; Vegas FOAM, a quick midweek trip some students indulge in toward the end of the term; TALK, a weekly event where two classmates spend 45 minutes each telling the story of their lives to the rest of their class; and the Take a Professor to Lunch program, where students host faculty in a more intimate environment.