Round 1: September 21st, 2016
Round 2: January 10th, 2017
Round 3: March 15th, 2017
At a time when one school after another is adding faculty and centers to support entrepreneurship, this was clearly Stanford’s year. With applications up 3.5% this past year, the school continues to boast the most highly selective MBA program in the U.S., accepting only 6.5% of its applicants. Stanford MBAs typically land among the highest first-year pay packages in the world. And MBA startups at Stanford have been at record levels in the past two years, making the school the place to incubate a business from scratch, search for capital from angel investors and VCs, and launch. This year, roughly 17% of the graduating MBAs—exactly 65 students—went the startup route. That’s about the same as last year when a record 18% chose to start new firms.
In fact, the startup mindset has become so dominant at the school that the dean of its MBA program now believes Stanford should try to somewhat discourage it. “From our standpoint, we don’t need to sell entrepreneurship here because we get it for free,” says Madhav Rajan, senior associate dean for academic affairs. He believes that the school’s location–in the heart of Silicon Valley–allows it to have a near hands-off approach to entrepreneurship because the startup bug strikes naturally given the surrounding ecosystem of angel investors, VC firms, and company founders.
“Students will automatically think Stanford is entrepreneurship,” he adds. “We don’t need to sell anybody on it. If anything, this is a trend we have to push against more than embrace. We have a completely different problem than anybody else. We don’t want to be the graduate school of entrepreneurship. We are a school of general management.”
Stanford’s latest incoming crop of MBAs is the largest class in the school’s history with record percentages of both female and international students. Out of a class of 410 newbies (vs. 406 last year), 42% are women, up six full percentage points from last year’s 36%, while 44% are from outside the U.S., up three percentage points from 41% last year. The international contingent at Stanford hails from 62 different countries, an all-time high. The average GMAT score for the class is also the highest of any U.S. business school yet again: 732.
The school’s goal is ambitious: to only accept students who, in Dean Garth Saloner’s words, “have the leadership capacity to change the world.” The tagline of the school? “Change Lives, Change Organizations, Change the World.” This lofty mission is taken seriously by the admissions staff, which sorts through more than 7,000 applications from top-tier candidates.
Stanford GSB opened a $345 million world-class campus in 2011. The complex gives Stanford’s B-School some 360,000 square feet of space, roughly 30% more than it had in its previous location. There are now 13 tiered classrooms, 20 flat-floored classrooms, and 70 breakout and study rooms. The larger number of breakout rooms, in particular, will help the school to more effectively deliver a curriculum that emphasizes smaller seminar-style courses. A 600-seat auditorium replaces the previous 324-seat model. There are also eight 16-person seminar rooms to allow for more intimate instruction, eight showers for MBA students, and an 870-car parking structure–a big selling point on a campus where parking was always an ordeal.
Completely gone are the windowless classrooms in the B-school’s former blocky building, which was put up in 1966. With the exception of a behavioral lab, all the classrooms now have natural light.
Stanford isn’t cheap. In fact, in 2014, only one MBA program was more expensive: New York University’s Stern School of Business. For a single person living on campus, Stanford said the cost of its MBA is now $202,870, a sum that includes a $4,000 global immersion trip. That’s only about $1,000 less than NYU. But if a student lives off-campus, Stanford estimates the total cost to be $212,092, with the required trip overseas.
Most business schools are aggressively increasing their scholarship support of students to help defray the escalating costs of tuition and fees. Stanford says that tuition has gone up by 16% in the past five years, but the pool of money available for scholarships has risen 80% to $15.7 million from $8.7 million. Stanford’s average student fellowship grant this year is $35,830, higher than any other business school.