Stanford: International Student Record

An aerial view of Stanford’s new nine-building complex for its business school.

Stanford Graduate School of Business enrolled an all-time high of international students this year, a record 42% of the 398 students that make up the Class of 2014. Stanford said the international students hail from 53 non-U.S. countries.

At the same time, U.S. minority representation in the class plunged to 20% from 27% last year. The school explained that the number “reverted from last year’s 20-year high…to a more typical level.” Minorities composed 23% of the class in academic year 2010-11 and 21% in 2009-10.

The statistics come from a recently published profile of this fall’s incoming students on Stanford’s website. The school said applications for the class totaled 6,716, up slightly from 6,618 a year earlier, but still down from 7,204 two years ago.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS INCREASED BY FOUR PERCENTAGE POINTS

The spike in international students was especially surprising. The 42% representation reflects a four-point jump in a single year. Last year, 38% of Stanford’s incoming class came from outside the U.S., and in the 2009-2010 academic year, only 33% of the class was international. In recent years, however, a flood of highly qualified applicants have emerged from both China and India.

By way of comparison, some 34% of Harvard Business School’s latest class is international. Harvard, however, has had more success in enrolling a larger percentage of women, 40% this year vs. Stanford’s 35%, and U.S. minorities, 24% this year vs. Stanford’s 20%.

“These fluctuations also speak to our admission process,” said Stanford. “We don’t admit categories; we admit individuals. There are no quotas or targets in the admission process, and each applicant is evaluated entirely on his or her own merits. This is why we consider a class profile illustrative, rather than informative. In truth, there is no metric that can measure character.”

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS AND ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED IN CLASS REACHED AN ALL-TIME HIGH

The school’s admissions group also made a point of noting that “two-thirds of our new students are the sole person to come directly from that organization.” An earlier analysis by Poets&Quants had discovered that a mere dozen of the most elite consulting and investment banking firms accounted for more than a third of the students in Stanford’s Class of 2013 (see Top Feeder Companies To Stanford).

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