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.


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.”


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).

  • the interquartile ranger

    I interpret it to mean that at least 25% got a 770 or higher (e.g., the 75th percentile could be 770 and there could be a lot of 770’s from the sample technically above the IQR)… but yes I agree it seems a bit high; though I guess it could be right.

  • anonymous

    The Wharton GMAT # doesn’t seem right…it means that 25% got higher than a 770. Is this an error?

  • guest

    Hey John! Check this out. I think you missed it. Sorry if I am wrong. Just want to spread the word

  • Simone

    if you are looking for a truly international experience only INSEAD can serve you..there you feel you are in the UN not in university classes.

  • Matt

    I would love to know how many students are REALLY international candidates, and not second generation Indian, Chinese, etc raised in the US with double nationality (see Stanford’s profile footnotes)

  • Kip

    Stanford is usually the leader, along with Harvard, in management education trends. This is a clear sign that in the coming years, we are going to see more and more international students in the MBA programs and shape global policy. I am disappointed that the number of minority students went down. Stanford has had an outstanding commitment to diversity, and hopefully this is an outlier and not a trend.