GSB Scandal A Non-Issue For Applicants

Stanford University's Graduate School of Business

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business

‘LET’S FACE IT, STORIES OF FOAM PARTIES AND WILD TRIPS APPEAL TO SOME ELEMENTS’

There also were wider aspects to the story, detailing what some consider a student culture of excessive partying and drinking that has led to the recent suspension of two MBA student, one who has been charged with voluntary manslaughter and another who the university found had committed violence against an MBA student who alleged that she had been raped in the business school dorm. “The part of the story about what I would call sick aspects of Stanford’s culture will have as much impact on Stanford admissions as the NY Times article a couple of years ago about “Section X” and similar happenings at HBS had on HBS admissions: Somewhere between slim and none,” predicts Linda Abraham, founder and CEO of accepted.com, another admissions consulting firm.

“There may be a slight drop in application volume and/or yield, perhaps more to be expected from women,” she adds. “But let’s face it, stories of FOAM parties and wild trips also appeal to some elements of the applicant pool. If not, those parties and the attendant culture wouldn’t exist. Perhaps the controversy will increase applications from some and reduce from others.”

A search for Saloner’s replacement will soon commence, though his resignation announcement has him in office as a lame duck until the Class of 2016 graduates. “If Stanford stumbles in its next dean choice or enters into a period of instability, then it could have drops in application volume and yield, but that drop would not be due to the current controversy,” believes Abraham. “The cause would be future poor choices.”

‘PEOPLE WANT TO GO TO GSB SO BADLY BECAUSE IT’S THE BEST, MOST SELECTIVE SCHOOL’

Bottom line: “Honestly, I think people want to go to GSB so badly because it’s the best, most selective school,” says Adam Hoff, a principal with Amerasia Consulting Group. “Call me cynical, but I just don’t think most candidates care a lot about this stuff. I wish they did.”

As for Wyper, he’ll certainly be submitting an application to Stanford. “I’m applying to Stanford because it offers an unusually strong curriculum for aspiring social entrepreneurs,” says Wyper, who hopes to spend time at Bain’s non-profit arm, Bridgespan, after earning his MBA. Ultimately, he hopes to leverage his consulting and law background to improve legal aid in developing countries. “I hope to build a global network of legal aid clinics and create meaningful impact for disadvantaged people who can’t afford a lawyer. I believe Stanford’s commitment to social innovation and its trademark ‘learning by doing’ approach will provide a nurturing environment for my legal aid concept.”

But Stanford attracts him on a more personal level as well. Last year, adds Wyper, he visited the Knight Management Center and was impressed by the warmth and generosity of the MBA candidates he met. “Not only did they show me around campus and share their experiences, but they also sat down and had lunch with me which was incredibly humbling,” he recalls. “I think this speaks volumes for the kinds of people Stanford attracts, and the values they truly stand for.”

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About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.