Stanford Graduate School of Business is planning for an early start and an even earlier finish to its autumn quarter for MBA students. The school told first-year students that they should be on campus to begin their MBA experience on Friday, Sept. 4th, nine days earlier than last year. Students who leave campus for the Thanksgiving Day holiday will not have to return to campus until the start of the Winter Quarter in January.
The new pandemic-influenced schedule was announced in an email to admitted students from Kirsten Moss, assistant dean and director of MBA admissions and financial aid. Second-year MBA students would begin their fall quarter courses on Monday, Sept. 14th, a date which compares with last year’s Sept. 23rd start.
“Our major guiding priority is to balance our desire to maximize in-person interaction with the imperative to maintain a healthy community,” wrote Moss. “At the moment we expect that many classes will be in a format that combines in-person and online learning in the autumn quarter.
‘GOAL IS TO COMPLETE IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION BEFORE THE THANKSGIVING BREAK’
“Our goal is to complete in-person instruction before Thanksgiving break in November; this is to mitigate potential health concerns related to student travel (e.g., going home to see family) and return to communal living spaces.”
For incoming MBAs who start what the GSB calls “Week Zero,” essentially an orientation week with a foundational short course on group and team dynamics, the school also expects students to attend class and activities on Labor Day, a U.S. holiday on Sept. 7.
“All students will complete all on-campus instruction on Friday, November 20, have Thanksgiving week (November 23 to November 27) as a break, and complete exams and other coursework online the week of November 30 to December 4,” wrote Moss. “Note we expect there will be other virtual activities and opportunities the week of December 7 to December 11.” Last year, the last day of classes was Dec. 6th.
STANFORD HAS ASSEMBLED AN AUTUMN QUARTER TASK FORCE OF FACULTY, STAFF AND STUDENTS
Moss did not yet disclose the first day of classes in the winter quarter which was Jan. 6th this year.
The dates were informed by an Autumn Quarter Task Force (AQTF) composed of faculty, students, and staff to design a learning experience that complies with the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moss says the task force established several guiding principles to help it make recommendations.
• Community wellness: physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing
• Cohort connection & community building: development of interpersonal relationships
• Skill development: academic and tactical learning
• Personal development: growth in leadership and self-awareness