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Stanford Graduate School of Business: MBA vs MSx

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You know about the two-year, full-time MBA program at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). But did you know the school also offers a second masters degree focused on general management? Stanford’s MSx Program offers a Master of Science in Management degree, a one-year, full-time program geared toward experienced professionals with at least eight years in the work force. So if it’s a Stanford MBA vs MSx, which should you choose?

Which program is right for you depends on a range of factors. Both are full-time and focus on general management, and both are taught by Stanford GSB faculty and feature a range of elective course offerings. Students in either program have full access to Stanford’s GSB centers, courses throughout Stanford University, university-wide institutes and student clubs, events and social activities.

The MSx core curriculum, though, was designed with more experienced managers in mind. To this end, its leadership courses focus more on executive management development, and a specialized team in the GSB Career Management Center provides support to MSx students, who are further along in their careers and therefore generally more focused in their professional goals. The cohort in the MSx Program is significantly smaller than the MBA class – around 83 students as compared to around 408 MBA students.

As far as the admissions process is concerned, both programs are seeking candidates with superior intellectual aptitude and an appetite for learning, as well as demonstrated leadership potential. But the MSx Program places greater emphasis on experience and requires at least 8 years of prior work experience. The MBA program, in contrast, has no minimum work experience requirement and takes a broader view of candidates’ leadership potential.

The MSx Program is also looking for candidates to demonstrate a greater clarity of purpose as part of the admissions process – reflected in terms of professional direction, ambitious goals and level of self-awareness. The MBA Program will look more closely at candidates’ personal qualities and what they might contribute to the overall class. “Personal qualities and contributions may include your experiences, beliefs, passions, dreams, and goals,” read a recent post on the Stanford MBA Admissions blog.

If you are struggling to determine which program best fits your needs, check out the Stanford MBA Admissions blog post, which provides a useful table comparing the two offerings.