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Real Humans of the Stanford GSB MBA Class of 2020

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Nearly 8,000 MBA hopefuls sought a seat in the classrooms of the prestigious Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), but only 419 secured their place in the Class of 2020. In this edition of our Real Humans of the MBA Class of 2020 series, we catch up with four GSB MBA first-year students who defied the odds and joined this exceptional class.

First, let’s take a look at overall class profile statistics to better understand the latest set of students selected to pursue the school’s mission, “Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.”

Stanford keeps its classes small intentionally but not at the expense of diversity: This tight group is comprised of 41 percent women and 42 percent international students. Additionally, more than a quarter of the class identifies as U.S. minorities.

Humanities and social sciences dominate their collective educational background—48 percent of the class pursued these majors as undergrads. Thirty-four percent majored in engineering, mathematics, or natural sciences, while the remaining 18 percent studied business. While their GMAT scores ranged from 600 to 790, the average score for the Class of 2020 was 732. Among those who attended U.S. schools, the average GPA was 3.72.

The new crop of students also brings diverse work experience. Individual students in the class claim anywhere from zero to 11 years of work experience, but the class average is four. The largest group of students—just over a fifth of the class—came from investment management, private equity, or venture capital.

Consulting was the second most common feeder industry, supplying 19 percent of the class. And, just as many recent MBA graduates have been seeking post-MBA careers in technology, increasing numbers of students are coming in from technology as well—17 percent this year. Another 10 percent worked in government, education, or nonprofit before Stanford. The rest bring experience from the arts, energy, consumer products, and financial services fields, among others.

“It is incumbent upon all of us to foster a culture that is inclusive and welcoming and that enables us to share a broad range of perspectives,” Dean Jonathan Levin said in a welcome letter to the Stanford GSB MBA Class of 2020. The “real humans” of the Stanford GSB MBA Class of 2020 we caught up with include a former aerospace engineer, a U.S. Navy supply officer, a international NGO staffer focused on refugee issues, and a Latin American private equity firm employee. Read on to learn how they each were drawn in by the school’s philosophy, culture, and community and where they hope the Stanford MBA will take them.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.