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Stanford Graduate School of Business

The Stanford Graduate School of Business, or Stanford GSB, is located on the eastern side of Stanford University’s campus in Palo Alto, California. Stanford’s MBA program is known for its small size, which creates an intimate academic setting. Due in part to its close proximity to Silicon Valley, the school is also well recognized for its strengths in entrepreneurship and the high-tech industry. The MBA program places a noted focus on fostering positive change, as evidenced by its motto, “Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.”

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Across its seven academic areas, Stanford GSB employs 125 tenured and tenure-track professors resulting in a six-to-one student-faculty ratio. In addition to teaching classes, these scholars and practitioners also help staff the school’s eight research centers and research programs, which cover topics from entrepreneurial studies to global supply chain management.


The full-time MBA program is designed to take place across six quarters of roughly 11 weeks apiece. Classes are held during the fall, winter, and spring, and students are encouraged to spend the summer between the first and second years completing an internship. Autumn Quarter of the first year of the MBA program typically begins in mid- September and ends in mid-December. Classes resume for Winter Quarter in early January and last until late March; Spring Quarter runs from early April through mid-June. The second year is structured very similarly, with the exception that Autumn Quarter courses begin a week later.

As at most MBA programs, professors at Stanford GSB use a mix of teaching methods, such as case studies, lecture and discussion, and team projects. Stanford GSB students spend the first year of their MBA studies completing core requirements. The first quarter is devoted to General Management Perspectives, a series of eight courses designed to help students think like a senior manager.

During Winter Quarter and Spring Quarter, first-year students follow the General Management Foundations curriculum, in which students must take one course in each of 10 business disciplines but are allowed to choose the level of those courses. In addition, each first-year student must fulfill a Global Experience Requirement by contributing to a project abroad. Students can meet this requirement by working abroad over the summer through the Global Management Immersion Experience, completing an exchange program with Tsinghua University in Beijing, or participating in a student-initiated service or study trip.

Prior to their second year, students can return to campus early to participate in small one- or two-week seminars called Compressed Courses. These courses explore focused topics such as Small Business Strategy and Crafting Effective Interpersonal Communication. Throughout the second year, students can take up to 18 courses total and are free to choose from over 100 elective courses across 10 academic departments. Students may also cross-register for courses at other Stanford University graduate schools. Stanford GSB does not offer any formal MBA majors, but students can earn a Certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation.

Other MBA Degree Options

Along with its two-year MBA degree, Stanford GSB offers six joint degree programs with other schools within the university. The business school also has six dual degree programs that are offered in conjunction with other Stanford University schools and graduate schools at Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and Yale. Aspiring GSB students are free to design their own dual degree programs featuring an MBA and a degree in a different field from Stanford or another university. Beyond its MBA offerings, Stanford GSB is home to the Stanford Sloan Master’s Program, a one-year MS in Management program targeted at mid-career managers and executives.

Core Courses at Stanford GSB

General Management Perspectives

  • Ethics and Management
  • Financial Accounting
  • Leadership Labs
  • Managerial Skills
  • Optimization and Simulation Modeling
  • Managing Groups and Teams
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Strategic Leadership

General Management Foundations

  • Corporate Finance  
  • Data Analysis and Decision Making
  • Finance
  • Human Resource Management
  • Information Management
  • Macroeconomics
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Microeconomics
  • Operations
  • Strategy Beyond Market

Global Experience Requirement (one)

  • Global Management Immersion Experience
  • Global Study Trip
  • Social Innovation Study Trip
  • Stanford-Tsinghua Exchange Program

Degree Offerings at Stanford

Full-time MBA Program

Joint Degrees
JD/MBA, MA Education/MBA, MPP/MBA, MS Environment & Resources/MBA, MS Computer Science/MBA, MS in Electrical Engineering/ MBA academic-experience/joint-dual-degrees

Dual Degrees
MD/MBA, MA in International Studies/MBA academic-experience/joint-dual-degrees

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Clubs, Conferences & Competitions

Stanford GSB students are given many opportunities for extracurricular involvement.  The school has over 70 student-led clubs and organizations that vary in focus from professional to social interests.  For instance, the Entrepreneurship Club, one of the largest and most active student clubs at the GSB, provides resources such as workshops, panels, and peer mentorship to its members, who range from aspiring to experienced entrepreneurs.  Meanwhile, the group GSB Gives Back focuses on organizing the Charity Auction, an annual school-wide auction the proceeds of which go to nonprofits such as the Boys and Girls Club and Special Olympics.

Each year, Stanford GSB students and professors run a variety of events that bring scholars and practitioners to campus to discuss business-related issues.  These include such conferences as the Digital Marketing Conference, the GSB Search Fund Conference, and the Stanford Africa Business Conference.  GSB students also participate in several business competitions, such as the $100K Challenge run by the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students.

Campus Space

The Knight Management Center, the home of the Stanford GSB, lies towards the eastern side of the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California. Officially opened in spring 2011, the Knight Management Center is made up of eight buildings featuring plentiful classrooms and study rooms, as well as an auditorium, event center, dining pavilion, and library.

The Schwab Residential Center is a short walk away and serves as a home for roughly 200 first-year MBA students. Additional housing is also available on Stanford’s campus through the Graduate Housing Service. Meanwhile, students seeking to live off campus can find information about local housing through Stanford’s Community Housing Services.

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Career Services

Stanford GSB’s Career Management Center (CMC) provides students with a wide range of career counseling services, including networking events, mock interviews, resume and cover letter reviews, and one-on-one meetings with CMC advisors.  The CMC also organizes informational recruiting events such as Company Networking Nights, as well as the school’s on-campus recruiting schedule.  In the 2016-2017 school year, the official On-Campus Recruiting periods ran from mid- to late October for second-year students and from mid-January to early February, with a break for midterms, for first- and second-year students.

Career Statistics

Upon graduating, 72% of the Class of 2016 had received job offers.  Three months out, 90% of 2016 GSB graduates who were seeking employment had received an offer and 82% had accepted.  The average starting salary of the Class of 2016 was slightly over $140,553, with an average signing bonus of around $23,636.

Technology was the most chosen industry for the Class of 2016, with 33% of students joining technology-related companies.  In addition, 16% went into consulting, 31% into finance, and 6% into healthcare.  Stanford’s 2016 graduates also found jobs in a variety of other industries, such as consumer goods and energy at 2% and 3%, respectively.

As with many business schools, Stanford GSB placed a large proportion of its graduates, 65%, in the region where it is located: the Western U.S.  Seventeen percent found work in the Northeast, 6% moved to the Southwest, and the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest claimed 1% and 2% each.  Ten percent of the Class of 2016 took jobs outside of the U.S., with the most popular regions being Asia and Europe.

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The Class Profile

Admission to Stanford GSB’s MBA program is highly competitive—8,116 MBA hopefuls applied to the Class of 2018, and the school admitted slightly over 6% of these applicants. The average GMAT score among the 417 students enrolled in this class is 737, though scores ranged from 590 to 790. The overall GPA for the class averaged 3.73.

Forty-eight percent of students in the Class of 2018 hold undergraduate majors in the humanities or social sciences, while 37% majored in engineering, math or natural sciences, and 15% majored in business.  Students in this class have an average of four years of work experience.  Prior to attending Stanford, 7% of students worked in consumer products, 20% in private equity/venture capital, and 18% in consulting.  Students also came in large numbers from industries such as high tech and nonprofit/government.

Forty percent of first-year students are international citizens, dual U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.  Finally, women comprise 41% of this class, and 29% identify as a member of a U.S. minority group.

Application Procedures

Stanford GSB offers three rounds of admission, which usually take place in late September, early January, and early April.  Along with filling out an online application about their biographical information and career history, applicants must submit essays, a résumé, transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate academic institutions attended, and a $275 application fee.  In addition, two letters of reference are required, one from a workplace supervisor and one from a peer.

Applicants must also submit GMAT or GRE scores and, if needed, a TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score.  Interviews are conducted on an invitation-only basis and are required for admission to the MBA program.  The bulk of interviews are executed by alumni located around the world; members of the MBA Admissions staff also conduct interviews.

Application Checklist

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The tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year is $68,868.  However, Stanford GSB estimates that single students living on campus will pay $112,797 total in that time given additional costs such as rent and textbooks.  For single students living off campus, the school suggests that students budget $114,936 for the academic year.  The school only offers need-based fellowships but encourages students to apply for both need- and merit-based outside fellowships.  Stanford GSB students who are U.S. citizens can also finance their education through federal and private loan programs.  International students, meanwhile, are encouraged to take advantage of the school’s partnership with Star One Credit Union that allows international students to take out loans without a U.S. co-signer.  Upon being admitted to the MBA program, students receive detailed instructions regarding how to file for financial aid.

Cost of Attendance (Single, On-campus Student)

  • Tuition $68,868
  • Living Allowance $34,653
  • Books & Supplies $1,518
  • Materials & Program Fee $1,155
  • Transportation $1,005
  • Medical Insurance $4,968
  • Health Fee $630
  • Total $112,797

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Mailing Address:
MBA Admissions Office
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Knight Management Center/
McClelland Bldg.
655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-7298
Phone: 650-723-2766
Fax: 650-725-7831
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @StandfordBiz

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