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An MBA from Stanford? Forget about the fees

70% students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business receive financial aid of some kind — 18% fully funded

education Updated: Mar 23, 2011 09:36 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi

Most of you would be forced to drop the idea of an MBA from a top B-school such as Stanford because of the exorbitant fee ($53,118 per annum, living expenses extra), but not all know that 70% of the students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business are on scholarships – 18% of which are fully funded. In an email interview with HT Horizons, Garth Saloner, Philip H Knight professor and dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business talks about ‘what it takes’ to be at Stanford. Following are the excerpts from the interview.

Can you tell us about the average profile of an Indian applicant?
Just as no two Stanford MBA students are the same, no two Stanford MBA applicants are the same. Every student is selected individually to compose the most diverse class possible in the broadest sense.

The current class is 41% international, including dual-passport holders. The 389 students (in the class of 2012) come from 53 countries and have studied at 82 non-US undergraduate institutions and 72 US institutions. Their GMAT scores range from 580 to 790.

Regarding their undergraduate studies, 50% studied humanities and social sciences, 31% studied engineering/ mathematics/
natural sciences, and 19% studied business.

Do you also plan to increase the number of women in the batch?
The percentage of women in the Class of 2012 is 39%, one of the strongest representations of women among business schools.

What do you look for in applicants?
We look for three attributes: intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and the perspective they will bring to the class – that is, their personal qualities, contributions and experiences. Admitted students tend to have sound analytical skills and strong performance in managing programmes, processes, or people.

How is GSB different from other US B-schools such as Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg and Columbia?
First, the Stanford GSB has a highly collaborative culture that supports innovation by encouraging critical thinking, design thinking (rapid prototyping and idea-sharing), and personal leadership development. Stanford GSB was a leader in developing a new direction for management education with its complete retooling of the MBA curriculum in 2007.

Second, the GSB has half the number of students enrolled in the MBA programme than some top peer schools, which allows for a highly personal programme and plenty of individual attention.

For example, in their first quarter, students take a 16-person seminar on critical analytical thinking, usually with a full professor. The class guides them to think deeply and communicate effectively about difficult issues in business, such as the economic and social trade-offs of developing an electric car.

What, according to you, is the most important factor which makes a B-school a force to reckon with – placements, research, faculty, industry exposure or live projects?
All of these are important aspects of the MBA experience. At Stanford, we aspire to create a transformative experience for students, one that will enable them to dream big and lead lives of meaning and impact. Students receive leadership training and coaching in groups of 8-10 people. As for career opportunities, 93% of the class of 2010 had a job offer within 90 days of graduation.

With the rising popularity of Indian B-schools, do you foresee competition from there?
We have much to learn from India. We plan to visit annually in December in order to spark the same type of exchange of people and ideas that made Silicon Valley one of the world’s innovation capitals.

Though 70% of the students receive financial aid, how many of them get full fee waiver? What are the different sources for financial aid?
Seventy% of the MBA students are receiving some form of financial aid: fellowship (scholarship/grant), fellowship and loans, or loans only. About 55% of MBA students receive fellowship with the average fellowship equal to $21,106. About 18% of MBA students are fully funded. Indian students may also apply for a Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship, which is awarded to up to five Indian students each year. The fellowship covers all expenses, including admission fees, tuition, living costs, and travel. Applicants must complete the application by June 1, 2011.