Stanford GSB Programs and Admissions

Program Options and Admission Requirements

Stanford University campus
Michael Layefsky / Getty Images. Michael Layefsky / Getty Images

Stanford University has seven different schools. One of them is the Stanford Graduate School of Business, also known as Stanford GSB. This west coast school was established in 1925 as an alternative to the many business schools that populated the eastern side of the United States. Back then, many people on the west coast went away to school in the east and then never returned. The original purpose of Stanford GSB was to motivate students to study business on the west coast and then stay in the area after graduation.

Stanford GSB has grown considerably since the 1920s and is widely thought to be one of the best business schools in the world. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the programs and admissions at Stanford GSB. You'll discover the reasons why people attend this school and learn what it takes to get accepted into the most competitive programs.    

Stanford GSB MBA Program

Stanford GSB has a traditional two-year MBA program. The first year of the Stanford GSB MBA Program consists of a core curriculum that is designed to help students view business from a management perspective and acquire foundational management knowledge and skills. The second year of the curriculum allows students to personalize their studies through electives (like accounting, finance, human resources, entrepreneurship, etc.), compressed courses on specific business topics, and other Stanford courses on non-business topics (like art, design, foreign language, healthcare, etc.).

The MBA program at Stanford GSB also has a Global Experience Requirement. There are multiple ways to fulfill this requirement, including global seminars, global study trips, and self-directed experiences. Students can also participate in a Global Management Immersion Experience (GMIX) at a sponsoring organization for four weeks in the summer or the Stanford-Tsinghua Exchange Program (STEP), which is an exchange program between Stanford GSB and the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in China.

To apply to the Stanford GSB MBA Program, you will need to answer essay questions and submit two letters of reference, GMAT or GRE scores, and transcripts. You must also submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores if English is not your primary language. Work experience is not a requirement for MBA applicants. You can apply to this program immediately after college - even if you don't have any work experience.

Dual and Joint Degrees

Many Stanford MBA students (more than 1/5 of the class) earn a dual or joint degree from Stanford University in addition to an MBA. The dual degree option results in an MBA degree from Stanford GSB and an MD from the Stanford School of Medicine. In a joint degree program, a single course could count toward more than one degree, and degrees can be conferred simultaneously. Joint degree options include:

  • Juris Doctor/MBA Degree
  • MA in Education/MBA
  • Master of Public Policy /MBA
  • MS in Computer Science/MBA
  • MS in Electrical Engineering/MBA
  • MS in Environment and Resources/MBA

Admissions requirements for joint and dual degree programs vary by degree.

Stanford GSB MSx Program

The Stanford Master of Science in Management for Experienced Leaders, also known as the Stanford MSx Program, is a 12-month program that results in a Master of Science in Management degree.

The core curriculum of this program focuses on business fundamentals. Students are allowed to customize about 50 percent of the curriculum by choosing from hundreds of electives. Because the average student in the Stanford GSB MSx Program has about 12 years of work experience, students also get the opportunity to learn from each other as they participate in study groups, class discussions, and feedback sessions.  

Each year, Stanford GSB chooses about 90 Sloan Fellows for this program. To apply, you will need to answer essay questions and submit three letters of reference, GMAT or GRE scores, and transcripts. You must also submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores if English is not your primary language. The admissions committee looks for students who have professional accomplishments, a passion for learning, and a willingness to share with their peers.

Eight years of work experience is also required. 

Stanford GSB PhD Program

The Stanford GSB PhD Program is an advanced residential program for exceptional students who have already earned a master's degree. Students in this program focus their studies on one of the following business areas:

  • Accounting
  • Economic Analysis and Policy
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations, Information and Technology
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Political Economics

Students are allowed to customize their focus within their chosen area of study to pursue individual interests and goals. Stanford GSB is dedicated to providing students with the tools they need to complete cutting-edge academic research in business-related disciplines, which makes this program an attractive option for PhD students.

Admissions for the Stanford GSM PhD Program are competitive. Only a few applicants are selected each year. To be considered for the program, you must submit a statement of purpose, resume or CV, three letters of reference, GMAT or GRE scores, and transcripts. You must also submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores if English if not your primary language. The admissions committee evaluates applicants based on academic, professional, and research achievements. They also look for applicants whose research interests are aligned with the faculty.