Stanford MSx

Stanford has rebranded the Stanford Sloan Masters program as the Stanford MSx – Masters of Science in Management for eXperienced professionals. It is certainly more descriptive, but I think their primary goal was to eliminate confusion of the Stanford Sloan program with MIT’s venerable business school.

With the new branding, students will still be known as Sloan Fellows – to carry forward the heritage of the Sloan vision of training mid-career executives. But the program will still be a full-time immersive experience, instead of the typical nights / weekend approach of the typical EMBA.

I still think the MS in Management is confusing – it will certainly not address all the questions for future students if the MSMgmt is equivalent to an MBA in future employers’ eyes. But in reality, I don’t think it matters. Since most of the accepted students probably have 10+ years experience, having “Stanford GSB” on your resume and being able to talk about the experience is certainly more important than the reader immediately understanding the difference between an MBA and the MSMgmt.

If you’re expecting to get your next job from a Monster.com posting, little things like this might be really important to you — but I think we’ll all be in a different league after this experience.

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7 thoughts on “Stanford MSx

  1. How do you compare the MIT programme and the MSx programme at Sloan in terms of quality and recognition? There are some obvious differences in pre-requisites and eventual degrees but I’m looking for a comparison of the intangibles and haven’t found anything useful.

    • Sorry for the long delay — had moved the blog to Squarespace for a while, but now I think I’ll bring it back to WordPress…

      In December or January, we were actually visited by the current (Class of 2014) MIT Sloan Fellows. Their class was on a West coast study trip and visiting the tech firms here in the Bay Area. It was a great opportunity to network and chat with our counterparts.

      First, I would say that it sounded like their program was even more quant-focused than the Stanford experience. A core part of the Sloan / MSx curriculum includes Statistics, Microeconomics and Finance — and there are certainly a wide selection of additional quant classes you can add (I took Prof. Charles Lee’s legendary Alphanomics class). But it was pretty obvious that the MIT Sloans were heavily applying quant concepts in every single class. Which makes sense — after all, every marketing campaign, production function, finance tranche, etc can all be measured, so why not mathematically model it all? But for me, that certainly wasn’t the goal of B-school. I recognize that most of business is in relationships, references, experiences and appearances — some people will be able to model these things (and there are classes for that too), but that isn’t how I wanted to spend my time.

      Second, they were very clear to mention the California atmosphere and Silicon Valley optimism that permeates the Stanford campus. It goes beyond warm weather — Stanford GSB is a notoriously “touchy feely” kind of place. You generally do not see cut throat / super competitive behavior in the classroom. Students tend to build on other students’ comments, rather than cut each other down or prove each other wrong.

      Lastely, as far as quality and recognition, Stanford is now often considered the #1 US business school. If you’re considering technology entrepreneurship, I don’t think there is even a close #2. If you’re looking to be the best banker or finance candidate to ever grace a B-school, maybe HBS is more your speed. Stanford GSB concentrates on creating “general managers” that are prepared for careers in the executive ranks of any company. The Sloan / MSx program is a little under-recognized — it isn’t that the program is bad, it just doesn’t have the same kind of street cred. Remember, once the core classes are out of the way, MSx students sit side-by-side with MBA2s in electives. We also have the advantage of being in a very tight knit group (93 students in the Class of 2015) that results in immediate friendships that will last a lifetime. If you’re > 30-35, trust me, the MSx program is a much better fit than the MBA program anyway. It simply doesn’t make sense for professionals with 10-15 years of experience to take the summer off and do an internship.

      Hope that helps!

    • Hi El Meerr-

      I was looking for this information prior to applying as well. I couldn’t understand why this data wasn’t published – seems like they’re trying to hide something, right?

      Once I got into the program, it started to make sense. From my cohort, about 1/3 of the students would go back to their prior employers (but probably at a higher management level), another 1/3 would begin a job search and about 1/3 would be looking at entrepreneurial pursuits (either starting a new company or joining a startup). Once you realize this, you can see why a “career report” or any job placement statistics would be meaningless and misleading.

      I can tell you this perhaps surprising fact: The people in my class who were looking to find their next job often took several months or even 1 year + to find their next position. It didn’t occur to me prior to the program, but it makes sense. Most of my classmates have 6-10 years work experience – most of it in management. Some of the older folks like me are approaching 20 years work experience. Additionally, my job-seeking classmates are looking for C-level, VP or other senior management positions. One doesn’t find these jobs on Monster… For these reasons, the typical B-school career center and on-campus recruiting events are not very helpful. Recruiters who come on campus are looking to fill 20 job reqs with fresh MBA graduates – that model simply doesn’t apply for MSx graduates with significant work experience and looking for executive level positions.

      As an MSx, if you’re looking to start a job (with an employer) immediately after graduation, best to start your job search sometime in the Fall Quarter. This will give you time to be selective and the flexibility to schedule interviews during school breaks. The other approach is to not think about job hunting until after graduation – some of my classmates definitely took this approach. But don’t be surprised if it takes 6-18 months to find the RIGHT job…

      If you’re worried about how a recruiter views the program, you’re probably not thinking about it the right way. You finish MSx as a graduate of the Stanford GSB. You will have had the opportunity to get the best B-school education on planet Earth. You’ve just made 100+ great new friends. You’ve had the chance to network and explore for a year with some of the most famous business experts and academics in the world. You need to leverage this fact and the network you would have access to for a full year – and not worry about how a recruiter is going to view the program.

      Hope that is helpful – although I realize I may not have answered your question…

  2. Thank you for the great blog!!

    I am having the MsX interview very soon and your blog has been very very helpful in understanding the real life of an MsX student.
    You have mentioned in the post that collaborating with mba students will benefit both sides, and I totally agree, but do you see that often and actually happening in Daily life, aside taking same classes?

    • Hi Phantasmagoriaya-

      It definitely takes some effort – but yes, it absolutely does happen. A lot of class assignments and projects are done in small groups. So in your electives, it is quite likely that you will be in groups with 2nd-year MBAs, rather than with other MSx’ers. I would encourage actively joining with MBAs when forming these groups – they can be quite brilliant classmates.

      Also, there are opportunities to join MBA-led international study trips between the academic quarters. I went to New Zealand with 25-30 MBAs and had a great time. Got to know several of them very well.

      There are countless special interest groups, club meetings, information sessions and social activities on a daily basis – each is an opportunity to work with and introduce yourself to MBAs. Just like most other things, the opportunities are there for you – but if you don’t make the effort, you’re unlikely to reap any benefit.

      Good luck with your interview!

      • Dear Eric

        Thank you so much for the response.
        Reading your comment made me aware of so many things I can do when I Become a fellow. And luckily … I got in!!
        Thank you so much for your reply and hope to see you sometime in the near future!!

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