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 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.


Great Orientation

Great Orientation

We had a great visit to campus and a very helpful orientation. But best of all, it was an opportunity to meet the folks I will be spending the next year getting to know better. We covered topics ranging from course selection to health insurance and housing choices.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am — three short months until classes start!

We’re still looking for off-campus housing (we have dogs who aren’t welcome in Stanford housing). Hopefully we’ll have a solution for this soon.

I didn’t have a chance to speak in-depth with everyone in the cohort, but I can already tell that we have an incredible group.

A few words of advice for future Sloan Fellows — come to orientation a day or two early, hydrate well, get acclimated to the time zone and start the orientation well rested. There are plenty of opportunities to stay up late, drink a lot and ask the current cohort a lot of questions. You’ll also start building friendships within your own new cohort — and it pays to have the stamina to hang in with the late evenings. Orientation days are long and action-packed — so come prepared to soak up a lot of info and ask a lot of questions.

Hope and I find the Palo Alto weather nearly ideal — but the mild temperatures may be a bit of a shock to some. It will be warm in the sun and can be chilly in the shade or in a breeze. So wear layers or bring a light jacket…

If you have pets — it seems like the advice varies quite a bit. There are folks who will tell you to sneak them into on-campus housing. Others will tell you to turn your dog into a “service animal” and get an exception (e.g. you can’t live without the assistance of your poodle). But we came to the conclusion that the right thing to do is live off-campus. There are many apartments and rental homes that are quite accepting of pets — but since the rental market is so competitive these days, applications that come in without pets may trump your application. So be prepared for potential disappointment and seek multiple options.

As for off-campus housing — Palo Alto does offer affordable rental options — and very nice rental options. But, as we found, the two often don’t come together! I’m convinced that the photos in Craigslist are even less accurate than those you would find on a dating website… We found one house that looked so nice in the photos, but we walked away calling it “shit brown” — so we are no longer considering Palo Alto. 🙂

If searching for off-campus housing, do it with a sense of humor and a little patience — you might occasionally find a gem, only to have it stolen by another competing rental application. And anyone with a real job will likely get the house before you!!! We started looking a bit up the peninsula — currently we’re thinking San Mateo. A bit farther away than some people suggested, but I think we will be able to make it work.

Last item: We were invited to share an evening at Antonio’s Nut House. Apparently, this “tradition” has been passed down from previous Sloan generations. I don’t  personally get it… An interesting place to say the least — but if you have a peanut allergy, avoid like the plague!! But a great place to get cheap beer…

Got my new student binder!

Ok, I must admit, it was a little anticlimactic… Sure, there are some good nuggets in there, but I didn’t find anything in there that couldn’t have been emailed in a PDF attachment or put on a student-only website.

But having it in-hand does make it feel “more real” — after all, I’m still somewhat in disbelief that our lives will be abruptly put on hold in a few months. I do look forward to new Sloan orientation (mid-April). Meeting my fellow Sloanies and getting some on-campus time will do wonders.

Here’s what I did learn from the binder:

  • Early Sloan Orientation: 13 – 15 Apr 2013
  • Recommended on-campus date: 28 Jun 2013
  • Sloan Orientation: 9 – 10 Jul 2013
  • First day of class: 15 Jul 2013

In the early orientation, we’ll get to meet current Sloanies and get their perspective. Spouses and significant others will be sharing their advice with new incoming spouses (and significant others).

Apparently, there are some 60+ GSB student groups — but no information on how to join, when they meet, etc. Apparently there is a new Sloan-specific entrepreneurship group too — not sure how that will be transitioned, since no one from the previous year will be there to hand off the torch to incoming students…

I wish there were more information in the binder about how electives will work and how we go about deciding which ones we want to take. But it looks like we won’t have the opportunity to add very many electives until Winter quarter — so I guess there is plenty of time to figure that out. Because we’re only on campus for one year, I’m realizing how short this program will be and how difficult it will be to incorporate certain classes (either because they are full or not offered when I would be able to take it).

I also hope to have decided where to live by April orientation. I figure that would be a good time to pick a new landlord and sign a lease. Hope we find a great place to live!

Seeking New Sloanies

Hey new Sloanies!

I’m trying to connect with my new future cohort-mates. Ya, it is very early to be reaching out to everyone. But if you are a new Sloanie (or know one), please respond here or at:

Facebook: Stanford-Sloan-2014

LinkedIn: Stanford Sloan 2014

Also, I found these two blogs from Sloan Class of 2013 — one is useful for the mechanics of living on campus:

The other is useful for a preview of what classes might be like for us:

My Sloan journey begins…

Actually, I guess it began in early Oct 2012.

As I was approaching the conclusion of my MS-IST (Information Systems and Technology) program at GW, I started to realize that now would be the best time and perhaps my last opportunity to get an MBA. Why an MBA you ask? Well, I do have 18+ years of experience in IT (sales engineering, product management, project management and consulting) – but I have a strong need to nurture my entrepreneurial side. I have also been slowly drifting away from the bits and bytes (and accelerating) toward IT management – maybe not a direction I need to be pursuing.

My weakness: I had never thought that I would want to pursue a graduate degree, so I did not finish with a very impressive undergraduate GPA (just below a 3.1). But, that was almost 20 years ago… Since I was able to pull a 4.0 GPA in my MS-IST program, I thought I should leverage this performance into a B-school application and make the leap to executive general management (away from strictly IT management) and open opportunities for entrepreneurship.

I took the GMAT in August and didn’t do too bad, with a (good, solid performance, but not an earth-shattering) combined score 700 / 90%, Q48, V38, AW6, IR8 (this score array will make sense to those of you who have taken the new GMAT format). With this score, I was encouraged to seek out better schools, although I knew the top 5 schools would still be a stretch. Stanford and Wharton have always been my dream schools (ya, can you imagine any more different schools??), but I wasn’t sure I had the chops to get in to either school — but my latest GPA and GMAT scores suggested I had a reasonable chance. Living in Northern Virginia, I thought I should definitely take a serious look at UVA Darden. I applied to Stanford Sloan and UVA Darden GEMBA programs, both in time for their 1 Nov 2012 deadlines. Since Wharton’s deadline wasn’t until Feb 2013, I figured I could see what happened at Stanford before I applied to Wharton. After visiting Darden and sitting in on a class, I realized it would be an excellent fall-back for me and I started to get really excited about their GEMBA (Global) format.

I was starting to look at additional school options, but realized that I probably had it covered — I was reasonably certain that I would be accepted at Darden, so where else would I need to apply?   My choices:

  1. Stanford (Sloan)
  2. Wharton (EMBA)
  3. Darden (GEMBA)

I was happy to hear from both Darden and Stanford to schedule interviews. If you’re considering Darden, be sure to do a campus visit and sit in on a class. Great experience – they clearly have great professors and class interaction. Although the lunch was a bit weak…

But imagine my excitement – got a call from area code 650 – has to be Stanford – and it is POST-INTERVIEW – that’s got to be a good thing, right? I figured a rejection would be via postal mail, but a personal phone call would have to be good news – or at the very least, looking for additional information / credentials from me.

Since I’m writing this blog, you’ve probably figured out that it was indeed good news.

Here’s the progression of events:

  • 19 Oct 2012 – Applications to Stanford GSB / UVA Darden complete
  • 31 Oct 2012 – Recommendations to Stanford GSB / UVA Darden complete
  • 29 Nov 2012 – Darden Interview Scheduled
  • 11 Dec 2012 – Stanford Interview Scheduled
  • 13 Dec 2012 – Darden Interview (on campus)
  • 18 Dec 2012 – Stanford Interview (via phone)
  • 21 Dec 2012 – Stanford Phone Acceptance

So, at that point, having been given a verbal acceptance (written acceptance and paperwork to follow in January), I immediately started to do serious “Sloan Life” research. Surprisingly, even with a 55 year history, there is very little detailed information out there on what the Stanford Sloan experience is like. There is a fair amount of material that is 1 inch deep – the mechanics of the program, the demographics of the incoming classes, how it compares to the Stanford MBA, the history / legacy of the Sloan program, how it is (not really) affiliated with MIT Sloan and LSB Sloan, etc.

But there are few available details on the life of Sloanies while on campus, things that need to be done between acceptance and the first day of class, where to live if you have dogs, how important is it to live on-campus, how/when do you select your electives, how difficult are the classes / how hard do you have to work to get passing grades, what are the study trips like, are there opportunities for foreign study trips, etc.

So, I decided to share my journey with all of you aspiring Sloanies out there!

I will strive to share as much content with you as possible and reasonable, but having seen my predecessors attempts at blogs, I suspect I will eventually run out of time too. For the benefit of future applicants, I will try to keep this blog as complete and up to date as possible.

For now, I wait for my paperwork and written confirmation that I am indeed accepted as a 2013-2014 Sloanie. At that point, I will try to schedule a campus visit, sit in on as many classes as possible, meet current Sloans and go buy some Stanford T-shirts for my recommendation writers, friends and family. Then I’ll figure out my housing plan, fix up / clean up my current house, put it up for sale and start packing.