This post has been marked as OLD. EssaySnark's advice and strategies for winning MBA applications don't change from year to year, but some of the school-specific admissions policies, essay questions, or other information covered in this article may be outdated.
We had a question posed recently:
Essaysnark, I’m curious to hear about your thoughts on the Stanford Sloan’s MSc in Management program. Based on what I’ve read, its students learn the same subjects from the same professors as the Stanford FT MBA’s students. Plus it requires a GMAT score. Seems to be pretty selective and an overall good program for the older candidate. The downer is that it’s not exactly an MBA.
For those of you unfamiliar, Stanford Sloan is a best-of-both-worlds education between what’s offered by the full-time residential 2-year MBA for the standard early-career candidate (usually 24 to 32-ish), and the do-it-while-juggling-your-job split-life format of most EMBA programs, which are designed for (older) mid-career managers. Actually no, Stanford Sloan is better than that: it’s a 1-year full-time residential program. And the focus is on leadership which Stanford knows a thing or two about. It’s also for more senior execs. LBS and MIT both have similar Sloan Fellows executive-level programs, originally founded with grants from the Alfred Sloan Foundation in the ’50s.
To the question, we gave a classically snarky answer:
[BSer], your only complaint seems to be that you don’t get the three initials “M-B-A” after your name. Sorry, but we’re having trouble seeing the problem with that, based on what the Stanford Sloan program is.
To expand on that thought process:
Do you really think that someone reviewing your resume and seeing “Master’s of Science in Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business” is gonna think, “Snap, this guy is great but he doesn’t have an MBA, he’s a loser.” ???
And are you really discounting the entire EDUCATION that you’d be getting out of the Stanford Sloan process?
As you can see, this attitude miffs us.
What exactly are your priorities?
What are you looking for out of this bschool endeavor?
This is of course completely ignoring the fact that Stanford Sloan is incredibly selective, and most people who even mention their interest in it to us are not actually qualified. It’s more than just, “Damn, I guess I’m too old for an MBA, let me apply to Stanford Sloan instead.” Minimum is 8 years of experience, average is 11, upper level is 20. This is for senior managers/execs – those who are handling big stuff, people and teams and budgets, and, often, who their organizations want to move into positions of even higher responsibility (Stanford Sloan used to be solely for corporate-sponsored students, now 2/3 of the class is self-funded).
We’re not trying to discourage anyone from throwing their hat into the ring for admission to one of the Sloan Master’s – all variations of this program at all three schools are amazing. However, regardless of what we say, the price tag may deter you: the 2012-’13 Stanford Sloan program year is budgeted at $157,780 if you’re flying solo (up to $215k if you’re bringing your family) — that”s for ONE YEAR people. Tuition alone is $108,000. WOW. Talk about sticker shock. And you’re most likely not going to be getting a salary, unless you are in fact sponsored and your company really loves you.
The Stanford Sloan adcom is more flexible on the standard requirements for admission. You don’t have to have a superstellar GMAT score or a perfect 4.0 GPA-equivalent from undergrad. Shoot, they don’t even technically require a bachelor’s degree to be admitted. [UPDATE 7/11/14: As reader Jeff pointed out in comments, this has changed.] If you have had an impressive-enough career then you could still qualify for this program without having completed college. The average GMAT is typically only 680. They’re looking for different things in these candidates. Remember, the focus is on LEADERSHIP.
This program is generally not for people trying for the dramatic career change – no, it’s not an MBA, in the sense that there are no internships, there’s little if any focus on recruiting. This is not for the engineer who wants to become a consultant. If you’re an engineer who’s already made the transition to the business side of your company, sure, this could be a great fit. But you need to have shown how you’ve had an impact on the place, how you’ve brought in change and taken your team to the next level, or in some other way show that you’re ready for this.
If you put more value on the three letters of “M-B-A” then maybe you’re looking for a different thing out of the experience of going back to school? Figuring that out for yourself may help you in deciding which schools / programs are right for you — and which may then respond more positively to your application.