Stanford MSx Program Overview

 CostClass Size (Degree)Work Experience Average (Range) [Minimum]GMAT Average (Middle 80% Range)GMAT Waiver?Age Average (Range)% Women
(% Internationals)
Round 1 DeadlineRound 2 DeadlineRound 3 Deadline
Stanford MSx$125k90
12 years
[8 min]
September 21, 2016January 10, 2017March 15, 2017

Interested in other programs like MSx? Read my article on full-time, 1-year MBA programs for mid-career professionals

The Stanford MSx Program is a 12-month residential experience for mid to executive-level managers. MSx participants are generally not career switchers – the program is best suited to people who plan to stay in their company, industry or functional role after leaving Stanford. Students (and their families) live on or near campus.

Stanford’s MSx program is also known as the Master of Science in Management for Experienced Leaders. The name is a fitting one in that the program attracts students from Global 500 companies take classes alongside experienced entrepreneurs and professionals from more diverse industries. While the average age is 36 years old, students range in age from 32-47. Applicants need a minimum of 8 years of work experience to apply to MSx.

Stanford MSx Students

Even though the program delivers a MS instead of an MBA, the MSx has always been the equivalent of an EMBA at Stanford (which reserves the MBA degree exclusively for its full-time program). If I had choose my favorite executive MBA degree, Stanford’s MSx program would be #1 or #2. Stanford is looking for students who have ‘made the most of the professional opportunities’ that have presented themselves. If you’re trying to figure out whether you have what it takes for the MSx program, consider what Stanford says about choosing your recommenders.

  • Have had significant direct involvement with you within the last few years.
  • Know you well and can provide details and examples that support their assertions.
  • Is a C-Suite or top-level executive, who make the most significant decisions regarding a company’s direction.
  • Are truly enthusiastic about writing a recommendation for you and will devote the necessary time and thought to complete the recommendation form

Strong candidates at MSx should be able to approach recommenders who a) have had direct involvement with you and b) are top-level execs or decision makers in your organization.

The Stanford brand name combined with the quality of network you’re able to build over the course of a year trumps any commuter EMBA program around. The core curriculum is essentially what you’d find at a traditional 2-year MBA program with fundamental topics in accounting, finance, strategy, data analysis etc. Students can tailor their academic experience through electives at the business school or from Stanford’s wider campus. You could walk through the door at Stanford without any formal business education and not have any issues keeping up with the coursework.

We are looking for ambitious individuals with a demonstrated record of accomplishment, intellectual vitality, and clarity of focus. Each brings his or her distinct perspective and experience to both classroom and informal discussions, which enriches the learning for their peers. Fellows choose the program to gain deep knowledge of the art and science of leadership in a concentrated, energetic environment. And, they commit to a full-time residential experience that closes the door on distractions and enables them to focus on learning. Student life is unique. Fellows live on or near campus, creating a challenging intellectual community that thrives long after the year is over. Because most Fellows are already established in both their careers and their lives, their partners and families often come to campus with them, and are an integral part of the MSx community, as well.
Stanford MSx Adcom

Link: Stanford MSx Dates

  • The next MSx Program begins in July 2017 (ends July 2018)
  • Deadlines: R1) 21 September 2016 – Decision notification December 2016; R2) 10 January 2017 – Decision Notification March 2017; R3) 15 March 2017 – Decision Notification April 2017; International applicants must apply in R1 or R2

Link: Stanford MSx Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Business Resume
  • GMAT or GRE accepted (No waiver available, you must sit GMAT/GRE to apply to MSx)
  • If your undergraduate degree wasn’t in English TOEFL/IELTS/PTE (Academic)
  • Essays: 2016-17 application season; No word limit if you’re only applying to MSx; 1200 word limit if you’re applying to MSx and the MBA
  • Three Recommendation Letters:
    • How does the candidate’s performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (E.g., what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) – Up to 500 words
    • Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. – Up to 500 words
    • (Optional) Is there anything else we should know?
  • Interview: (by invitation only)

Download Stanford MSx Recommendation Questions 2016-17

Link: Stanford MSx Curriculum The required core curriculum assumes limited prior knowledge of academic business subjects

Link: Stanford MSx Student Profiles View full profiles for the entire MSx class. Below I’ve listed a couple of student profiles as an indicator of the caliber of student Stanford looks for.

Student Profile: Catherine Cushenberry
Engagement Manager IMS Consulting Group, New York, NY (AB, Princeton University, Public and International Affairs)
Catherine has nearly 10 years of experience consulting in the life sciences industry. Most recently, she was an engagement manager with IMS Consulting Group, a global life-sciences consultancy. Catherine was a senior member of the Strategy & Portfolio Analysis Center of Excellence, responsible for designing, selling, and managing strategy engagements and leading global, cross-functional teams. Working in the areas of pharmaceuticals, biotech, and financial services, Catherine advised clients ranging from Big Pharma, to entrepreneurial firms preparing their first launch, to private equity companies seeking health care investments. She has focused on corporate strategy, due diligence, M&A, forecasting and valuation, life-cycle management, portfolio optimization, and new-market entry strategy.

Student Profile: Saurabh Jha
Business Manager Pepsico India, Gurgaon, India (MBA, Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, Marketing; BCOM, University of Delhi)
Saurabh is a multidisciplinary consumer goods and retail executive. Before coming to Stanford GSB, he was responsible for the Pepsi Lipton JV business for India, including development and delivery of the annual operating plan and profit and loss statements. In his earlier role with PepsiCo, he led one of the largest organized trade and premium go-to-market sales operations in India. Previously, Saurabh was a founding member of the private-label department at Aditya Birla Retail. He was instrumental in developing strategy, established key processes, and spearheaded the launch of 100-plus product lines. Saurabh started his career with United Spirits as brand manager for Black Dog Scotch. He was involved in managing literacy campaigns while working with a nonprofit, The Oceanic Group.

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