To help shape a new career path, some highly experienced professionals and industry leaders are turning to executive education in order to upskill. This is leading to a strong intake into some 2023 business and management classes, such as at the one-year accelerated master’s degree for mid-career leaders at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB).
The 84 students in the GSB MSx Class of 2023 includes: 18 former or current CEOs, two dozen experienced entrepreneurs, 15 professional investors and five law firm partners— as well as diplomats, military veterans, and government employees.
“We were very impressed with the caliber of applicants this year, and the result is an exceptional class,” said Mike Hochleutner, director of Stanford GSB MSx admissions. “As industries struggled to adapt to disruptive changes since 2020, opportunities arose for some to step up in remarkable ways as leaders. We sought those individuals."
Among the range of pre-MSx backgrounds, this year’s class includes an entrepreneur from India who launched the country’s largest retail organic food chain, a retired colonel from the US Air Force who led intelligence for US cyber command, and an infectious disease physician and political leader from Slovenia who coordinated a national COVID-19 response.
Using a master’s for career advancement or career switch
The Stanford MSx program focuses on mid-career students, with around 40% of this year's cohort stating that they want to expand their impact through career advancement but plan to return to their former field after graduation. Separately, a quarter of the intake wants to use the year-long program to support a move to a new career.
Students in the Class of 2023 have, on average, more than 13 years of work experience, ranging between 8 and 30 years across dozens of unique industries. Students also come from 37 different nationalities, with 68% of the class coming from outside the USA, and more than half of US students identifying as people of color. Half the class already holds an advanced degree.
“These students come to the GSB with significant professional—and often life—experience, and the perspectives and knowledge they bring creates a rich intellectual and transformative environment” Mike said.
The Stanford MSx experience
The MSx program is intense. Students arrive in the summer and typically complete most of the streamlined core curriculum in foundational business topics including finance, strategy, and operations during their first quarter. Students can then select from over 130 electives at the GSB and from academic offerings throughout Stanford University. More than half of the MSx curriculum consists of electives, allowing flexibility and the pursuit of specific areas of focus during the rest of the academic year.
“MSx students have the opportunity to tap into Stanford’s rich human capital ecosystem, both at the business school and in the broader university,” Mike said. “Through their academic experiences and the rich array of extracurricular activities, students make connections on campus that extend far beyond their one-year program.”