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Two Masters Degree Options: Which is Right for You?

Stanford GSB offers two different masters degrees focused on general management. Since you're reading this MBA Admissions blog, you're probably already pretty familiar with the MBA Program, which is a two-year, full-time program with no minimum or maximum number of years of work experience required for admission.

But did you know that Stanford GSB also offers a one-year, full-time program for experienced leaders? The MSx Program offers a Master of Science in Management degree to professionals who have at least eight years of work experience.

The two degrees share several similarities, but are also distinct in important ways.

What's the same?
Both the MSx and MBA Programs are full-time and focus on general management. They both feature Stanford GSB faculty and elective course offerings. They both provide the same access to Stanford resources like the GSB's centers, courses throughout Stanford, and university-wide institutes like the d.school. MSx students and MBAs both have the same opportunities to join clubs, attend events, and engage in the social activities of the GSB.

What's different?
On the other hand, the MSx core curriculum is tailored to more experienced managers. For instance, leadership coursework focuses on executive management development. Similarly, there is a specialized team in the GSB's Career Management Center that supports students who are further along in their careers and have honed their professional focus. The cohort of mid-career fellows in the MSx Program is around 83 while the MBA class size is around 408 students each year.

What about admission?
Both programs look for intellectual vitality, reflected in your aptitude and attitude toward learning. Both programs also consider demonstrated leadership potential. However, the MSx Program places greater emphasis on the amount of experience you've had (at least 8 years required). The MBA Program does not require any minimum number of years of experience, and looks at demonstrated leadership potential more broadly.

The MSx Program also considers your clarity of purpose as a criteria for admission. Clarity of purpose is reflected in a focused sense of professional direction, ambitious goals, and strong self-awareness. The MBA Program considers your personal qualities and contributions that add to the class. Personal qualities and contributions may include your experiences, beliefs, passions, dreams, and goals.

What program is right for me?
Deciding which program is right for you is a highly personal choice rooted in your own background and aspirations.

Stanford MSx Program Stanford MBA Program
Full-time, 12 months (4 academic quarters) Full-time, 21 months (6 academic quarters)
No summer internship Opportunity for summer internship
Global experiences optional Global experience graduation requirement
64 units to graduate (up to 10 non-GSB) 105 units to graduate (up to 12 non-GSB)
Admission Criteria: Intellectual Vitality, Demonstrated Leadership Potential, Clarity of Purpose Admission Criteria: Intellectual Vitality, Demonstrated Leadership Potential, Personal Qualities and Contributions
Awards MS in Management degree Awards MBA degree
Stanford MSx Class Profile* Stanford MBA Class Profile**
83 fellows 406 students
67% international students 41% international students
Work experience: 12-year average, 8-year minimum required (8-25 year historical range) Work experience: 4-year average, no minimum or maximum (0-21 year historical range)
47% previous advanced degrees 15% previous advanced degrees
20% women 36% women

How do I find out more?
Both the MBA and MSx programs host admissions events online. The MBA program also conducts worldwide off-campus information sessions. To hear about upcoming events and other admissions related updates, sign up to stay in touch with MSx here, and stay in touch with MBA admissions here.

*Class of 2014
**Class of 2015


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 31, 2014 9:21 AM.

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