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商院动态:New Program Lets College Students Try on a Stanford GSB MBA  

2017-05-27 02:41:03|  分类: 学校与选校 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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商院动态:New Program Lets College Students Try on a Stanford GSB MBA


Last Updated Feb 21, 2017 by Jeanette Brown

 

 

Nicolas Curtin, a 21-year-old Anchorage native currently in his junior year at West Point, first learned about the Stanford MBA Future Leaders Program through a pop-up ad on Facebook. Neither of his parents had ever been to college, let alone business school, but his economics teacher that semester happened to mention that he had an MBA. That made the Facebook promo catch his eye. “It was really dumb luck that I was able to stumble across the program just as my interest was piqued,” Curtin says. He submitted an application—consisting of a recommendation letter from that economics professor and one other, a resume and several personal essays—and found himself on the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) campus last summer, drinking in what it’s like to be a business school student.

The MBA Future Leaders Program—now heading into its second year—is designed for students just like Curtin, part of an effort to ensure diversity in the MBA class at Stanford GSB. Open to college sophomores entering their junior year, the program seeks out potential MBA students from diverse majors, including science, technology, engineering, math and the humanities. But the diversity doesn’t stop there.

Seeking Diversity of Perspectives

“We think of diversity very broadly—as diversity of perspectives—and we believe in the strong impact it has on the academic experience,” says Simone Hill, MBA/MA ’14, a Stanford MBA admissions officer and the program’s staff director. “Diversity—broadly defined—includes underrepresented minorities such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans, as well as LGBTQ students, first-generation college students, Pell-grant eligible students, and any other student who has work or life or academic experiences that would add to the school,” she says.

“It’s kind of a catch-all,” Hill concedes with a laugh, “but we know diversity comes in all different shapes and sizes.” In fact, she says, to see how applicants define their own diversity as part of the application has been very interesting. “We’ve seen everything from diversity of major—like astrophysics—to the applicant who shared she had been the only Muslim student in her Alabama high school.” Any preconceived list of demographics they might have hoped to attract has been far surpassed by the richly varied experiences the applicants actually bring. And along gender lines, the group was almost exactly evenly split—51 percent male, 49 percent female. “We were really excited to see the number of women who had interest in the program,” Hill says.

Exposure

Belief in diversity’s positive impact on the academic experience was a main driver for the program’s launch, but so was recognition that the achievement gap in this country does not stop at high school or college graduation, Hill says. “We do still see a big difference in academic achievement once people get to our application—and we wanted to see if we could lessen that gap.”

A simple but key element to lessening the achievement gap is exposure. “I certainly believe that many people only aspire to what they have been exposed to,” Hill says, noting that diversity pipeline issues are prevalent in both technology and finance. “It is hard for someone to be a computer software engineer if they don’t know what a computer software engineer is,” she says, matter-of-factly. “We believe the exact same thing in terms of people thinking about an MBA and, specifically, a Stanford MBA.”

Part of exposing those who might not be familiar with the Stanford MBA is showcasing the vast opportunities the business school degree can open up for them in terms of their careers. “A lot of students came in thinking, ‘I don’t want to go into finance or consulting, so an MBA isn’t right for me,’” Hill says. Site visits to companies in a range of industries, including tech giant Google and Norwest Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, helped dispel that notion quickly. It was also quite eye opening to hear real-life accounts from current Stanford students and GSB graduates taking widely varied paths.

Curtin says these opportunities to hear from students and graduates were, for him, the most valuable part of the three-day program—even better than visits to top area employers like Google. “Those [visits] were really cool, and it was awesome to see what kind of work environment they foster, but it was more important for me to hear the stories of people who come out of the GSB,” he continues. “They really showed me that it’s not just a cookie cutter ‘you will graduate and do this job’ kind of thing.”

“At Stanford, It’s Okay to Be Yourself.”

One graduate he remembers hearing speak pursued a nonprofit career path after graduating. An illegal immigrant who came to the United States as a child, the graduate shared how apprehensive he had been about what he would do if he couldn’t go to college—only to go well beyond. “It was really nice to see that no matter what personal experiences people had and how they shaped their lives, the GSB can help people capitalize on their strengths,” Curtin says.

Another participant, Baltimore native Kristen Shipley, 20, was also struck by student stories. Shipley, now in her junior year at North Carolina A&T State University, had been considering an MBA as one of many possibilities prior to taking part in the program. “The TALK session we had—where a Stanford student shares a personal story—that was very touching and humbling to know that coming into Stanford it’s okay to be yourself, and that’s what they want you to do,” she says.

Curtin had a similar takeaway. “The one thing that they really encouraged was taking ownership of our personal experiences and our perspectives and not worrying about what the ideal candidate might look like in business school,” he says. “They really encouraged us to reflect on why we see the world the way we do and to be the person our experience has made us.”

Trying on the MBA Classroom

In addition to hearing from current students and graduates, MBA Future Leaders participants also got to experience the GSB firsthand through a class immersion exercise, a hands-on design thinking event at Google led by a Stanford GSB professor, and a career design workshop with Stanford’s Career Management Center.

“The best thing for me was definitely getting a chance to be in the classroom, because that’s when I felt most like an MBA student,” says Shipley. Curtin, too, found the classroom time very valuable. “I was really interested in seeing how a classroom would be run in an MBA environment and whether that is something that I want to participate in,” he says. “I had never seen how a case study would be picked apart as a class and how people would engage with one another. Even though it was only a couple of hours on one of the mornings, being in class really helped me be able to imagine myself as an MBA student.”

Aspiration & Preparedness

“At the highest level, we really wanted this program to be aspirational for them,” Hill says. “One of the reasons we brought them to campus, had them stay in our GSB residences, had them take classes with professors, is that we believe there is so much value in being able to see yourself here,” she continues. “To see yourself as capable of doing something helps to change mindsets, helps to put a fire under students in terms of how they think about themselves aspirationally.”

Once the seed of a Stanford MBA has been planted in participants’ minds, the MBA Future Leaders Program turns next to preparedness. “Our focus is on helping them understand what they need to be thinking about and doing now to make themselves more competitive down the line—not just for us, not just to apply for an MBA program, but for any opportunity,” Hill says.

“OK, Now That I Believe I Can Be Here, How Do I Get Here?”

The participants seem to make the same shift themselves, says Hill. “You can almost see them thinking, ‘OK, now that I believe that I can be here, how do I get here?’” For precisely this reason, the program includes an MBA admissions boot camp, in which Stanford GSB admissions staff share suggestions and advice about practical steps students can take in the time they still have at college and beyond to strengthen their candidacy.

For starters, get involved on campus, says Hill. “We always say it’s not the quantity of things you do on campus, but more the quality. Just leading one of the clubs on campus means more to us than being involved in every campus organization there is,” she says. Another tip: “Students should pursue clubs they are interested in versus what they think we would be interested in.”

Hill and her team also encourage MBA Future Leaders participants to take the GMAT or GRE entrance exam for business school while they are still in college if possible. “We find it can be really helpful, while they are still in study mode, to get that out of the way—and the results are good for five years.”

Seeds Planted? Check.

Curtin was excited to learn about some of the opportunities an MBA could open up for him. Though his immediate path is set—he will graduate from West Point as a second lieutenant and then has a commitment to serve in the Army for a minimum of five years—he hopes to go to business school after that and use it to pivot to a civilian career. He confesses that hearing other Future Leaders participants talk about the different types of jobs they thought they might pursue after college was tough. “I have my obligation, but long-term my plan is to use my five years in the Army to really get a good sense of my leadership philosophy and how I want to proceed from there,” he says.

He was particularly interested in learning about potential future career opportunities around organizational culture. “I feel like it’s something I could really engage with down the line—studying and learning how organizations work and how they organize their culture around specific ideas,” he says. “The people leading these companies and corporations—they have a big say in how those companies represent themselves to the world and how the organizational culture works. I would love to be a part of that someday for some company or school.”

Curtin was also encouraged to learn that many students spend as many as five years between undergraduate and business school obtaining valuable work experience. “The age of the average MBA isn’t 22—I learned it’s more toward 24 or 25—and it was really exciting to hear that I wasn’t going to be five years behind the curve like I thought I was,” he says.

Many Paths to the MBA

In fact, as part of the program’s MBA admissions boot camp, Hill and others helped outline the variety of paths applicants can—and do—follow to the GSB. “They could apply as college seniors—we talked about that as an option,” says Hill. “They could do a master’s degree before the MBA or consider doing a joint degree, and then there are many people who do want to work for a few years before applying,” she continues. “There is no one distinct path that would even make you be most competitive—we encouraged them to apply when they feel ready. If that means as a college senior that’s great, we’d love to see your applications next year.”

But more than simply suggesting that a Stanford MBA was the one path they must follow, the organizers really did a great job of encouraging participants to keep their eyes open for other opportunities, too, Curtin says. “Nevertheless, I am absolutely sure that I will apply as soon as I can—whether that is in five years, four years, whenever I can make it happen. I know it will be at the top of my list when I get out.”

Shipley, for her part, has a resume as a college junior that is already impressive—including an undergraduate finance camp at Goldman Sachs in her freshman summer, an internship for North Carolina Congresswoman Alma Adams and an internship at Facebook for the Instagram product marketing team. This past summer’s MBA Future Leaders Program added another data point as she thinks about what she wants her future to hold. “Going through the program was an immersive experience in terms of the case method, cold calls, things I should be thinking about in terms of preparing for the GMAT—there were lots of things I wouldn’t have known without going through it,” she says.

“This definitely made me more interested in getting my MBA and made me feel more confident about the application process and more confident in myself that I could apply and go to a place to Stanford,” Shipley says. Upon graduating from college, her goal is to work for Google or another big tech company within marketing and the diversity space, she says. “I would say my plans after college have shifted some, in that before I was considering an MBA and now I am certain that I would like to get one and to attend Stanford’s MBA program.”

Short term, this means Shipley is back on her college campus, planning to study hard for her GMAT to make sure she gets a good score while also sharing her Future Leaders experience and the things she learned with classmates at North Carolina A&T. “As a member of my campus community, I will share this information with other students who may not have thought that an MBA was possible for them as well,” she says. This summer, she’s lined up an internship at Google as a product marketing intern, but the Future Leaders program has also piqued her curiosity about venture capital.

The inaugural cohort of the MBA Future Leaders Program consisted of 81 students from 56 universities in 25 states. Plans for this year are to accept roughly the same number of applicants, between 80 and 85. Hill and team don’t plan to make big changes to the admissions process in this second year, apart from changing the language of questions around preferred gender pronouns to help everyone feel they are being correctly identified. “It’s a small technical change that could have a really big impact on the experience individuals have here, and I’m excited to add that this year,” Hill says.

For the inaugural cohort, participants in the MBA Futures Leaders Program paid nothing to participate. The costs—including room and board and all activities—were covered by Stanford GSB and corporate sponsors Google and Norwest Ventures. “This year we do have a limited number of funds to also cover travel expenses to and from the program, especially for those coming from low-income backgrounds,” Hill shares.

Longer term, Hill hopes the program can find additional ways to capitalize on its Silicon Valley location. “The valley is in an interesting space right now where diversity is one of the issues that many, many organizations are trying to tackle now,” Hill notes. A Career Fair might be one way to bring together more of these companies with MBA Future Leader students who have gone through quite a rigorous application process. “It would be an incredible showing of solidarity and passion about the topic in the name of trying to increase, enhance and prepare the pipeline.”

Stanford GSB Places High Value on Program’s Impact

Hill herself was the first in her family to go to college and went on complete both her MBA and an MA in higher education/higher education administration at Stanford, something she credits to a community of family and mentors rallying around her. “This is a program that is very near and dear not only to my heart, but to the admissions team and as a school,” Hill says. “We believe in the impact of diversity—our alumni really do change lives, organizations and the world. Being able to have a diverse alumni base that is able to tackle all of the problems in the world is very important.”

Applications for the Stanford GSB MBA Future Leaders Program are open until March 1, 2017. Interested applicants must submit two required essays, a resume, an unofficial transcript and a letter of recommendation. Final decisions will be released on March 28th. This year’s program will take place from August 11th to 13th on Stanford’s Palo Alto campus. For complete details on how to apply, including the required essay questions, click here.

 

 

以上内容摘自:

https://www.clearadmit.com/2017/02/mba-future-leaders-program-lets-college-students-try-stanford-gsb-mba/ 

 

 

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