Meet the MSx Class of 2021: Resilient, Purpose-Driven Leaders

By the numbers, learn more about the newest class of MSx students.

March 12, 2021

A photo collage of the new students of the MSx Class of 2021. Credit: Photos Courtesy of the Class of 2021

The new students are purposeful leaders who bring both depth and breadth of experience to the MSx Class of 2021. | Photos Courtesy of the Class of 2021

This January, Stanford Graduate School of Business welcomed 67 new students to its MSx Class of 2021 after delaying the start of the program in response to challenges that emerged from the pandemic.

The MSx program, a mid-career, one-year, full-time master’s degree program for experienced leaders, traditionally begins in July at the Knight Management Center. The decision to delay the program came after many U.S. states imposed shutdown orders and international travel was curtailed; it was one of several pivots that the new class has adapted to due to COVID-19. Other changes include temporarily offering virtual teaching and remote learning, enabling some students to participate from different countries, and adding a new set of elective offerings in the summer of 2021 unique to the newest class.  

“I was thrilled to finally welcome the MSx Class of 2021 to the GSB,” said Mike Hochleutner, director of admissions for the MSx program. “I’m always impressed with the leaders that enroll, but the members of this class have demonstrated special resilience and commitment to navigate the challenges caused by the pandemic. They now join a global cohort of diverse, seasoned, and purpose-driven leaders who have a chance to shape a post-COVID future.”

Members of the Class of 2021 are proven leaders who have already made a significant impact in their careers. The students have an average work experience of 14 years, which is up from 12.9 last year. 48% of the students have an advanced degree. 

The students have a tremendous breadth of experience as evidenced by the 67 students coming from 37 unique industries. The top four industry categories are investment management, private equity, health care services, and internet services/e-commerce.

The members of this class have demonstrated special resilience and commitment to navigate the challenges caused by the pandemic.
Mike Hochleutner

The MSx program is committed to supporting the school’s efforts to continue to increase the diversity of its student body across multiple dimensions. In the MSx Class of 2021, 52% are international students, and overall, the students hold citizenships in 22 unique countries around the world. Internationally, the top countries where students hold primary or secondary citizenships are India (7), Singapore (6), and then Brazil, China, and Japan (4). U.S. citizens and permanent residents make up the remaining 48% of the class. U.S. students of color comprise 22% of the total class or 47% of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and 34% of the class is made up of women.

“The events of 2020 will influence the global economy for decades, so as difficult as it might be to attend school now, the collective potential and global perspective one can tap into with such a cohort is remarkable,” notes Hochleutner. “While we can’t predict the future, I have no doubt members of this class will make groundbreaking contributions in the next five years.”

Because of its size, the MSx community is tight-knit, and the program aims to provide an enriching experience not only for its students but also for their partners and families. In the Class of 2021, 67% of the cohort have spouses or significant others, and 49% of students have children, ranging in age from newborn to 16 years old.

Over the course of a year at the GSB, members of the MSx Class of 2021 engage in a curriculum that is challenging and flexible; with more than half of the curriculum made up of electives, MSx students can tailor their experience to align with specific career goals after graduation, whether it’s career advancement, entrepreneurship, or career change.

From 1960 to 2013, the program’s name was the Stanford Sloan Program in recognition of founding support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In honor of the program’s origin and those alumni, students in the program are called Sloan Fellows and MSx students.

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