Meet the MSx Class of 2023: Accomplished Leaders Ready to Make an Impact
Meet the newest MSx changemakers.
The Class of 2023 arrived at the Knight Management Center in July to begin the full-time, one-year accelerated master’s degree program for mid-career leaders. | Julia Yu
With the severity of today’s global challenges, the Stanford MSx Class of 2023 represents a uniquely seasoned cohort of accomplished and diverse industry leaders positioned to make a positive impact.
“We were very impressed with the caliber of applicants this year, and the result is an exceptional class,” said Mike Hochleutner, director of Stanford 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.”
The 84 students in this year’s class started their full-time, one-year accelerated master’s degree program for mid-career leaders on July 5. They are enhancing their leadership skills at a time of unprecedented challenges, including an evolving pandemic, global conflict, economic uncertainty, and the impacts of climate change.
With a demonstrated record of impactful leadership, 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 come from 37 different nationalities, with 68% of the class coming from outside the U.S., and more than half of U.S. students identifying as people of color. Half the class already holds an advanced degree.
Additionally, 37% of the class are women. “Mid-career programs have traditionally seen lower participation from women,” said Hochleutner, “so we are thrilled to have the highest percentage of women in the program to date.”
The unique living and learning environment allows students to make connections that extend beyond their one-year program. | Julia Yu
Among the diverse 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 U.S. Air Force who led intelligence for U.S. Cyber Command, and an infectious disease physician and political leader from Slovenia who coordinated a national COVID-19 response.
The class has more than two dozen experienced entrepreneurs; 18 current or former CEOs; nine members with military, government, or diplomatic experience; 15 professional investors; and five law firm partners.
“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,” Hochleutner said.
A Singular Educational Experience
The MSx program is short and intense. When students arrive in the summer, they 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 Stanford GSB and from academic offerings throughout Stanford University. More than half of the MSx curriculum consists of electives, providing a highly customized and flexible academic experience that allows students to home in on their interest areas 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,” Hochleutner 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.”
Because of the program’s focus on mid-career students, many of the students have families — most of whom move to campus for the year. This creates a sense of community not only among the students but among their families as well. Over two-thirds of the students in this year’s class have partners, and 35 class members have children: 63 in total, ranging in age from newborn to 24 years.
Expanding Impact, Reimagining Careers
After this year, what’s next? Students in this year’s MSx class have varying goals for the program — another way in which the diversity of the class allows students to learn from each other.
In addition to core management courses, students customize more than half their schedule with GSB electives and Stanford University academic offerings. | Julia Yu
About 40% say they want to expand their impact through career advancement by returning to the field they were working in prior to coming to the MSx program. Approximately one-third want to start an entrepreneurial venture, and about 25% of students want to use the year-long program as a way to pivot to a new career. No matter which path they choose, the Stanford GSB Career Management Center is committed to supporting MSx students to gain clarity, build confidence, and make connections needed to achieve their goals.
“MSx students are courageous changemakers committed to expanding their knowledge and deepening their leadership skills to make an even bigger impact in their communities on a local or, in many cases, global scale,” Hochleutner said. “We are so lucky to have them and are excited to watch what they do this year and beyond.”
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