Stanford Sloan Master's Program Redesigned, Renamed MSx

Full-time program has evolved to extended 12-month format and expanded enrollment for both self-funded and sponsored students.

May 01, 2013

Stanford Graduate School of Business has renamed its legacy Sloan Master’s Program the Stanford MSx Program for experienced leaders, reflecting strategic changes in the program over the last two years. The formal name of the program will now be the Stanford Master of Science in Management for Experienced Leaders (Stanford MSx). As in the past, the program will remain one of the school’s premier degree programs, through which students, who are designated Fellows, earn the MS in Management.

The one-year, full-time program is designed specifically for mid-career professionals with at least eight years of work experience and a desire to develop their strengths in general management, leadership, and innovation. Each year, this select cohort has included a diverse representation of countries and industries around the world.

The name change accompanies a collection of important enhancements in the program’s design and curriculum, in keeping with the needs of a diversifying student population. The program is now more focused on teaching leadership skills and innovation, in pursuit of taking ideas — within corporations or an entrepreneurial environment — to the next level. Electives aimed squarely at the more experienced Fellows, who typically come to the program with 12 years of managerial experience, include Generative Leadership and Executive Communication Strategies.

“The program’s academic goal is to provide a deeper command of all disciplines required of a general manager, while leveraging the expertise they have already developed in their field,” says Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Madhav Rajan, who oversees both the MBA and MSx programs at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “Fellows bring a wealth of global experience to Stanford, which enhances their own classroom discussions, while also exposing our MBA students to perspectives that have been tested by real-world practice.”

Key Changes: 12-Month Program and 57% Expanded Enrollment

  • For the first time this academic year, the school extended the program from 10 months to 12 months. The program now begins in July and concludes in June.
  • With rising demand among mid-career leaders for a one-year, full-time program, the school increased enrollment to 88 in 2013-14, up 57% from 56 in 2010-11.
  • Courses retooled exclusively for the Stanford MSx cohort acknowledge the significant managerial experience of the Fellows.
  • New curricular design offers differentiated core course offerings and greater flexibility to take advantage of a broader range of electives.

Education for Experienced Business People

“The new name articulates what makes the program distinct in management education,” says Mike Hochleutner, director of the Stanford MSx Program. “First, unlike most MBA programs, where participants typically have 3 to 4 years of work experience, our students average 10 or more years of experience. Second, unlike Executive MBAs (EMBAs), which are part-time degree programs, this is an immersive, full-time experience. Finally, unlike many Master in Management degrees, which are usually focused on an industry or function, this is a degree in general management.”

A Move Toward Leadership and Innovation Training

When established 55 years ago at the behest of industrialist Alfred Sloan, the Stanford Sloan Master’s Program was primarily conceived as company-sponsored education for American executives. Over the years, and especially in the last 10 years, more individuals have sought access to the degree program without corporate sponsorship. Participants are now roughly one-third sponsored and two-thirds self-funded. Additionally, as the nature of corporations has evolved toward flatter organizations, and as global competition has increased the need to move projects forward quickly regardless of the size of a company, the demand for leadership training, innovative thinking, and entrepreneurial skills has grown significantly.

“The program incorporates a blend of the leadership teaching we offer in our MBA program with learning techniques we use in executive education, to assure Fellows build self-awareness and understand how to be adaptive,” says Hochleutner. “It includes assessments, executive modules, coaching, study trips, and active opportunities to ‘lead-by-doing,’ both within class and beyond.”

The Fellows in the Stanford MSx Program are a global group, with 77% of the 2013 graduating class from countries outside the United States. Each brings his or her distinct perspective and experience to both classroom and informal discussions. Fellows live and study together, creating a challenging intellectual community that thrives after the program. Since most Fellows are already established in both careers and personal lives, their partners and families often come to campus with them, and will continue to be an integral part of the Stanford MSx community.

The Sloan Legacy

The Stanford Sloan Program was founded in 1957 with partial support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Foundation provided funds for six doctoral students to participate, alongside company-sponsored business executives, in a program that aimed to shape the future leaders and teachers of business. The Sloan Foundation also funded two other Sloan Programs, at MIT and London Business School. Since then, each program has evolved in a slightly different direction.

While the Foundation’s financial support for the program at Stanford ended in the 1960s, the program continued to gain stature among corporate sponsors. Over the years, program graduates have served in CEO roles at many prominent companies and organizations, including Boeing, BP, Pfizer, Yves Saint Laurent, and AARP. The previous dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business, Robert Joss, was also a Fellow. In more recent years, the program has included entrepreneurs, financiers, and social innovators, alongside managers from more traditional enterprises. The program has remained one of Stanford University’s most prestigious offerings and is expected to continue flourishing in its new format.

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