Program History

From left to right: Alfred P. Sloan, Dean Ernest Arbuckle, and a Sloan Fellow

It all started in 1957. The vision: to create an intensive one-year educational program that would bring together future business leaders and future professors.

The first class, which graduated in 1958, included six PhD candidates — the future professors — and six corporate managers, rising stars sponsored by their companies. Alfred P. Sloan Jr., a longtime chairman and CEO of General Motors Corp. and a philanthropist, provided early financial support for the program through the Sloan Foundation, and for several decades, it was known as the Stanford Sloan Program. Today, students are called Sloan Fellows in recognition of Alfred P. Sloan’s contribution to the program.

“The greatest real thrill that life offers is to create, to construct, to develop something useful. Too often, we fail to recognize and pay tribute to the creative spirit. It is that spirit that creates our jobs.”

— Alfred P. Sloan Jr., 
Former Chairman and CEO, General Motors Corp.

In the early 1980s, as business became more global, so too did the Sloan Fellows. Back then, about one-quarter of the students were international. Today, about 60% of Sloan Fellows are from outside the United States. The class of 2017 includes 91 individuals from over 30 countries, with diverse industry experience. Some Sloan Fellows are seasoned entrepreneurs; others are social-sector executives, government officials, or professionals working within Global 500 companies.

In 2013, the program became the Stanford Master of Science in Management for Experienced Leaders, or Stanford MSx. The name change reflected a renewed focus on the diversity and experience of the Sloan Fellows entering the program. It also established an even more pronounced link with Stanford Graduate School of Business and its commitment to driving positive change through collaboration, innovative thinking, and real-world experience.