There’s not a corporate brand out there that wouldn’t envy the Stanford Graduate School of Business right now. At a time when B-School education is regularly criticized as staid or out of touch, the Stanford brand seems to have an undeniable cache. It’s the Bill Clinton of the B-School world- smart, with an almost magnetic charisma.
The school consistently ranks among the very top business schools in the world, and it has come through this admissions cycle with a string of impressive numbers, from the astoundingly low 7% admit rate to a new accolade for Most Satisfied Graduates.
For this ranking, Forbes surveyed 4,600 Class of 2008 graduates, asking them to rank the ROI of their degree, their job satisfaction, and their satisfaction with their MBA education. Stanford scored extremely well on all accounts, and came out with the highest overall average.
One alum wrote that, “no place does a better job of getting you to believe in yourself so much that you take the plunge into entrepreneurship so that you can change the world.” Her statement echoes the school’s motto- “Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.” This motto communicates a powerful message of “otherness” that is at the heart of Stanford’s successful brand. Stanford students, the motto tells us, are not part of the status quo. They are the disruptors, the fresh ideas, the future. They are Silicon Valley instead of Wall Street; entrepreneurs instead of heirs. It’s a generalization, certainly, but the power of that image is worth considering. Barack Obama captured the presidency in 2008 on a similar brand- “Change We Can Believe In”. The MBA market, it seems, is hungry for similar change, and Stanford is fulfilling that need.
If Stanford’s brand has attracted your interest, you should already be considering how you fit into the school’s mantra of change. Where in your application can you show yourself as an agent of change? What stories of disruption or innovation do you have to share? If you can think of several answers to these questions, then you are well on your way.