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May 25, 2009

Interview with Stanford GSB Class of 2010 Student

My former client, Yukihiro, was kind enough to answer my questions about his first-year experience as a member of the Class of 2010 at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He was a government official in Japan and responsible mainly for legal analysis and treaty negotiation. He left the government to obtain an MBA. His current interests include entrepreneurship and e-commerce.

Adam: So, what did you learn during your first year at GSB?

Yukihiro: I learned core courses in the first year. The core courses of Stanford GSB can be divided by two types: Management Perspectives and Management Foundations. In Management Foundations, most of which students learn in the first (autumn) quarter, the students learn qualitative and fundamental subjects such as strategy, leadership, global perspectives, analytical thinking, organizational behavior. Based on the perspectives they learned in the first quarter, they develop the quantitative skills such as accounting, finance, statistics, economics in the following quarter. Now I have finished most core courses, and I will take many electives in the second year (you can take electives also in the first year if you want).

Adam: What part of the program have you liked the most?

Yukihiro: Although students are required to take core courses, they can select course levels and contents that suit their skills and backgrounds. The core courses are well designed and linked to each other, which boosts the students’ understanding about the subjects. I believe this helps the students become well-balanced business person who can deal with any challenging business issues in the future. You may consider you want to focus on specific area (e.g. finance) from the beginning, but I believe core courses collaborate with each other, give you insights into the subject you want to learn and help you understand the area you focus on in the long term. The well-designed GSB curriculum makes you aware of the benefits.

Adam: How hard was the first year?

Yukihiro: The first year in GSB was very tough! Especially in the first quarter, students must prepare hard for each class and deal with tons of readings and assignments. Actually, if there is one thing I have to complain about the program, it is that there is a risk that the understanding about each subject might be become halfway due to the lack of time. Even American students said the first quarter was very tough. Also, there are a lot of parties, networking and recruiting events in MBA. The students must manage their time efficiently to tackle the academic requirements.

Adam: How would you describe the culture of GSB?

Yukihiro: I think the culture of GSB is represented by the atmosphere of Silicon Valley and Bay Area: Entrepreneurial, easygoing, free, etc.. Challenging something is praised. GSB students enjoy life, as well as study hard.

Adam: Are there any common characteristics you find amongst your classmates?

Yukihiro: There are many types of students in GSB and so it is difficult to stereotypically describe their characteristics. However, I dare to say many classmates have entrepreneurial spirits. It does not necessarily mean they are going to run their own business. Whatever they do, they take an initiative and motivate others. They are talented and well-balanced people, always seeking for innovative ways of doing things.

How has the financial crisis impacted students at GSB?

Yukihiro: The financial crisis has huge impact on the recruiting activities of GSB students. Even GSB students find it difficult to get job offers both in summer intern and full time. Investment banks and consulting firms, which are two major employers of MBA students, are narrowing their doors for the students. Startups in Bay Area have also faced financial difficulties. GSB students are concerned more about recruiting than in usual years.

Adam: Do you have any specific advice for those considering application to GSB?

Yukihiro: GSB is pursuing the candidates who match its policy, “Change Lives, Change Organizations, Change the World.” Show your visions, which cannot be achieved in other schools. GSB is unique, and you have to show your “fit” to GSB.

Adam: What are your favorite MBA related blogs?

Yukihiro: Here are the GSB students’ and alumni’s blogs: http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/jacksonlibrary/info/news/gsbblogs.html. You can find your own favorite blogs there.

Adam: Anything else you would like to tell us?

Yukihiro: The environment of GSB (curriculum, students, resources, weather, etc.) is excellent. I hope you find your own top school and successfully get admitted to that school. It is great if your best choice is GSB. If so, I am looking forward to your joining our community!

I want to thank Yukihiro for taking the time to answer my questions.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com. Please see my FAQ regarding the types of questions I will respond to. If you are looking for a highly experienced admissions consultant who is passionate about helping his clients succeed, please feel free to contact me at adammarkus@gmail.com to arrange an initial consultation. To learn more about my services, see here. Initial consultations are conducted by Skype or telephone. For clients in Tokyo, a free face-to-face consultation is possible after an initial Skype or telephone consultation. I only work with a limited number of clients per year and believe that an initial consultation is the best way to determine whether there is a good fit. Whether you use my service or another, I suggest making certain that the fit feels right to you.

-Adam Markus
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