a stanford gsb building

A Detailed Look at the Stanford GSB Employment Report

November 27, 2021
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Part 1. IntroductionPart 2. Why Apply to Stanford GSB?`Part 3. What is Stanford GSB known for?Part 4. Who is Stanford GSB looking for?Part 5. In-Depth Look at the Stanford GSB Employment ReportPart 6. FAQsPart 7. Conclusion


The Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) is a global leader when it comes to business schools and consistently ranks among the top schools in the world.

Stanford GSB offers a full-time two-year MBA “that helps you develop your vision and the skills to achieve it.” The school is located in the heart of Silicon Valley in “one of the world’s most dynamic centers for business and innovation” - San Francisco, California.

Stanford’s reputation is known far and wide, so an MBA earned at this prestigious school is almost certain to get you places; Stanford GSB’s recent employment report is a testament to that. Their recent MBA graduates have managed to land some of the highest-paid starting salaries for MBAs anywhere in the world, breaking records in multiple pay categories such as starting base salary, average sign-on bonus, and average expected performance bonus.

This marks the sixth year in a row that Stanford graduates have set new records for financial compensation.

Of course, there are numerous reasons why you might want to pursue an MBA; it may be a necessary piece of the puzzle for advancing you closer to your career prospects, it may be your best possible opportunity to network with global leaders in the business world, or it may be your opportunity to learn the skills necessary to start up your own business down the line.

However, no matter the ultimate goal, in pursuing an MBA, a nice fat salary is undoubtedly the best possible payoff for all of the grueling hard work and effort that goes into completing such a degree. Earning an MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business improves your chances of achieving such recompense.

If you’re interested in taking a detailed look at the Stanford GSB employment report, or learning more about what this business school is known for and how to obtain a coveted spot in one of their future cohorts, read on.

Why Apply to Stanford GSB?

A Well-rounded Education

Before you can begin thinking of the next big job that your MBA will secure you, you must first complete said degree, and you should do this in a place that offers you a well-rounded education that paves the way for infinite personal and professional growth. Stanford GSB provides exactly that to each and every one of its students.

Stanford GSB’s rigorous core courses will “sharpen your management instincts” as their world-renowned faculty will help you to “learn how to transform organizations,” and their experiential learning opportunities will provide chances for you to “design & prototype solutions” to real world business problems, such as how to deal with the complexities of international business relationships. 

A Tight-Knit Community

Joining a future cohort at Stanford GSB also means joining a community made up of “people from all over the world who will become your colleagues and confidants,” and together you will “become the leaders of tomorrow, supporting and challenging each other every step of the way.” Stanford is big on teamwork since they believe that innovation is often the product of collaboration.

So, joining their MBA program means taking on hundreds of allies who will be your biggest supporters, in multiple facets, for the next two years. This is the spirit that fuels Stanford GSB, and the bonds formed while studying an MBA here will lead to your membership within a lifelong network of industry leaders that you can take advantage of for the rest of your career.

A World-Class Curriculum

Undertaking an MBA at Stanford GSB may be precisely what you need to turn your long-term and short-term goals and aspirations into realities as, “if you have big ideas, there is no better place than Stanford GSB to explore them.” Stanford’s top-quality curriculum and innovative educational practices are what will allow for this.

Over the course of your two-year MBA, you will have the opportunity to “learn through case studies, lectures, small-group seminars, simulations, prototyping, role-playing scenarios, hands-on experiences, project-based courses, and multifunctional teams.”

Stanford GSB has multiple industry-specific courses that will help you to expand your knowledge base within specific sectors that are of interest to you. If you have a particular interest in technology, you may appreciate courses such as The Impact of AI on Productivity and Personal Performance or The Industrialist’s Dilemma

If you’re more interested in joining the HealthCare industry, you may want to look into courses such as Biodesign for Digital Health or Leading Value Improvement in Health Care Delivery. There are even numerous courses related to transportation, such as The Future of the Automobile- Mobility Entrepreneurship.

No matter what industry you are looking to pursue a career in, you will find courses at Stanford GSB that will help you develop the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed within it.

Stanford GSB’s experiential learning courses “offer hands-on learning about the process of evaluating new venture opportunities.” These courses grant you opportunities to apply the principles you will have learned in core courses to real-life scenarios. Certain courses, like Launchpad: Design and Launch Your Product or Service, provide students with the “challenge of imagining, prototyping, testing and iterating, building, pricing, marketing, distributing and selling” products and services that they have conceptualized. 

However, other courses, like Stanford Climate Ventures, are centered around “the creation and successful scale-up of…transformational climate ventures and innovation models.” Courses such as these allow you to “experience the joy of success and the (passing) pain of failure” while working in “a demanding, fast-paced, results-oriented group with support from faculty and industry leaders.”

What is Stanford GSB known for?

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship

As a Stanford GSB student, you may focus your learning on a variety of domains. However, Stanford GSB has mastered its grip on curricular and co-curricular training within the realm of entrepreneurship.

All students have access to numerous entrepreneurial courses, clubs, and programs throughout the Stanford campus. Stanford GSB recognizes that “entrepreneurship takes many forms,” and no matter what route you intend to take with your career path after graduating, the “Stanford GSB curriculum allows you to build and expand your entrepreneurial skills to have impact in many different venues.”

If founding a company is an ambition of yours, there are “many Stanford GSB courses [that] deal directly with the challenges founders face when evaluating a new venture concept, scaling their business, and leading a team.” Multiple courses are offered as part of the Stanford curriculum, which focus on establishing and developing the foundational skills necessary for bringing your ideas for a new business to fruition. 

Stanford’s co-curricular venture studio may be another valuable resource for you that will allow you to connect to “resources, entrepreneurial expertise, and an interdisciplinary community of like-minded peers and alumni” outside of the classroom.

Although the venture studio is self-directed and unstructured, it contains “a vibrant learning community and coworking space for Stanford graduate students who want to learn about designing and creating sustainable, high-impact ventures by testing what they are learning in the classroom.”

Even if founding a company is not a prospect of yours, you can find multiple courses within the Stanford curriculum that target the field of entrepreneurship by other means. Their course, entitled Entrepreneurial Acquisition, focuses on the necessary steps that must be taken to purchase an existing business “with an eye toward expanding its growth and profitability.” Additionally, there are courses such as Innovation and Problem Solving or Leading Creativity and Innovation, which aim to build “skills that an entrepreneurial leader can apply in any size company.” Stanford students are also given the opportunity to participate in the Entrepreneurial Summer Program, which allows them to “work as summer interns with a recently acquired search fund company.”

Standing up for Social Chance

Stanford GSB is also known to make social change a primary focus of their MBA. They believe that their graduates will “play important roles in solving many of today’s and tomorrow’s major societal problems – such as improving educational and health outcomes, conserving energy, and reducing global poverty.” During your time at Stanford GSB, you will “gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to act fearlessly and inspire action” in ways that have an impact on social change.

Stanford’s curriculum contains many courses that go hand in hand with the theme of social innovation. These courses “explore strategies and methods for entrepreneurs to create impact in the world beyond shareholder value.” Classes like Impact: Strategic Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations and Social Ventures seek to provide “a survey of the strategic, governance, and management issues facing a wide range of nonprofit organizations and their executive and board leaders, in the era of venture philanthropy and social entrepreneurship.” Others, like Impact: Taking Social Innovation to Scale, are anchored around how to “get the best new social innovations to reach the hundreds of millions of people who need it the most,” as well as how to “ensure that they are developed, deployed, and scaled in a way that is relevant, appropriate and sustainable.”

Who is Stanford GSB looking for?

The Stanford GSB Ideals

Stanford has noted that “[their] students and alumni don’t all fit in one mold, and [they] don’t expect candidates to, either.” However, they certainly have some set expectations for anyone interested in applying to their program. As Stanford’s admissions committee sifts through the thousands of applications that they receive each year, there are three main things that they seek from their applicants: intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and personal qualities and contributions.

Two personal essays are required as part of their application process, and these essays are your best shot at proving that you possess these characteristics, which will have a sway over whether you become part of a future Stanford GSB cohort or not.

Intellectual Vitality

Stanford claims to have a “pioneering spirit,” which fosters a learning environment that allows them to “approach problems from interdisciplinary perspectives; teach using multiple methodologies; and embrace collaboration to explore new points of view.” Consequently, they feel that intellectual vitality goes far beyond what your GPA or standardized test scores can measure.

Of course, these things are still required when you apply to Stanford GSB, but only to help indicate your “readiness for [the school’s] academic program.” The admissions committee looks beyond these scores “to consider your interest in seeking new knowledge or expertise; your willingness to test and challenge assumptions; and your ability to develop new ideas or perspectives.”

To demonstrate intellectual vitality in your application, you should make room in your essays for reflecting upon “the times you have taken initiative to learn new things, to solve challenging problems, or to develop new insights.” Stanford is interested in knowing what kinds of things you may have discovered through these experiences, as well as why these discoveries matter to you. This will give the admissions committee a better idea of your potential, and it will show them how likely you are to thrive within the classrooms at Stanford.

Demonstrated Leadership Potential

Stanford’s motto is “change lives, change organizations, change the world,” and they believe that strong leaders are necessary for bringing about these kinds of change. Stanford claims to offer a “business education that will both challenge you to become a better leader and teach you how.” They believe themselves to be a community made up entirely of leaders, and although their campus is the place to hone in on these leadership skills and develop them further, you must prove to them that you have leadership potential before they grant you this opportunity.

The admissions committee at Stanford GSB puts faith in the notion that “past actions are the best predictor of future actions.” Thus, they’re interested in learning about “how you have created positive change in the organizations and communities in which you have been involved.” Once again, the essays are your best chance to shine some light on this. 

The committee will be looking for defined examples of times when you have influenced those around you and inspired them to follow you. You may want to reference a situation from your work experience, such as a time in which you came up with a new and innovative way to improve a process, or one from your personal life, such as an instance when you took the initiative to start a campaign or group that was centered around a specific cause.

The specifics of the examples you decide to mention in your essays aren’t important, since all kinds of possible anecdotal situations will highlight leadership skills. Just make sure that the stories you choose to include draw upon specific behaviors that you have exhibited, such as strategic thinking, initiative, persistence, results orientation, engaging others, and developing others. Your examples should also shed light on how you have used these behaviors to make an impact or create change.

Personal Qualities and Contributions

Stanford GSB’s admissions committee is eager to know precisely how you will contribute to enriching the school’s community, so they are interested in “who you are, not simply what you have done.” To show them exactly how you will fit in and add value to a future cohort of theirs, you may want to discuss your values, beliefs, and motivations while crafting your essays.

It is essential that you remain genuine with your approach to this, but you should also make an effort to stand out and reveal the ways in which you are unique. 

Stanford GSB seeks to “admit candidates who bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the MBA class because [they] believe that Stanford’s collaborative educational process leverages the breadth of students’ backgrounds to deliver a range of insights and approaches to real-world problems.” If you use the essays to reveal ways that you will contribute to the kind of diversity that Stanford thrives for, you will increase your chances of acceptance into their MBA program.

Stanford GSB’s Latest Class Profile

Stanford GSB’s latest class is incredibly diverse. The cohort is made up of 35% international students, representing 66 different countries. Of the admitted students, 47% are female. The educational backgrounds of Stanford’s current cohort are also quite evenly divided. Of students admitted into the program, 44% have an undergraduate degree in humanities/social sciences, 37% have a background in engineering, math and natural sciences, and 18% have a background in business. 

Students admitted into the program also had an average of 4.7 years of work experience. The most common professional background within the cohort was investment management, which 20% of the students reported having work experience in.

Consulting made up 17% of student professional backgrounds and 14% of students worked in the tech industry. Some industries that have lower representation within this cohort are health care, financial services, and manufacturing.

stanford gsb class profile

Although Stanford does not have any minimum requirements for GPAs, the average GPA of their recent cohort is relatively high, sitting at 3.8. For GMAT scores submitted, the average was 733. For GRE scores submitted, the average was 165 verbal and 165 quantitative. The average TOEFL score submitted by international applicants was 113.

stanford gsb average test scores

In-Depth Look at the Stanford GSB Employment Report

A Prosperous year for Stanford GSB Graduates

Stanford GSB’s recent MBA Employment report is impressive, and “despite the economic challenges of the global pandemic, the job market for Stanford GSB graduates remained robust.” The record-setting success of Stanford’s latest graduates certainly came as a surprise since they graduated when most of the world was headed into lockdown.

The pandemic “put a temporary pause” on some students’ job searches since many companies were wary about how the health crisis would affect their prospects. This led to a short-lived wave of concern amongst the new Stanford alums. 

However, their overall success rate wound up being affected only slightly by the economic turmoil resulting from the COVID pandemic. For students seeking employment after graduation, 91% had job offers within the first three months, and 85% of them accepted these offers. This represented a slight decrease from last year when 94% received offers, and 88% accepted them.

Yet Another Record-Breaking Year

These students managed not only to secure jobs within a short frame of time, but also to secure starting salaries that broke records for a sixth consecutive year. Average salaries peaked at $159,544, which is an increase of $7,041 compared to the previous year. Records were also set for the average sign-on bonus, which reached a new high of $32,551, as well as for the average expected performance bonus, which reached $78,299.

Roughly 51% of Stanford’s recent graduating class reported that they received a sign-on bonus, and 71% of them reported expected performance bonuses. This raises the average overall compensation to $231,737, which is 7.2% higher than that of the previous year.

total average compensation

Median salaries also hit record highs for Stanford GSB’s recent graduating class. The median class salary reached $156,000, which is up $6,000 from the previous year. The median bonus rose $1,500, and now sits at $26,500. Median performance bonuses improved by $2,000, leveling out at $35,000. Once everything is added up, the median total compensation for Stanford’s recent cohort is $194,365, representing a 3.5% increase from that of the previous year.

These numbers set Stanford GSB far ahead of all other business schools comparatively. Harvard Business School’s recent graduating class also managed to set new personal records for themselves, with a median total compensation of $173,500, yet they were still far behind Stanford’s median. Columbia Business school reported a median total compensation slightly higher than Harvard’s, at $174,313.

Additionally, 18% of the graduating class launched new ventures, which is up from 15% in the previous year, matching the previous record. Due to Stanford’s intensified focus on entrepreneurship, this impressive statistic is unsurprising.

Of these ventures, there was a rise in those that were related to healthcare, which also does not come as a surprise given the state of the recent global health crisis and the necessity for a focus on both physical health and mental health during the pandemic.

Sector Breakdown

The most popular sector that most of Stanford GSB’s recent graduating class wound up pursuing was finance, with 34% of the graduating class securing jobs related to this industry, which is only slightly more than the previous graduating class. Following finance was tech, which 28% of the class began working in, up from 24% the previous year. A drop from 18% to 15% was seen in the consulting sector. A few other sectors saw some significant changes as well. Consumer electronics, for example, jumped from 0% to 11%  and software fell from 12% to 0%.

Jobs within the tech industry generally tend to be lower-paying than finance jobs, which did not change for this graduating class. Finance jobs had a median salary of $175,000 and an average of $182,706. Those who specifically went into private equity (PE) received an average starting salary of $200,667, while those who went into venture capital (VC) earned an average salary of $197,143.

However, there were some incredibly high anomalies as well. One Stanford alum, in PE, reported earning $400,000, and someone in VC reported a salary of $300,000. Consulting jobs had a median salary of $165,000 with an average of $156,222. Tech had a median wage of $140,000, however someone from this sector reported an impressive $300,000 salary.

The entire 51% of Stanford’s recent graduating class that received signing bonuses were all within the tech industry. These bonuses ranged from $3,000 to $175,000. As far as performance bonuses went, PE seemed to lead with a median of $177,500 and a high of $400,000.

International MBA Salary Gap

As per usual, there was a noticeable salary gap between domestic and international MBAs who belonged to Stanford GSB’s recent graduating class. Those with permanent work authorization in the U.S. earned a median of $164,500, while foreign MBAs without such authorization earned approximately 17% less, with a median salary of $137,000. However, the non-U.S. work-authorized students earned higher bonuses than those who were authorized, receiving a median of $30,000, compared to $25,000.

Approximately 60% of Stanford’s recent graduating class found jobs that allowed them to stay on the West Coast. These MBAs made a median salary of $155,000, which was actually lower than the continental median of $160,000. 20% of the recent graduating class secured jobs with companies located in the Northeastern part of the country, and they made a median salary of $170,000. Overall, 89% of the graduating class stayed in North America, 6% moved to Asia, 3% went to Europe, and 1% relocated to Africa and Latin America. Given the travel bans and other COVID-restrictions, it is no shock that most of the grades stayed put.


1. What are the components required for applying to Stanford GSB’s MBA program?

All applicants must submit academic transcripts for all undergraduate or graduate institutions that they have attended, official GMAT or GRE scores, a one-page professional business resume, two letters of recommendation, and answers to both essay questions.

You must also share some information about any activities and interests that you have outside of work or class and the awards and honors you’ve received in the past.

Additionally, there are some optional short answer questions about your background on Stanford GSB’s application portal that you may submit answers to. International applicants must also submit scores from an English proficiency exam such as IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE.

2. Does Stanford GSB have opportunities for completing a joint/dual degree?

Yes. You may apply to partake in a joint JD/MBA, MD/MBA, MS Computer Science/MBA, or MS Electrical Engineering/MBA at Stanford GSB. You can also choose to pursue a dual degree for MA Education/MBA, MPP/MBA, or MS Environment and Resources (E-IPER)/MBA. There are specific application instructions for each of these degree options that can be accessed on Stanford GSB’s website.

3. Can I visit the campus to get a sense of what life is like for Stanford GSB students?

Unfortunately, all on-campus information sessions, class visits, and tours have been canceled until further notice since the campus is currently closed to visitors due to COVID. However, there are alternative online options for virtual campus tours. You may also speak with current or past students and faculty during various online events frequently hosted by Stanford GSB. A regularly updated schedule for these events is accessible through Stanford GSB’s website.

4. What is the acceptance rate for Stanford GSB’s MBA program?

Stanford GSB has a relatively low acceptance rate compared to other business schools. They typically receive 7,000-8,500 applications and usually admit around 430-500 students into the program, meaning their acceptance rate is roughly 6%. There were 7,797 applicants for Stanford’s recent graduating class, and 473 students were admitted. For the following class, Stanford GSB had 7,324 applicants, and 436 students were admitted.

5. Are there extracurricular activities to get involved with at Stanford GSB?

Yes. Stanford GSB has an incredibly diverse social scene, with more than fifty student clubs and organizations. These clubs are open to all students, and they regularly host meetings, events, and activities on campus and within the broader Bay Area. Some examples of the clubs that currently exist at Stanford GSB are the Asian Business Student Association, the Fintech Club, GSB Pride, and the Management Consulting Club.

6. What is the most popular industry that Stanford graduates usually go into?

Stanford GSB graduates have been historically successful with finding jobs within the finance and tech sectors. For Stanford’s most recent graduating class, 34% went into finance, and 28% went into tech. The previous year, 33% of the graduating class went into finance, and 24% went into tech. 


The MBA experience that Stanford GSB offers their students is unmatched by any other business school out there, which is why they’ve taken the top rank in the most recent U.S. News best business school ratings.

Stanford GSB is widely renowned for several reasons, but they are most significantly known for being a breeding ground for entrepreneurs. Stanford goes out of its way to nurture the budding entrepreneurial spirit that is to be found in many of its students, whether that be through its curriculum, clubs, or events that are centered mainly around the pursuit of entrepreneurial success.

The school is also known for its unwavering efforts to shift its students’ focus to social change. Stanford GSB is determined to propagate future global leaders who will go on to form innovative solutions to the problems that plague our society.

The prestige and notoriety of an MBA earned at Stanford GSB is unmatched by any other. Becoming a Stanford alum is an accolade shared by many who have gone on to be very successful within the business world. The history of success that Stanford graduates have seen has gone on for many decades, and it continued to do so this past year, despite the train wreck of global events that took place just as the most recent class was graduating.

The onset of the COVID pandemic created the potential for an extremely bleak job market since many major companies put a halt to their hiring amidst the chaos of the global situation. The uncertainty felt worldwide regarding the health crisis and the economic crisis that followed was mirrored in the uncertainty that Stanford’s newest grads were facing since the pandemic’s effects on their job prospects were impossible to predict. 

However, a detailed look at the Stanford GSB employment report reveals that the majority of Stanford’s recent graduating class was triumphant, despite the circumstances. They managed to come out on top, with average and median starting salaries that broke records all across the board. This impressive feat is the ultimate testament to the value of a Stanford GSB MBA.

So, if you’re interested in pursuing an MBA that will bring you almost guaranteed success in your future career, follow the guides outlined in this article, and apply to become part of a future cohort at Stanford GSB.

About Inspira Futures

At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.
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