Stanford: International Student Record

by on November 8th, 2012

Stanford Graduate School of Business enrolled an all-time high of international students this year, a record 42% of the 398 students that make up the Class of 2014. Stanford said the international students hail from 53 non-U.S. countries.

At the same time, U.S. minority representation in the class plunged to 20% from 27% last year. The school explained that the number “reverted from last year’s 20-year high…to a more typical level.” Minorities composed 23% of the class in academic year 2010-11 and 21% in 2009-10.

The statistics come from a recently published profile of this fall’s incoming students on Stanford’s website. The school said applications for the class totaled 6,716, up slightly from 6,618 a year earlier, but still down from 7,204 two years ago.

International students increased by four percentage points

The spike in international students was especially surprising. The 42% representation reflects a four-point jump in a single year. Last year, 38% of Stanford’s incoming class came from outside the U.S., and in the 2009-2010 academic year, only 33% of the class was international. In recent years, however, a flood of highly qualified applicants have emerged from both China and India.

By way of comparison, some 34% of Harvard Business School’s latest class is international. Harvard, however, has had more success in enrolling a larger percentage of women, 40% this year vs. Stanford’s 35%, and U.S. minorities, 24% this year vs. Stanford’s 20%.

“These fluctuations also speak to our admission process,” said Stanford. “We don’t admit categories; we admit individuals. There are no quotas or targets in the admission process, and each applicant is evaluated entirely on his or her own merits. This is why we consider a class profile illustrative, rather than informative. In truth, there is no metric that can measure character.”

Number of schools and organizations represented in class reached an all-time high

The school’s admissions group also made a point of noting that “two-thirds of our new students are the sole person to come directly from that organization.” An earlier analysis by Poets&Quants had discovered that a mere dozen of the most elite consulting and investment banking firms accounted for more than a third of the students in Stanford’s Class of 2013 (see Top Feeder Companies To Stanford).

“The industry mix changed slightly, but the absolute number both of schools, (especially non-U.S. institutions), and of organizations represented, reached an all-time high,” Stanford said. “With our small class size, even two students can, and do, shift a percentage here or there. But the most relevant factor is that our candidate pool is ever-changing.”

The school said the average GMAT for the class was 729, down two points from the 731 average for the Class of 2013, while the range of scores for enrolled students was 550 to 790. At Harvard this year, the median GMAT was 730, while the range for enrolled students was 570 to 790. Harvard reports median numbers, while Stanford reports averages.

Work experience in the class increased slightly to 4.2 years from 4.0 years. “This is a peak for the last decade,” the school said. The amount of work experience for enrolled students ranged from zero to 14.1 years.

Some 46% of the class had undergraduate majors in the humanities and social sciences, 37% in engineering, math, and natural sciences, and 17% in business. “This year, a few more engineers and humanities majors joined the MBA program, with a handful fewer students who studied business,” the school said.

The largest single percentage of enrolled students come from consulting, which supplied 18% of the class, followed by private equity and venture capital (17%), and financial services 12% as well as government, military and non-profits (12%. Stanford said 11% boast a background in technology, 8% in consumer products and services, 7% in clean tech, energy and the environment, 4% in manufacturing, and 2% in biotech and health care.


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