“Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.” That’s the Stanford University Graduate School of Business motto. With only a 7% acceptance rate for its MBA program, not many people are given the opportunity to change lives, organizations, and the world through Stanford GSB. The latest way it hopes to foster change – an MBA fellowship that gives recipients free tuition and fees.
It’s significant, because Stanford is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world, as is its Graduate School of Business. The Stanford USA MBA Fellowship is for students who can demonstrate financial aid. The fellowship is for $160,000, the approximate cost of tuition and other expenses. If this doesn’t cover a student’s expenses, he or she may qualify for additional financial assistance.
The deal sounds great. There’s little question a graduate degree, particularly an MBA, gives job-hunters an advantage. But there’s one catch: To get the free tuition, applicants must be from the Midwest region of the country and, after graduation, they must commit to working in the Midwest for two consecutive years.
What’s the significance of offering free tuition to applicants in this region? According to Stanford GSB, this area is underrepresented in the school’s MBA program, so inclusion of these students helps foster a diversity of experiences and perspectives within the program.
Sabah Khan, associate director of the MBA Admissions Office at the Stanford GSB, tells GoodCall that the school motto represents more than just an aspirational goal or statement. “It impacts every aspect of how we attract students and educate the leaders of tomorrow,” Khan says. “The Midwest is strategically important to the national and global economy and Stanford wants to contribute to its strength by assisting to develop a strong ecosystem of executives prepared to grow and nurture the next generation of industry-leading organizations.”
Within two years of completing the program, graduates are expected to contribute to economic development in the Midwest. According to Stanford GSB’s website, “Examples include, but are not limited to, working with households at the grassroots level, influencing change through local or state governments, developing sustainable energy sources, or influencing large-scale capital flows.”
Choosing what comes after free tuition
While graduates are free to choose the type of work they want to do or the organization they prefer to work with, the school states, “We expect Stanford USA MBA Fellows to apply their leadership training to endeavors that benefit residents of the Midwest.”
Khan tells GoodCall that Stanford provides the best management training in the world, and students are fully prepared to assume roles as change agents, innovators, and industry leaders. “The historical range of our graduating class taking jobs in the Midwest is 1 to 5 percent, and this fellowship program will better serve the region by encouraging graduates to contribute to the Midwest economy and pursue careers within the region, Khan explains.
One person who applauds this action is Dean L. Johnson, interim dean of the School of Business and Economics at Michigan Technological University, who tells GoodCall, “The Midwest region has lagged the nation in a range of economic indicators for an extended period of time.”
While the region’s economy has been based on agriculture and natural resources, he says technology and innovation will drive the future. “The business leaders of tomorrow are needed to leverage the strong Midwest work ethic with technology-based entrepreneurship to generate economic growth,” Johnson concludes.
Stanford GSB defines the Midwest as the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
David Alden, group chair at Vistage Michigan, a leadership development organization for CEOs and executives, tells GoodCall, “Economic development in the Midwest is especially important to accelerate the development and implementation of technology in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors to capture growth in the global business environment.”
This is the inaugural year of the Stanford USA MBA Fellowship. However, Khan says, “We hope to expand the geographic reach over time.”
Other Need-To-Know Information
Students interested in the Stanford USA MBA Fellowship for Midwesterners should be aware of the following:
- Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
- Applicants must have a “strong connection” with the Midwest, such as current residency, residency for at least 3 consecutive years, graduation from a school in one of the states, or experiences that show a dedication to the development of this region.
- Application deadlines are in September and January of each year.
- Graduates who do not fulfill their commitment to work in the Midwest will be required to repay the funding.