MIT vs. Stanford MBA - 5 Factors for Consideration: Location, Entrepreneurship, Class Profile, Employment & Curriculum

MIT vs Stanford MBAMIT Sloan and Stanford GSB are two of the top Business Schools in the world. Both are next door to exceptional undergraduate programs that regularly usher in radical new technologies. Along with other schools on campus, both Sloan and GSB are well known for its world-class entrepreneurial environment. Students with a tech background and an entrepreneurial attitude are naturally drawn to the schools, at times facing the dilemma of choosing one over the other. We have picked five factors for your consideration before picking one over the other.

1) Location

Stanford is in sunny California, while MIT is in the colder city of Boston. For many this might not be a deal breaker, but knowing that Bostonians have to weather, an 8-month of depressively low temperature while Californians can find warm weather in all four directions is a deal breaker for MBA applicants who want to experience the city while sharpening their negotiation and leadership skills in the class.

Stanford has a large campus, and is located in Palo Alto, a suburban area, with fewer transport options, and almost no other college students around except for those at Stanford. Sloan is in the city, with all major infrastructures close to the campus. The school is also next door to Harvard, and so presents a diverse set of opportunities to interact and network.

Location does not exist as an isolated metric in MBA research but plays one of the biggest influences on the culture you pick post-MBA. If Boston reeks of hierarchy, and in many cases overvaluing the institutions, Palo Alto is home to innovators in technology, notably Facebook, Tesla Motors, and Apple.

At first glance, the comparison between diversified Boston vs. technology-heavy Palo Alto might seem irrelevant, but if you were planning to settle down in either of the two cities, the attitude of the community towards innovators and ‘prestige seeking,’ ‘educated’ professionals would become apparent. Palo Alto has irreverence towards market leaders. This attitude has pushed many young Entrepreneurs to challenge the tech giants.

A glimpse of the top recruiters in Boston and San Francisco reveals the stark difference. 

Boston MBA Opportunities

San Franscisco MBA

2) Incoming Class Profile

A salient feature for both schools is a small class size of around 400 a year and thus results in extremely low acceptance rates that hover around 6% for Stanford and 13% for MIT Sloan. The middle 80% score range of MIT Sloan is 690 to 760 although the lowest starts at 550. Don’t count on the lower range. Stanford too has a distribution that is closer to the 700+ mark. MIT Sloan, however, does not have a TOEFL requirement. The admission team uses interviews as a tool to test an applicant’s English proficiency.
Humanities and Social Sciences students formed the bulk of the Stanford MBA class, with 48%; Sloan had just 20%. Sloan attracted 32% from an Engineering background, aligning with Sloan’s tendency to accept creative innovators with medium to high English proficiency skills. The selection criteria explain the TOEFL non-requirement at MIT Sloan. The risk is balanced with a high percentage (38%) of applicants from Business/Economics background.

Last year, MIT Sloan preferred experienced candidates with an average work experience of 4.8 years. This has been consistent for the past four years. Stanford, on the other hand, had an average of 5 last year, the highest in the last 10 years. Both schools though make space for exceptional candidates, with a work experience range that can go from 0 to 20 years.

The number of MBA applications measures the brand pull. Stanford receives double the applications than MIT Sloan and thus explains the 6% acceptance rate against Sloan’s 13%. Stanford had a healthy mix of Engineers and applicants from the Science background.

Incoming Class Trends

3) Entrepreneurship

The answer to the debate on whether an MBA is required for Entrepreneurship or not lies in the numbers. We compare the number and percentage of the MBA class opting for Entrepreneurship.

Complete Analysis on Entrepreneurship (Included in F1GMAT's Comprehensive MBA Research Guide)

4) Post-MBA Jobs

Candidates interested in Entrepreneurship are only a tiny fraction of the Stanford MBA 2015 class. When the class median base salary is $130,000 against the uncertainties of Entrepreneurship, MBA candidates took the safe option. The total guaranteed payment is a reason for the pressure to conform.

Complete Post-MBA Salary Trends and Comparative Table in MBA Research Guide

5) Curriculum

MIT Sloan MBA program offers flexibility for Career switchers as the first year curriculum is divided into a 6-month core while Stanford devotes the entire first year on the core, with topics covering General Management and Global experiential learning modules. 
GSB offers 100+ electives in the second year, from which students can choose 18. Sloan offers three optional tracks - Finance, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and Enterprise Management. There is also a certificate program in Healthcare and Sustainability for MIT Sloan MBA. Students must complete 144 units of electives, with one subject ranging from 3 to 12 units. Students can choose from a huge 230+ electives and can take as many as three approved non-MIT Sloan subjects. It can be graduate-level MIT or Harvard courses.
MIT is clearly defining the boundary by limiting the tracks to three while Stanford GSB wants you to explore a variety of themes before picking a post-MBA career path. If you measure flexibility and General Management prowess, Stanford has an Edge. For career switchers entering consulting, the boundary defined in MIT Sloan curriculum will help candidates to focus on the core expertise required to make the transition.

Curriculum Breakdown

If you are planning to apply to both the MBA programs, Download our Essay Guides.

MIT Sloan MBA Essay Guide
Stanford MBA Essay Guide

MIT Sloan MBABase SalaryStanford MBABase Salary
Consulting (32.1%)$140,000Consulting(14%)$1,40,000
Technology (25.9%)$120,000Technology(28%)$1,25,000
Investment Banking (6.1%)$125,000Finance (31%)$1,50,000
Pharma/Healthcare/Bio-Tech(4.1%)$120,000Healthcare (6%)$1,27,500