This is the worlds leading source of financial content on the web, ranging from market news to retirement strategies, investing education to insights from advisors.
Forex Forever!

How the Harvard MBA Compares To The Stanford MBA

Author: Andrew Davis

For the last three years, Harvard Business School (HBS) and Stanford Graduate School of Business (GBS) have led the Financial Times' ranking of the world's best master of business administration (MBA) programs. Stanford came in first in 2012, and Harvard topped the list in 2013 and 2014. In this year's ranking, Harvard is still first, but Stanford is in fourth place after London Business School and University of Pennsylvania: Wharton.

According to the Times Higher Education, the ranking is based on a number of different factors including gender diversity and the international spread of students, but the heaviest weighting is placed on alumni salaries. Based on the 2015 FT ranking, alumni from HBS and GBS have the highest salaries with $179,910 and $177,089, respectively—and they had the highest salaries in previous years as well. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of each program, and how do Harvard and Stanford compare?

To educate leaders that make a difference in the world

To educate leaders that make a difference in the world, is the mission of the HBS MBA program. Harvard's MBA program was founded in 1908 as the first program of its kind. The MBA takes two years: the goal of the first year courses is to provide students with a foundation in broad-based fundamentals. During the second year, students can choose from over 90 courses in ten different categories. HBS emphasizes its focus on real-world practice […] using the case method, which puts students into the role of decision makers every day.

Today, there are more than 76,000 HBS alumni living in 167 countries with nearly 50 percent of alumni working in general management, 23.4 percent in finance and 23 percent in professional services. Famous HBS alumni include Facebook (FB) Chief Operating Office Sheryl Sandberg and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Alumni in particular praise HBS's alumni network and the quality of the student population.

Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.

Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world, is GBS's slogan, and its mission is to empower the worlds brightest students, to act – to take steps that will change the world. A look at GBS alumni reveals that many have made an impact, such as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) founders William Hewlett and David Packard, whose garage served as the birthplace of both HP and Silicon Valley. Stanford has close ties with Silicon Valley as other alumni went on to found Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO).

During the first year of the two-year MBA program, students will build their general management knowledge and gain global experience. Students can personalize their curriculum in their second year and can choose from over 70 courses in 18 different categories. The school maintains a small 6-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and has several Nobel laureates on staff.

CEO of a Fortune 500 Company or Entrepreneur

The key difference between HBS and GBS appears to be that HBS graduates are slightly more focused on finance and professional services while GBS graduates seem to prefer entrepreneurship. This is illustrated the high portion—56 percent—of HBS alumni working in finance and professional services. Furthermore, HBS graduates make out a high number of CEOs: 25 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are alumni from HBS – by far the largest percentage of any business school. GBS alumni, on other hand, have an entrepreneurial focus. The Financial Times notes that GBS alumni have one of the highest startup survival rate[s] as Stanford is among the best in entrepreneurial teaching and its proximity to Silicon venture capital firms.

According to a 2011 business school alumni survey published in Forbes, 44 percent of GBS alumni founded their own businesses. The Forbes article also evaluated the return on investment (ROI) of the best business schools and stated that Stanford graduates were happier than Harvard graduates based on satisfaction in MBA education, job status, and preparedness compared to other MBA graduates. According to the article, HBS alumni felt prepared but expressed dissatisfaction with their jobs.

The alumni body shows minor differences in regard to their industries of employment: Stanford alumni mostly work in finance and IT; whereas Harvard alumni are more spread out across sectors with finance having the biggest share.

The 2016 student bodies vary slightly. HBS's student body is 41 percent female compared to 36 percent at GBS. International students make up 35 percent of HBS's population and 41 percent at GBS. US minorities comprise 25 percent of HBS's student body and 21 percent at GBS. Prior to enrolling in the HBS MBA program, 18 percent of students worked in consulting, 17 percent in private equity/venture capital, 14 percent in financial services, and 13 percent in high-tech/communications. At GBS, 20 percent of students had worked in consulting, 15 percent in private equity/venture capital, 15 percent in non-profit/government, and 13 percent in high-tech.

Differences between the two schools do appear when looking at students' undergraduate majors. At Harvard, 41 percent of students have a finance or business background whereas only 14 percent of Stanford MBA students majored in finance or business. In fact, 48 percent of GBS students have a humanities / social sciences background.

The Bottom Line

Harvard offers a more diverse student body in regard to female and minority students, but Stanford has more students that enter the field from a non-business or finance undergraduate background. When looking at the kind of jobs each school's alumni have, there's a tendency for HBS alumni to work in management at large companies, while GBS alumni are more likely to start their own business. Both business schools offer world-class education and have great reputations.

last five articles

#580 How Foreign Transaction Fees Work

Author: Matthew Jackson

Not all money is created equal. One dollar gets you more than 100 Japanese yen, but less than one British pound, for example. And the quaint coffee shop in the south of France doesn't want your dollars. Even your credit card company might get a little grumpy if you use your card outside the Unite... see more

#1012 Top Money Management Apps For 2015

Author: Michael Taylor

There are two types of people when it comes to money: those who spend and those who save. The savers have a natural aversion to spending money: they must think, analyze, and weigh the pros and cons before making a purchase. The spenders, on the other hand, tend to be more liberal with their money... see more

#1402 Ways to Travel to Tokyo on a Budget

Author: Daniel Davis

Tokyo has long been one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, over the past few years the United States Dollar has become stronger against the Japanese Yen. As a result, tourism to some of Japan's popular cities has been on the rise. Getting to Tokyo for CheapSince tourism to... see more

#1537 Planning for Healthcare

Author: Christopher Smith

The alarm has been sounded. Financial gurus want you to get serious about retirement planning. Studies show that most Americans don't have nearly enough saved; in fact, they're dangerously behind.But there's more to it than that. Lifetime healthcare costs for a healthy 65-year-old couple r... see more

#951 Make These 5 Tax Resolutions For Next April 15

Author: Matthew Davis

Let the lessons you learned on your 2014 income tax return lead you to new actions that will make it easier to handle your 2015 return. Here are five things you can do now that will reward you next tax season, and easy ways to make them happen.1. Maximize your pre-tax opportunitiesDeductio... see more