GSB grads head into education

March 6, 2012, 2:05 a.m.

Graduates of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) are pursuing a more diverse array of careers of late, according to the GSB’s Career Management Center. Many of these graduates are looking to the education industry rather than business or finance.


“The most significant trend we have seen in recent years has been an extraordinary diversification in what GSB students choose to pursue,” said Pulin Sanghvi MBA ‘97, director and assistant dean of the GSB Career Management Center. “We have approximately 780 MBA students and more than 300 firms that hire them, which means that, any given year, 80 percent of employers will hire only one student.”


Sanghvi also noted that a significant number of MBA students are pursuing joint degrees with other schools at Stanford.


Nereyda Salinas, managing director of career resources for the School of Education, has seen an increase in students applying to the joint MBA-Master’s of Education program.


“A good portion of these joint-degree students are definitely pursuing long-term careers in education,” Salinas said. “These students are looking to pursue education-management careers. … They are trying to impact the field of education in a scalable manner.”


“Students who are interested in education who get an MBA will look for opportunities where they can drive change,” Sanghvi echoed.


Education Pioneers, a nonprofit that places graduate student fellows into education organizations to gain experience in the industry, has been a starting point for many GSB students.


“I think the opportunity to do well by kids, particularly low-income kids, makes an education profession a really attractive one,” said Liam Garland, Bay Area managing director of Education Pioneers. “We are also catching grad students at a part of their career where they are not as interested in being a teacher, but are more excited by system-wide reform.”


Many of the Education Pioneers fellows are current GSB students.


“We get a lot of applications from current GSB-ers to be a part of our fellowship,” Garland said. “Stanford is one of the top ten schools for Education Pioneers.This tells me that not just Education Pioneers, but also our partner education organizations are really impressed by them.”


Garland also noted that he believes a joint degree is a powerful tool in the education field.


“The fact that Stanford has a dual degree in business and education distinguishes it from other schools,” Garland said. “Dual-degree candidates are really great for the Education Pioneers experience.We think that better solutions will be developed from people in different backgrounds and different degree types struggling over the same problems. We want to create conversations with multiple perspectives represented.”


Stanford graduates have entered a diverse array of education-related opportunities. Some, like Eduardo Briceño, graduate of the joint MBA-Master’s of Education program and an ‘06 Education Pioneers fellow, are pursuing careers in nonprofits. Briceño co-founded Brainology, an education and entrepreneurial nonprofit.


“There’s a trend where alumni gain a few years of private sector experience after their fellowship with Education Pioneers and then come back to education after that,” Garland said.


Others are entering charter management and government organizations. Ash Solar, another graduate of the joint MBA-Master’s of Education program and an ‘07 Education Pioneers Fellow, is now the chief talent and strategy officer for the Tennessee State Department of Education.


“When you’ve got somebody in business school, and they are looking at career paths, there’s an opportunity oftentimes to gain really substantial experience quickly in education,” Garland said. “This is another thing that attracts MBA students to the industry.”

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