Stanford Business School Moves to Chicago Model

In today's Career Journal: an article about plans at Stanford Graduate School of Business to move away from its one-size-fits-all core curriculum to a more flexible program. "With more and more variety in students' backgrounds, some were feeling bored, some were overwhelmed, and some were in a sweet spot in the middle," according to Garth Saloner, the professor heading the curriculum task force. The article points out that the class of 2007 has worked in 61 different industries, and that recent students have included an Algerian founder of a European sushi chain, a Chinese television executive, a US Army ranger, a European monetary-policy adviser, and an Olympic medalist in women's ice hockey.

The University of Chicago's business school has been offering a highly flexible curriculum in its MBA program for a while now, and it's one reason its students have found the program so attractive. Other top schools are now catching on, including Yale School of Management (which just introduced its revamped curriculum), and MIT's Sloan School of Management, which is considering changes and watching what its competitors do.

Last year, I was advising more than one MBA applicant who ultimately decided to turn down Yale's program because Yale did such a terrible job last fall communicating what its new curriculum would actually look like. The school did not inspire much confidence that it had worked out the details yet, and that lack of specificity drove some admitted applicants away. I'll be curious to hear how students like Yale's new curriculum once they're in the swing of things.