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Updated: December 7, 2010 15:15 IST

Where innovation is central to management education

Meera Srinivasan
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PASSION PAYS: Seda Mansour, Associate Director of MBA Admissions, Stanford GSB. Photo: Special Arrangement
PASSION PAYS: Seda Mansour, Associate Director of MBA Admissions, Stanford GSB. Photo: Special Arrangement

Associate Director of MBA Admissions at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Seda Mansour encourages students to follow their passion to emerge successful in the management education sector in an interview to Education Plus…

Business schools have to constantly reinvent to meet the changing global needs. What is the Stanford model?

Stanford University is located in Silicon Valley, a hub of innovation. Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, and Nike were all ideated at Stanford or developed in Silicon Valley. Stanford is dedicated to innovation in every aspect of education. Stanford MBA Programme is no exception. We provide a personalised education, calibrated to each student's background, experiences, and aspirations. The curriculum is designed to deliver a more global and more engaging experience for students.

For example, all first-year students take the autumn quarter course called Global Context of Management; Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty member Condoleezza Rice, who served as U.S. Secretary of State, teaches several modules of the class. Additionally, all students will fulfil a global experience through a variety of study trips, service-learning trips, immersion internships, and international exchange opportunities. All MBA students will experience first hand a country they have not lived or worked in before and learn how to conduct business across multiple boundaries.

Management education has become rather competitive. How can aspiring managers prepare themselves while pursuing their basic degree?

The thoughtful pre-MBA student will do the hard work of self-reflection and consider their values, their accomplishments, their passions, and just where the gaps are in their skills set and in their leadership development and better identify which business programmes will align with those values and passions to help them fill the gap in their management ‘tool kit'. When smart people follow their passions, they tend to be successful.

The Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship at Stanford Graduate School of Business is being given from 2008. What has your experience been?

Stanford has been delighted by the talent in India. We have had tremendous interest in the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship, and it has been difficult to select only 50 finalists and then the final five fellows.

Who is eligible for the Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship?

We provide the best and the brightest in India the opportunity to develop skills and experiences that will empower them to lead India. There are no additional qualifications required except for those we use to assess all candidates for the Stanford MBA Programme — intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential and personal qualities and contributions. We require no specific degrees or majors, nor do we have minimum requirements for exam or university scores (we do, however, have a TOEFL minimum of 100 that is a university requirement).

The application process includes, among other things, education history and scores, awards and honours, employment history and aspirations, resume/curriculum vitae, individual financial information and a 250-word essay.

We encourage interested applicants to review the extensive information at http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/mba/reliance for more information. Prospective applicants can reach us by phone or by email with any additional questions.

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