Sloan Fellows: An Elite Mid-Career Degree At 3 World Class B-Schools

Sloan Fellows: An Elite Mid-Career Degree At Three World Class B-Schools

Stanford’s MSx Class of 2023 pose in front of the Knight Management Center at the start of their first quarter in July. Stanford photo by Julia Yu


When looking at business programs to help advance in her career, Fabiana Cristina Yu looked no further than the Sloan Fellows program. Born in Brazil, she immigrated to the U.S. at 9 and holds dual citizenship of both countries. For the last eight years, she’s worked in data analytics at a large Brazilian financial institution.

She wanted the sabbatical experience, the focus of immersing herself in an intensive, in-person program for a full-year. For her, Stanford’s Sloan program rose to the top.

There’s Silicon Valley as well as Stanford’s top-of-class business, engineering, medical, and design schools. She’s excited to take Stanford’s uber popular Startup Garage.

“Significant career pivots are always driven by a desire to generate impact. As I advanced in my career, I really found that the challenges were changing. They became about how can I be a better communicator? How can I be a better leader? How can I have more impactful strategies?” she tells Poets&Quants.

“Stanford is just a place that really breathes this entrepreneurial spirit.”


Stanford’s version of the Sloan model was created in 1957. It became a proper degree program in 1977. It changed its name to Master of Science and Management for Experienced Leaders (MSx) in 2013, but its students are still often referred to as Sloan Fellows. Graduates leave with a Master in Management (MSM).

Sloan Fellows: An Elite Mid-Career Degree At Three World Class B-Schools

Stanford GSB’s Knight Center, Photo Credit: Elena Zhukova

Compared to Stanford’s MBA, the MSx is short, going from July to June. It’s also intense. Within the first quarter, students complete a streamlined core curriculum in foundational business. Students build the rest of their program through the same electives that are offered to Stanford’s MBA students and the university at large.

When selecting candidates for its MBA, Stanford looks for the brightest people with remarkable leadership potential, says Mike Hochleutner, director of Stanford GSB MSx admissions.

In selecting candidates for its MSx, it has more data to work with. This year’s class, for example, has an average of 13 years of work experience, ranging between 8 and 30 years across dozens of industries. By and large, they’ve already demonstrated the potential to excel in senior leadership roles. That experience is reflected in what they bring to the classroom, he says.

Yu agrees. She’s constantly amazed by what she learns about her classmates in coffee chats or over lunches or the experience they bring to the classroom discussions. They’ve won Oscars, led major health systems through the frontlines of COVID, and managed billion dollar companies in the middle east.

“Because we’re a small cohort, we all know each other by name. The ability to take one little topic, one sentence that someone said, and have a longer chat with them during a coffee chat really becomes like a second classroom. You can ask them questions and learn from these amazing professionals who are also here to take their careers to the next step.”


Sloan Fellows: An Elite Mid-Career Degree At Three World Class B-Schools

Mike Hochleutner, director of Stanford GSB MSx admissions

Yu is one of about 40% of the class who said they are looking for career advancement. But typically, about 60% of program graduates actually go on to pivot industry or function after completion, Hochleutner says.

Walking around elite universities with long and storied pasts, people may feel a sense of history. Hochleutner walks around Stanford and feels like he’s peeking into the future. He sees students working through windows and wonders if they’re working on the next Google, or a product that will lower emissions, or a system that will make healthcare more affordable.

“Being in Silicon Valley, being at Stanford, I don’t know where there’s a better ecosystem of human capital,” he says.

“One thing that’s distinct about Stanford is that we don’t have any part time or online degree programs. Our model is that we’re really looking for people we think can be true changemakers. We immerse them in an environment where their lives can be transformed to make them more effective, more inspired, and to hold higher standards for themselves.”


Sloan Fellows: An Elite Mid-Career Degree At Three World Class B-Schools

Fabiana Cristina Yu

The percentage of women in all three programs has risen sharply over the last decade, a positive trend occurring across degrees at all levels of business education. In 2013, 22% of the MIT Sloan cohort was women, 23% at Stanford, and just 13% at LBS. Compare that to this year when 37% of MIT’s and Stanford’s class are women and 22% of LBS’.

In fact, Stanford’s 37% women is a record for the program, Hochleutner says. Further, more than two-thirds of the fellows have partners, and 35 chave 63 children between them, ranging in age from newborn to 24 years.

Yu feels lucky that she’s had women in data analytics that she has been able to look up to, and she’s grateful for the young women who have looked up to her leadership as her career has advanced. But there is still work to be done, and the representation of women in boardrooms and at the head of companies still matters.

“I’m really proud that this is the biggest proportion of women for the program,” says Yu, who hopes to return to Brazil after the program and help companies leverage data and analytics as part of their business strategy .

“I serve as one of the diversity, equity and inclusion officers here, and what I hope is that someday having other women in leadership positions is something that isn’t even noticed.”

Read more about Stanford’s 2023 MSx Class here.


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