“Shout out to Vegas FOAM Tuesdays when we all fly to Vegas for 6 hours for an overnight costume party – Yes this is exactly how we even boarded the plane. Oh and some of us even went to 8am Wednesday classes with our costumes on.”
What happens after you get into the toughest business school in the world? Stanford MBA student Mahak Garg’s articles have been hugely popular among our readers. So we asked her if she could give Stanford MBA aspirants a sneak peek into what they can expect as international students admitted to the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). In short, get ready for an exciting, high-paced, action-packed ride.
Assume best intentions and hold your world views lightly. You are here because you are lucky and you have responsibility to all those who could not make it here.You have been given an opportunity to learn at this prestigious school.
– Dean’s welcome speech
After a year and a half at GSB, “Describe your GSB experience” continues to remain the toughest question for me to answer. GSB is like wine – It only gets better with every passing quarter. There isn’t a day when I haven’t felt blessed to be accepted to this iconic school (Yes! in US, MBA colleges are called schools).
What struck the most, besides the stunningly modern architecture and the extravagant dorm rooms,was the extremely positive, humble and inclusive culture at GSB – the culture of deep self-reflection, of prioritisation, of high aspirations and appreciation.
The question “What matters most to you and why?” is not just an essay question for GSB but rather a lifestyle. With the candy house that GSB is,these words remind me to shut the noise and focus on what truly matters the most.
At any point I have to choose from attending classes (both at the business school and across other schools such as Law School. CS, engineering school and what not), working on my start-up, grabbing drinks with my classmates, planning travel/on campus events with my new-found friends, attending Brown bag lunches (bring in your own lunches) and View From The Top, managing 250K student budget and what not.
FOMO or fear of missing out would stare starkly in my eyes every single day – The fear of not having enough deep connections and conversations, of not getting enough hugs when the school reunites after a break, the fear of not making the best out of these two years that will never come back to you, and many more.
There are days (though few) when I go back to my room a little more scared and filled with self-doubt about not doing it right. On other days, hearing inspirational life stories of unbelievable experiences, challenges and beliefs from my classmates (in the form of weekly TALKs) engraves in me the spirit of perseverance, grit and self-discipline.
At GSB, the days are long and the quarters short. Below I have broken down my experience at GSB into 4 buckets.
Stanford truly believes in the strength of its network and encourages a culture of deep connections as opposed to networking. Tuesdays are FOAM nights (Friends of Arjay Miller), Thursdays are BPL (Beer Pong Leagues), weekends are obviously weekends, so we hike to near and far places.
I travelled to Mexico for Global seminar before start of GSB, to Peru for Thanksgiving, to Spain for spring break and China for student exchange program with Tsinghua university. Some other social events are prom nights, Charity gala, Small group theme dinners and many more.
All said and done, like us, GSB too is work in progress. The beauty is that they follow what they preach – Being good listeners. As an institution GSB seeks feedback actively and works towards self-improvement. There are rigorous student and dean meetings where we freely communicate our ever-growing expectations from the school.
I can only conclude by saying that there is nothing else that I’d rather be doing than studying at this great institute for these 2 years of my life. I am grateful for all the opportunities, experiences, exposure, network and relationships that I have formed.