Get a top-rated Mini-MBA Certificate for $199 $29 (Limited time offer)

Stanford Executive MBA program alternative (MSx): Fees, cost, deadline and application

Stanford Executive MBA

If you’ve been searching for the Stanford Executive MBA program fees, costs, deadlines, rankings, and application process – you won’t find anything that matches.

That’s because there’s no Stanford Executive MBA in the traditional sense. An Executive MBA (EMBA) typically refers to a part-time or weekend format. Read this article on why there’s no Stanford EMBA program.

But there are a few alternatives to the conventional EMBA – such as the Stanford LEAD (1-year online program) and the Stanford Executive Program (6-week full-time).

The option that comes closest to the fully immersive 2-year Stanford MBA is called Stanford MSx – the Master of Science in Management for mid-career experienced professionals.

We’ve helped many senior applicants get into this program and it could be considered as the best option for those who have been looking for the mythical Stanford Executive MBA. Here are some statistics.

Tuition Fees and Costs

The tuition fee of $133,600 would be your biggest cost. But that’s not the only one. You’ll also have to factor in other expenses such as the cost of living, food, books, transportation, insurance and other fees.

If you’re going as a single student, the official site recommends setting aside around $194,000. For married students, the total cost can be around $227,000.

Scholarships, fellowships, loans

The program does consider need-based scholarship / fellowships for deserving students.


Unlike the regular full-time MBA which runs over 2-years, this EMBA type program for executives follows a one-year, full-time format.


There are 3 deadlines: Round 1 in early mid October, Round 2 in early January and Round 3 in mid February. There’s also usually an earlier round in early September for those submitting joint applications to both the full-time 2-year program and the 1-year MSx.

You’ll hear the admissions team in either early December (for Round 1 applications) or in late March (for Rounds 2 and 3).


Since this program doesn’t qualify as a regular MBA or an executive MBA, it does not have a ranking.

But that doesn’t matter much since, you’d be studying at Stanford. You can be assured of getting a top notch academic experience.

Read more here: Is the Stanford Executive MBA alternative worth it?

We invited an alumnus to share his Stanford University journey from application to graduation.

Stanford Executive MBA program alternative (MSx)

Fees, cost, deadline and application

by Anirudh Golwalkar

I love academics. I always have.

That I belonged to a middle-class family, with cast in stone beliefs like “salaried job is the only way out for people like us”, made school life both enjoyable and purposeful for me.

I naturally aspired for excellence in education which made me aim for and crack IIT-JEE in 2004.

Even my extra curriculars and hobbies were to do with education. I read a LOT (Sydney Sheldon, Ayn Rand, Swami Vivekananda, Mahabharata…. anything under the sun). I also enjoyed mentoring and teaching from a very young age.

So basically, I was your typical next door studious, introvert boy with very limited social life. Not exactly the stereotypical MBA material.

Of the available choices based on my rank in JEE, I chose Petroleum Engineering. I would be lying if I said I had exactly Petroleum Engineering in my mind when I thought of becoming an engineer.

But there were many factors which made me go for it.

The most important factor, which helped me later on while applying for the MSx program, was that it was a very specialized and unique industry which not many people are aware of in general.

My job as a drilling engineer was very challenging and adventurous. I worked on offshore Rigs, drill ships and remote desert areas under hazardous conditions.

The most important skill that I developed through my job was people management.

Working with cross-functional teams to plan large scale drilling projects and managing hundreds of on field personnel to ensure safe and economical project delivery required great people skills, and I had to learn it to succeed in my role.

What I also gained in 12 years was a treasure trove of amazing war stories of perseverance, conflict resolution, disasters averted and sweet victories. All of which proved more than useful for the MSx application.

I had always wanted to do an MBA, but kept postponing it for one reason or another (not a good strategy in hindsight).

2011 was when I first bought my GMAT official guide. The plan was clear. 5 years of work-ex and then MBA from a tier-1 college.

Except that I never opened the book. Because life happened!

The opportunity cost of making that decision kept increasing continuously, until 2018. 10 years into my job, I was done with my work. I desperately needed change. The MBA dream started taking shape again.

But I was precariously placed in terms of the application pool for the regular MBA programs:
Indian, male, engineer, straight line career in one organization and one location (India) and higher than average work experience.

I thought first things first. I needed a high enough GMAT score (730+) to differentiate myself somewhat.

I was confident of my quant skills and thought I needed to seriously work on my verbal prep only. Big mistake if you ask me. I bought only the verbal module of e-GMAT and prepared on my own for close to 3 months.

And it was a gruelling preparation. With a full-time job and family obligations, I had to stay awake late and get up early in the morning to squeeze 3-4 hours of focussed GMAT preparation every single day.

However. in all my mock tests, I kept scoring below 700 and to my astonishment, kept scoring low in quant.

Too proud to address the root cause, I made my first attempt and scored 710 (Q48/V40). Although the score was decent, I wasn’t exactly thrilled.

I decided to give one more attempt, with some focussed quant prep (a week only) this time around. My next score was 750 (Q49/V42) I was elated and relieved.

In my mind, I had differentiated myself from a lot of applicants with that score.

The point however that I want to emphasize here is that I neglected my high scoring area (quant) due to overconfidence and almost nil preparation.

Everyone around me was scoring Q50/51 easily with preparation and I messed up the opportunity. Never fail to exploit your strengths!

Secondly, I did unexpectedly well in verbal. The reason I think is that I committed myself to e-GMAT’s methodology.

Each author/source/course has their own methodologies and it is important to stick to one in my opinion.

I initially felt e-GMAT’s structured process to approach verbal problems was too slow but it paid off with ample practice.

With a high enough score, next I decided to work with a consultant for my application. The reason was simple.

Considering my higher work-ex, lack of enough extra-curriculars and international experience, I wanted to give my best shot at the applications.

I contacted a very reputed consultant through decent reviews on GMAT club and we worked on 3 applications: INSEAD, HEC and IMD as I was hung up on 1-year programs.

I spent almost 3 months working on these applications and it was exhausting to say the least. And I scored a zilch.

Not one interview call!

I was deflated and had no more energy to put in another application for some time.

In late 2019, I took a 4-month sabbatical from my job due to personal reasons. This break helped me clear my mind and put things in perspective.

In hindsight, I had not done a very good job in selecting the programs considering my background and work experience.

I was clearly way above the average class age and experience for these programs (barring IMD).

Also, in pursuit of only 1-year programs, I had not done a very good job in explaining the “why this program” in my applications.

I strongly advice that one must spend enough time in selecting programs suitable for their specific situation.

2020 is when I finally gathered energy and gave my last shot at an MBA. I was serious. This was my last shot and I needed someone who understood where I was and could help me put my best foot forward.

I couldn’t afford any “what ifs” this time around and wanted to go for the best. I had spent a lot of time in last 2 years researching various programs and exploring MBA related articles.

One of the most helpful resources for me was the excellent MBA Crystal Ball (MCB) blogs and their tons of informative articles.

Impressed, I casually wrote to Manish Gupta of MCB regarding my situation and within a couple of email exchanges had finalized Stanford MSx and MIT Sloan Fellow programs as my targets.

I wanted to look no further as that small conversation gave me the confidence that I was in safe hands. I signed up for the 2-school package and Shantanu Joshi was assigned as my guide.

Shantanu was fantastic. Basically, he knew exactly what would work in the application and what wouldn’t. What to keep and what to reject.

He forced me to reflect deeply and discover patterns in my life and career which formed a consistent narrative.

There are stories in everyone’s life but sometimes it takes an external nudge to pause and reflect deeply on certain occurrences to figure out one’s deepest inclinations and aspirations. And Shantanu provided the perfect nudges.

Most importantly, he took ownership of the entire process and never compromised on the quality of the content, despite multiple revisions and my exhaustion.

Once I was shortlisted for the Stanford MSx interview, I also enrolled for interview prep with Shantanu. The kind of work he put me through for the preparation – I don’t think I would have done that by myself.

I need to mention one very important instance which could have severely impacted my case.

A day before my MSx interview, a Covid-19 tragedy (fatality) happened in my home. I was devastated and had lost all motivation to do anything. I just wanted to do away with the process or somehow go through with it.

Shantanu put his foot down and forced me to get the interview postponed for at least a week. He knew I was not in the right frame of mind and almost forced his will on me.

I think that was the difference between my selection and rejection.

He took ownership of the process. And I am forever grateful.

I was interviewed by the Director – Admissions at Stanford. The interview lasted almost 45 min.

Apart from the usual questions around why Stanford and my major achievements, the theme of the interview was focussed around ensuring my “fit” for the program. With no international work experience, they wanted to check whether I could thrive in a multicultural environment.

Secondly, they also ensured I was comfortable with the absence of any formal recruitment process for the MSx program and the possibility of working outside the US post the program. The interview went well and I was pretty confident of the results.

The final results were announced in a week.

I still remember the call that I got from the director himself.

I was trembling with joy!

The news brought a lot of happiness in an otherwise sombre environment at home. Two years of hard work had finally paid off.

Once I got an MSx admit, I never applied to MIT. Talking to various alumni at both schools, I was convinced that if I wanted to explore career options / pivots during the year, Stanford was a better fit than MIT.

MIT followed a relatively more rigid curriculum and would have been a better fit for career advancement.

The Stanford MSx experience has been very rewarding. Entrepreneurial spirit runs through the ecosystem and the only complain I have is that the program is too short. Time flies.

But one year of immersive experience with an extremely accomplished cohort and an inspiring ecosystem can change your mindset about what’s possible if one strives in life. And that is my biggest takeaway from the program.

The MSx experience was transformative. And to be honest painful at times. Because change is difficult, and at times, overwhelming.

In a class comprising of successful CEOs, CFOs founders, Entrepreneurs, VCs and talented professionals from across the globe, it was difficult to not be overwhelmed initially.

And add to that the greater GSB ecosystem, MBAs, faculty members and the alumni network.

But this environment was exactly why I chose the GSB. It forces you to grow beyond your inhibitions and mental constraints.

The flurry of group activities, networking events and class get togethers can help you break out of your shell and realize your true potential.

I’ll always cherish the fun group and class trips and friendships I made over the course of one year, and the connections I made for life.

I treated the MSx year as a year of exploration for myself. I always had the option of returning back to my previous employer.

But having gone through the GSB experience, I have decided to work on my own idea for some time. And the startup will be in the area of my original passion: education and academics.

While working on my startup in the education and mentoring space, I feel the MSx program has equipped me with all the knowledge, connections and confidence to pursue the same successfully.

In closing, I would like to advice the applicants that the entire process from GMAT to application and interviews is quite demanding. So be ready to give it everything once you decide to take the plunge.

Secondly, do not lose heart in the face of rejections.

Patience and tenacity are bound to bear fruits ultimately. And the experience is very rewarding in the end. Thirdly, do not underestimate your life experiences.

A keen self-reflection will bring out nuances in your life stories and career decisions which you never focussed on and which will make your application well rounded.

Lastly, seek help wherever you can. People are more helpful than you think.

Drop us an email if you’ve been looking for the Stanford Executive MBA program and think that the MSx is a good alternative for your career goals.

Our top executive MBA admission consultants can help you with the application process.

Also read these Stanford MSx blogs:

Stanford MSx admission: GMAT story, essay tips for one-year MBA at Stanford GSB
Is the Stanford Executive MBA alternative worth it?

Mini-MBA | Start here | Success stories | Reality check | Knowledgebase | Scholarships | Services

Serious about higher ed? Follow us:


Manish Gupta
About Manish Gupta
Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, ex-McKinsey, IIT & ISB topper. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Read more about this top MBA admissions consultant. Connect with MG on Linkedin, Facebook or Email: mcb [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

Leave a Comment