By Robert Toews
Stanford’s Graduate School of Business ranked first among business schools nationwide in post-graduation satisfaction among alumni, according to a recent survey by Forbes. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the University of Chicago’s Booth School rounded out the top three.
Of the MBA class of 2004, 17,000 graduates from 103 of the premier business schools in the country took part in the survey, which asked participants about satisfaction with their current jobs, their MBA education and how well their business school prepared them for the job market.
Five of the schools ranked in the Forbes satisfaction survey also show up in the overall top ten of the Forbes best business schools ranking.
Stanford was also the top-ranked business school program in the category of returns on graduates’ investments. Students had a median salary of $82,000 before entering the GSB and a median salary five years after graduation of $225,000, highest among all U.S. business schools.
Two GSB alumni who remain associated with the school attributed the ranking to what they saw as several unique aspects of the school’s character.
“[Stanford’s] GSB’s size and culture are unique competitive advantages that meaningfully contribute to alumni satisfaction,” said Pulin Sanghvi, who graduated from the GSB in 1997 and now serves as its director of career management.
“The school creates a tight-knit community with strong ties between students, faculty and alumni,” he said, adding that the small student body size<\p>roughly half that of other top schools<\p>–<\p>allowed students to interact closely with faculty and “get to know all their classmates by graduation.”
Jennifer Aaker, who teaches marketing at the GSB and graduated from the school in 1995, said the experience at the school benefited from the mentality of its student body.
“Stanford brings together a group of people that are in general more idealistic and more effect-driven,” Aaker said.
Current students seemed equally satisfied with the GSB experience.
“The atmosphere is great,” said Nadya Malenko, who is currently a Ph.D. student in finance at Stanford and frequently takes classes at the GSB. “The faculty members are very responsive to students and are always willing to help, and it is a pleasure to attend their seminars.”
The school’s diversity, Sanghvi said, was also a strength, with a third of the student body composed of international students, representing more than 50 countries.
“My own class included managers, consultants and entrepreneurs, but it also included an Olympic swimmer and a shrimp farmer from Ecuador,” Sanghvi said.
“Students spend two years at the GSB believing that anything is possible in their careers,” Sanghvi added.