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Business School MBA class most competitive so far

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to get into Stanford's Graduate School of Business ­ but it helps. The 362 students who entered Stanford's MBA Class of 1999 were selected from a record 6,559 applicants, up 3 percent from last year. Only 7 percent of those who applied were offered admission.

The new students range in age from 23 to 35; their average age is 26.5. Thirty percent are women and 24 percent are members of racial minorities. Most are from the United States, but 30 percent come from 34 other countries, including Mexico (14 students), the United Kingdom (13) and Japan (12).

Of 117 different undergraduate institutions, Stanford contributed the most students (37), followed by Harvard with 27, the University of Pennsylvania with 24, Princeton with 20 and both Berkeley and Yale with 18. Among the 46 students who already hold graduate degrees, there are two Ph.D.s, two J.D.s, and three M.D.s. Not surprisingly, scores on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) were high. There was one perfect 800, eight 790s and six 780s.

Grades are obviously important, but not all-important. Since the Business School does not interview applicants, recommendations and previous work experience take on added weight. This year's new students averaged four years of work by the time they applied. Most of them took traditional paths to business school, such as management consulting (27 percent) and investment banking (19 percent). But others followed different routes. There are teachers and musicians among them. There are producers, directors and actors ­ including a regular on a Mexican soap opera. There are professional pilots. And, yes, there is a rocket scientist in Stanford's MBA Class of 1999.


By Janet Zich

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