At Stanford, Business & Education Go Hand-In-Hand

 At Stanford, Business & Education Go Hand-In-Hand

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Historically, business schools have focused on generating revenue. At Stanford, a unique program challenges that idea. The Joint MA/MBA in Education and Business Administration is a collaboration between Stanford’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) and the Graduate School of Business (GSB) —and it’s an ‘unlikely’ collaboration that requires two very different things. fields to join forces and develop.

Michael Kirst, a professor emeritus at GSE and former professor (in good faith) at Stanford GSB, oversaw the launch of the program in 1969. He continued to manage it for more than 30 years. In an interview with Stanford GSE News, he tracked the progress of the program.

“The story of this program is really one of continuity and change,” Kirst said. “It takes a lot of will on the part of both schools to make this happen in the first place-and to make changes as the field morphed, and as students’ interests grew. And it grew. it still is. ”


The combined program allows students to graduate with an MA and MBA in just two years. Students take a full load of GSB and GSE courses, in addition to a summer internship or independent study.

On top of that, business schools have very different costs than education schools. Business students are taught to maximize profit and shareholder value, while education students are taught to focus on social responsibility and civic leadership.

“There’s usually not much connectivity and interaction between education and business schools,” Kirst said. “Ed’s schools have always had doubts about the business and the motives for finding it, and business schools have doubts about the quality of education schools. There is no traditional close relationship between the two. , and often that is still the case.

When the joint program began, Stanford GSB had an ambitious vision. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, former GSB dean Arjay Miller wanted to refocus B-school education to focus both on social responsibility and corporate interests. That solution? Launch a public management program at GSB. A strong partnership with the school of education “fits where they are [GSB] go, ”Kirst said. “And building a program with the business school really expands what we have given ourselves.”

When the joint degree program was officially launched, it was initially created as a master’s in educational administrations (MEA) before it was converted into a joint MA/MBA program. The switch is an important switch that has helped make graduates more attractive to potential education employers — from charter schools to education start-ups.

“Kon [employers] get someone with an MBA and an MA in education, which is gold, ”Kirst said.

With all the differences between business and education, it seems Stanford has finally managed to find some common ground.

“The worlds of business and education are different but interconnected, and living in two allows me to see that there are solutions that are not unique to any sector,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, a 1995 graduate of the program and now CEO of Futuro Health, says. “If you’re going to work to transform education, you have to connect these two worlds.”

This is the kind of connecting the two worlds that is less common in many schools. In fact, according to GSE Professor Emerita Deborah Stipek, this is exactly what makes Stanford, Stanford.

“One thing I’ve always experienced at Stanford is the culture of collaboration across different schools and departments,” said Stipek, who also served as dean of GSE from 2001 to 2014. “I think that’s one of the reasons why that Stanford can do it, which not many other universities can – even if they try, and most don’t. ”

Sources: Stanford Graduate School of Education, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Next Page: How to spend your first year of business school.

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