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Stanford is overhauling its curriculum and its approach to teaching business.  Here is why that matters.

By Ben Feuer

Those of you currently writing "Why Stanford" essays, take note of a new article published over at Poets and Quants.  The entire 4-page article is an intriguing read, but I think we both know that is not going to happen.  So in the interest of saving you time and effort, your good friends at Forster-Thomas have combed through the article to determine what the most important takeaways are in terms of your application strategy.

No more "cod liver oil" and "chocolate cake".  For those of you who still think of the first year as a grind through basics you already understand, and the second year as a chance to spread your wings, Stanford is trying to change all of that -- so you better be on-board.  Stanford now offers advanced options right off the bat–seven core courses taught at three different levels, basic, accelerated, and advanced, and three more courses offered at two levels of difficulty.

Advising is a work in progress.  Stanford has been experimenting for several years with different approaches to mentorship, recently shifting from formal advising relationships with faculty to staff advisors who can consult with students about what classes are best to take.  You should bear this in mind when discussing how you plan to get feedback on your curricular choices.

Video dominates classrooms.  An interesting tidbit for those trying to figure out how Stanford stands out from its peers -- they now employ video in a large number of their lectures and make the actual class time more about discussion and leadership development, also increasing interactivity.

Global is good.   "Our applicant pool is very global, with incoming classes of over 40% international. China, India, Brazil and Mexico have become big markets for us. We want to have a global pool of students coming in."

Entrepreneurship?  Kinda.  Last year, nearly one in five graduates–a record 18%–launched their own firms.  But Stanford wants to be seen as a strong general management program.  The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, huh?

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