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Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business campus

Stanford’s Business Pathfinder Program Proves Popular

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business is offering undergrad students the opportunity to complete graduate business classes.

The school’s Pathfinder program teaches undergrad students how to launch a career in business, including learning about organizations, markets, decision-making, and leadership principles. Stanford, which doesn’t offer an undergraduate major or minor in business, says making students career-ready is always a top priority.

“One of the places where the GSB has always been very successful is in translating ideas into impact,” Jesper Sørensen, senior associate dean for the school of business and head of the Pathfinder program, says. “The idea here is: Is there a way we can be a complement to the kinds of majors and education that Stanford undergraduates are getting that helps them think about how they’re going to take what they know and use it in the real world?”


The Pathfinder program is available to junior- and senior-level undergraduate students, as well as those pursuing co-terminal master’s degrees. Qualifying students can enroll without any formal application or specific participation requirements.

Pathfinder’s courses are designed specifically for undergrad students and feature topics across finance, accounting, entrepreneurship, social impact, and economics.

During the 2023-24 academic year, GSB professors are set to provide seven Pathfinder courses, with two offered in the fall, two in the winter, and three in the spring, all of them carrying three credits each. Sørensen notes that class sizes, ranging from 48 to 72 students, are in line with the typical enrollment for introductory graduate business courses.


Pathfinder has proven popular amongst students. Since its launch, all three fall courses have already been oversubscribed within a day. The new Pathfinder courses have been well-received by undergraduate faculty members as well. Given the generally high demand for business-related courses, faculty members say Pathfinder increases access without straining already-full course sections.

Stanford officials expect that Pathfinder will only grow in the future. There are already plans to increase co-curricular opportunities within the program, including alumni panels.

“At the GSB, we strongly believe in the broad liberal education that Stanford provides its undergraduates,” Sørensen says. “With Pathfinder, we aim to build on its strengths and reimagine how a business school can engage with the undergraduates who will go on to change the world.”

Sources: Inside Higher Ed, Stanford Graduate School of Business

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