Stanford GSB is Letting Undergrads Take Business Courses
Stanford University has launched a new program that allows undergraduates to take courses at its Graduate School of Business.
The pilot program, called Pathfinder, gives juniors, seniors, and coterminal master’s students the opportunity to take GSB courses designed and taught specifically for undergraduates. The aim of Pathfinder is to give undergrads exposure to practical thinking about organizations, markets, decision-making, and leadership principles.
“At the GSB, we strongly believe in the broad liberal education that Stanford provides its undergraduates,” Jesper B. Sørensen, senior associate dean for academic affairs and Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford GSB, 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.”
The Pathfinder curriculum offers a broad range of courses in finance, entrepreneurship, accounting, social impact, and economics. The 2023-24 academic year features seven total courses. Class sizes range from 48 to 72 students, with most classes capped at 60.
Pathfinder has proven to be very popular with Stanford undergrads. The three courses offered this fall were oversubscribed within just 24 hours.
Peyton Klein, a junior and a human biology major enrolled in the Pathfinder program, is taking From Founder to CEO: The Strategic Management of Start-Ups and Established Firms taught by taught by Garth Saloner, Botha-Chan Professor of Economics, this fall. Klein says the course “offers the unique opportunity to step outside the typical undergrad experience to learn firsthand from one of the GSB’s top faculty.”
“As a student fascinated by business strategy, I am excited to dig into case studies and engage with leaders across industries to gain a better understanding of strategic leadership as it applies to their ventures and my own,” Klein says.
Part of the appeal of Pathfinder is the real-world applications of knowledge that students learn in GSB courses—typically designed to give MBAs industry experience and knowledge.
Lynn Jurich, a Stanford MBA alum and now a Stanford GSB lecturer, says the real-world applications of GSB courses helped open new opportunities for her career. Jurich is now co-founder and co-executive chair of Sunrun Inc.
“It enabled me when I left undergrad to get a job in venture capital and private equity,” Jurich, who is also co-chair of an alumni committee advising the GSB on Pathfinder, says. “I don’t think I would have had the skills to do that had I not been exposed to the business school curriculum.”
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