While the number of startups founded by MBAs from elite business schools was down in 2017, there is a growing trend that suggests entrepreneurial skills are becoming an integral part of the standard curriculum, regardless of whether students end up starting their own businesses after graduation.
As businesses across the board navigate tumultuous policy shifts and an increasingly tech-orientated business landscape, there is a demand for MBA graduates to be well-equipped to meet the unique challenges of the day as soon as they are employed.
BusinessBecause looked into 10 US-based MBA programs with generous resources that cater to budding entrepreneurs. While some of the programs reviewed are iconic MBA institutions, we also looked beyond the usual suspects to highlight programs that might normally fly under the typical 'Top 10' radars.
Here's 10 of the best US MBA programs for entrepreneurship:
1. Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, New York
In addition to a remarkable return on investment for in-state students, the Zicklin MBA has a strong reputation within the New York-area financial investment sector.
The Zicklin curriculum consists of core modules aimed at building functional business skills, interdisciplinary electives with student-designed concentrations and specializations, and a Business Consulting Practicum where students pitch a business plan to a New York City business.
Between 2012 and 2017, Zicklin students and alumni started over 380 companies and accrued $49 million in funding.
2. Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
Known for its low student-to-teacher ratio and rural setting, Tuck is committed to fostering entrepreneurship.
Initiatives tailored for entrepreneurs at Tuck include the Entrepreneurial Network Access Program; Maynard Entrepreneurial Internship Program; the Summer Startup Award which funds internship opportunities; and the Entrepreneurship Initiative which offers fellowships, tests startup ideas, and provides mentorship schemes.
The school emphasizes a personalized approach to business innovation, and focuses on individual stories to communicate MBAs' entrepreneurial success.
3. Stanford Graduate School of Business, California
In recent years, a significant number of Stanford graduates have built startups—more than three-quarters of these MBAs earned most or all of their income from their own business in 2017.
The school’s curriculum combines theories of entrepreneurship, project-based learning, and cross-discipline co-working spaces to cultivate a close-knit community of students, faculty and alumni.
The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies supports research, development of relevant coursework, and the Venture Studio and Startup Garage.
4. SC Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell Unviersity, New York
Johnson’s curriculum consists of prerequisite courses covering the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and topical courses to build specialized knowledge. The eLab, Cornell University's business accelerator, supports students in their entrepreneurial goals.
Some notable alumni include venture capitalist Mary Meeker, Kraft Foods CEO Irene Rosenfeld, and Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini.
5. Olin Business School at Washington University, Missouri
Olin Business School's coursework highlights experiential learning, including concentrations and intensity tracks.
The Financial Times reported that, in 2013, over half of Olin's alumni began startups within five years of graduating. Of those ventures,10% were founded by women, nearly half served as the founders' main source of income, and 80% remained operating by 2017.
6. Kogod School of Business, at American University, Washington DC
American University's Kogod School of Business offers a graduate specialization and a graduate certificate in entrepreneurship, both of which are 'designed for students who seek to start or grow a new business or social venture, expand an existing venture, or take over a family business'.
Kogod's Entrepreneurship Incubator supports students and alumni building for profit and nonprofit ventures. Notable alumni include Goldman Sachs President and COO Gary Cohn, and current Merck Chairman/former CEO Richard T Clark.
7. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, Texas
In addition to entrepreneurial-orientated classes, lecture series, workshops, and competitions, Jones offers E-labs facilitating student efforts, launching ventures, and networking with Houston’s entrepreneurial community.
In 2017, Rice hosted one of the nation’s largest and highest yielding business plan competitions, awarding $1,796,850 to entrepreneurial projects by students.
8. Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, North Carolina
Fuqua is well-known and highly-regarded for its entrepreneurial focus.
The school organizes a host of student resources, including the Program for Entrepreneurs offering students credit for business startups, and the Entrepreneurship Education Series, a weekly instalment on entrepreneurship topics.
The Duke Start-Up Challenge is a business plan and elevator pitch competition with a $25,000 grand prize, while the Women in Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital initiative is aimed at creating a community of women entrepreneurs providing networking, coaching, and financing opportunities.
9. Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, Virginia
Boasting small class sizes in a bucolic southern setting, entrepreneurial preparation is woven into Darden’s curriculum.
The school offers over 35 electives in entrepreneurship and innovation, and hosts four major entrepreneurial competitions which award more than $370,000 annually.
The school also offers a Venture Capital bootcamp. Nearly half of student businesses in its incubator, i.Lab, remain active for over five years with over $13,000 awarded per student company.
10. Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, Illinois
A recent $5 million dollar gift funds an entrepreneurship program at Booth that supports full-time venture fellowships, startup internships, and competition prize money.
Booth’s New Venture Challenge is cited as being one of the primary drivers for business innovation in Chicago.
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