The 16 Business Schools With The Most Billion-Dollar Startup Founders

University is a good place to launch a "unicorn" company

If you aspire to found a billion-dollar startup—so rare investors call them “unicorns”—business school is good bet.

Nearly 40 students from top business schools including Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and INSEAD of Europe went on to found private companies worth in excess of $1 billion, according to research from enterprise software company Sage. 

With 23 unicorn founders, Harvard is ahead of every other business school. Graduates of the Ivy League institution are behind successes such as Blue Apron, the meal delivery business, Oscar, a health insurance startup, and cyber security company CloudFlare. 

Stanford students founded 19 of the mythical businesses, including SoFi, a fintech venture that raised $500 million this week, with Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania in third with nine unicorn startups. 

The research comes as business schools, known for producing spreadsheet-heavy MBA graduates, boost their number of courses and support for entrepreneurs. Business schools have long faced criticism that they are out of touch with the startup community, with tuition fees of over $200,000 at top schools putting many entrepreneurs off obtaining graduate business degrees. 

Sam Hodges, a Stanford alum and the co-founder of fintech business Funding Circle USA, says: “If there’s anything I got from Stanford, it’s the little voice in my head that is reminding me to live up to being the better leader that I aspire to be.”

“The Stanford ecosystem in Silicon Valley, the seat of innovation, has been helpful. We share knowledge and learn from each other, and a number of our seed investors were Stanford alums,” he says. 

Below are the top business schools, ranked by number of unicorn founders. 

1. Harvard Business School


Unicorn Count: 23

2. Stanford Graduate School of Business


Unicorn Count: 19

3. Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania 


Unicorn Count: 9



Unicorn Count: 5

5. WHU: Otto Beisheim School of Management 


Unicorn Count: 5

6. USC: Marshall School of Business


Unicorn Count: 3

7. University of California, Berkeley: Haas


Unicorn Count: 3

8. Columbia Business School


Unicorn Count: 3

9. HEC Paris


Unicorn Count: 3

10. IIM: Calcutta


Unicorn Count: 3

11. UCLA Anderson School of Management


Unicorn Count: 2

12. Brigham Young University: Marriott


Unicorn Count: 2

13. George Washington University


Unicorn Count: 2

14. London Business School


Unicorn Count: 2

15. Northwestern University: Kellogg


Unicorn Count: 2

16. Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: College of Business


Unicorn Count: 2


Leave a comment.

Maximum 1000 characters 

Unlock the next step in your career


Register now