Top 5 MBA Entrepreneur Programs

A manifestation of the entrepreneurial spirit.Entrepreneurship, as every potential MBA student should know, is the willingness to organize, manage and assume the risk for a venture or enterprise. Entrepreneurship has been and continues to be the driving engine of capitalism, providing creative solutions to meet the demands of today’s global economy. The entrepreneurial spirit is not strictly limited to personal profit, as we will see many of the best universities have set up entrepreneurial enterprises that are dedicated to improving the economic conditions of third world countries and low-income cities. Though there are no surprises in this week’s Top 5, even if you don’t intend on attending one of these schools they provide excellent models for what, as a potential MBA student, you should be looking for in the schools you do apply to.

1)      Babson College (Olin) tops the list as the number one graduate program in the country for entrepreneurship. The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship is a 6,000 square foot haven for everything entrepreneurial, providing a home for the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project, and the Venture Accelerator Program. The John E. and Alice L. Butler Venture Accelerator gives selected student businesses access to professional and semiprivate workspace to grow and manage their businesses between classes. Similarly, Babson is an academic sponsor of MassChallenge, a global business competition that encourages entrepreneurs by providing finalists with mentorship and training, office space, and a chance to win a share of $1 million. Babson offers both a One-Year and a Two-Year MBA Program, the first for students already possessing a strong business foundation and the second designed for students who are planning a career reorientation. The tuition cost per program is approximately $94,000.

2)      Stanford University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES) is a resource much like the Babson’s Blank Center for Entrepreneurship. The CES offers students a place to implement the ideas they are learning in class, access to enthusiastic and like-minded peers with which to discuss and refine those ideas, and entry to one of the best academic and entrepreneurial communities in the world.  In addition to providing space, informative workshops, and programs like the Entrepreneurial Summer Program (ESP), the Stanford Graduate School of Business encourages the entrepreneurial spirit by assisting students in raising capital, learning how to access general funding, and by promoting a “distinctive approach to teaching entrepreneurship and management to change agents throughout the world.”  Their SEED Programs, which fall under the larger umbrella of the University’s Global Innovation Programs, are among the world’s most comprehensive and sophisticated approaches to engendering social change through business. Stanford only offers a two-year full-time, residential program and the cost of attending is $55,200 a year. For more information on their admission process and requirements, click here!

3)      Harvard University, though only third on this list, boasts the extraordinarily high rate of approximately 50% of its Business School graduates going on to be entrepreneurs within 15 years of graduation. This is an astonishingly high number, but it’s not all that surprising; in addition to accepting only the brightest and most ambitious students, Harvard assists its entrepreneurs nearly step of the way; from creating an idea to navigating legal issues, securing funds, and outlining a solvent business plan, Harvard University offers resources to help its entrepreneurs achieve their goals in almost every possible way. The full-time price of tuition per year is $51,200.

4)      Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) stands out as the first school in our list of top 5 to have a specific program, as opposed to helpful resources, for entrepreneurial-minded business students. MIT offers the Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) Track as a program within their MBA that focuses on launching and developing emerging technology companies. The E&I Track emphasizes teamwork and collaborative practices, going so far as to declare the benefits of the E&I Track to include “a lifetime cohort of collaborative entrepreneurial peers.” In addition to a world class education, the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at MIT are among the most successful and varied professional entrepreneurs in the country. The entrepreneurs that have come from MIT have actually had such an impact on the national and global economy that the University released the “Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT” report by Professor Edward Roberts, which “estimates that at the end of 2006, there were 25,600 active companies founded by living MIT alumni, employing 3.3 million people and generating annual world revenues of nearly $2 trillion. This group of companies, if its own nation, would be the 11th-largest economy in the world.” Impressed? You should be. The cost of full-time tuition per year is $52,628.

5)      University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business was the first business school in the country and remains a perennial powerhouse when it comes to business school rankings. Though Wharton doesn’t offer an entrepreneur-specific MBA program like MIT, it more than makes up for it with a slew of competitions, ventures, clubs and organizations, and other entrepreneurial-career related opportunities. The Wharton Business Plan Competition, for example, is not just a competition, but in effect it is a comprehensive platform by which participants may enhance their understanding of how to start and develop a business. The Wharton Small Business Development Center is another example of how Wharton reaches out to assist business ventures.  Full-time tuition per year is approximately $54,000.

Though these are not by any means the only business schools in the country, for entrepreneurs they are certainly the best. Even if you are not interested in attending these particular schools, the features they share can be used to create a model for the type of school you should be considering. The most important feature that each of the above school possesses is the ability to give their students access to resources, like other entrepreneurial-minded students, experienced residents, workshops, instructional competitions, and alumni connections. Most successful businessmen learn to spot valuable resources when they see them; your first lesson as a potential entrepreneur is that your school is a valuable resource! Not simply for the instruction and theory of a classroom, but for all the additional resources outside of the classroom.

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