Entrepreneurship is the single-most sought after business subject across the world for ambitious and innovative students. Those who want to learn more about starting a business from the ground up can learn at these top institutions that are renowned for the subject across the world for a speedy start-up! Some lucky student may also apply for incubation and funding for their start-ups while studying.
1. Babson College, Wellesley, USA – www.babson.edu
Babson College is well known across the world for its entrepreneurship programmes across the world and regularly tops the lists of all major university-ranking publications for entrepreneurship, such as the US News & World Report, the Princeton Review and the Financial Times. Set in charming New England, just 14 miles outside of Boston (so city life is not too far off), Babson is known for its student-run clubs and peer support. The entrepreneurship curriculum includes an intensive focus on technology management and supporting roles such as private equity or venture capital. Raghu Tadepalli, Dean of the Graduate School, recently highlighted the institute’s standard for excellence while saying, “[Babson College is] producing the world’s best entrepreneurial leaders – and, with our new strategy, we will continue to advance our global reputation for outstanding graduate education.”
Naveen Venkataraman, an MBA student from India, highlighted the importance of global networking and peer support at Babson: “Plenty of students come from business families, some have started their own independent businesses and there are students who come in from the industry as well. Babson has a strong international class (41 percent this year) and students here are building an understanding of business opportunities and challenges (business structure, regulatory, funding and labour) from around the world. Whether you want to share your next big idea or seek sources of funding or you feel down due to a failed deal, your classmates are of such nature and backgrounds that they constantly coax you to stay positive and guide you to seek the next step. Unlike many other schools, wanting to work for a start-up or starting a business isn’t considered crazy. It is actively encouraged and helped.”
2. Stanford University, USA – www.gsb.stanford.edu
The Graduate School of Business (GSB) has seen a spike of interest in entrepreneurship courses over the past ten years, and almost each and every student takes at least one course in the subject. The school’s proximity to Silicon Valley, home of a thriving venture capital industry, is an added boon. Courses focus on the case-study method with guest lecturers such as funders, managers, innovators and advisors who provide real-life scenarios of challenges facing start-ups to students.
With courses such as Technology Entrepreneurship, Facebook in 2011, Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities and Design for Extreme Affordability, GSB maintains its reputation as one of the premier business education institutes in the world.
Tanisha Drummer, an MBA graduate in 2007, said about her experience at Stanford that it was the greatest growth experience possible for her. She said about her experience, “I love the small, inclusive, collaborative culture. I liked the emphasis on social innovation and entrepreneurship. And the School’s culture and values were directly aligned with my personal values and career goals. I participated in a variety of professional and social clubs, including the Black Business Students Association, Marketing Club, Admit Weekend Committee, Admissions Ambassador, Women in Management, Wine Circle and I took a leadership role as President of the Black Business Students Association. I’ve learned that personal development is constant and necessary to becoming a better leader and manager.” She went on to say, “This is a play hard, work harder school. People are focussed, but love to have fun.” With San Francisco a hop, skip and jump away, you certainly won’t be lost for choices of places to go!
3. London School of Business, UK – www.london.edu
The Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy programme is not only by the London Business School (LBS) but also by MIT and Stanford across the Atlantic. It is geared more for successful entrepreneurs and managers with in-depth experience of running a business. It gears executives and managers with about ten years of experience to go to the next level in leadership.
LBS has a summer programme for emerging entrepreneurs, through which they can learn how to launch and sustain a business. Students also get the opportunity to analyse and pitch their business ideas to investors and get their feedback. The Entrepreneurship Summer School allows students to research the feasibility of their business in their proposed market while developing their skills to sustain a successful start-up.
Cheryl Mainland, who is receiving her MBA in 2011, said, “I chose London Business School because of its location, reputation and the opportunity and flexibility to pursue my interests in fashion retail. In terms of key benefits, the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship and apply that learning to my own start-up has been invaluable. The programme has certainly given me the tools and confidence to pursue an entrepreneurial career – something I’m not sure I would have done before London Business School. Additionally, the School community has not only been extremely supportive but has also provided a much stronger network than I imagined.”
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan), USA – mitsloan.mit.edu
MIT has one of the world’s leading business schools with renowned faculty. MIT Sloan graduates have gone on to launch more than 650 companies. Nearly half the School’s alumni are senior executives, while 20 per cent are presidents and CEOs. The college offers a range of courses for budding entrepreneurs, from the short six-week Strategy and Innovation certificate course through executive education and programmes in Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship to the MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership.
Every summer, the MIT Entrepreneurship Centre provides current students and recent alumni with the opportunity to extend their learning by working on their own start-up companies through Summer Startup Central. Moreover, students may compete for the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition which is awarded to outstanding teams of student entrepreneurs who submit business plans for new ventures showing significant business potential.
Seph Skerritt, a successful entrepreneur, joined MIT Sloan in 2006 as part of the first MBA Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) cohort. In 2008, he launched his one-man start-up, Proper Cloth, which helps men design custom-fit dress shirts online. He wrote at least six business plans while in school, usually with an E&I colleague. The program, he said, provided a ‘support group’ that helped confront the challenges and uncertainties of start-up life. “That’s how you decide if it’s really something you want to do, or if it’s something you’re going to pull off, if you’re going to find the funding for it or if you like the space,” he said.
5. INSEAD, France – www.insead.edu
INSEAD offers a truly global focus for entrepreneurs through its MBA programme, which offers 19 electives in entrepreneurship, as well as through student clubs and events. For those looking for a more intensive entrepreneurial experience a support system of events called The Entrepreneurship Accelerator is designed to promote entrepreneurship among INSEAD MBAs. The Accelerator offers bootcamps, access to external projects, entrepreneurial sales training, pitch mentoring and a Global Entrepreneurship Forum (GEF) bringing alumni and MBAs together for a day of events.
Events such as the Business Venture Competition and the INSEAD Private Equity Conference are all supporting mechanisms for budding entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the college also has an ‘Entrepreneur-in-Residence’ programme, where high-impact entrepreneurs and investors mentor students with practical support and provide real-life experience of challenges faced by start-ups. Kristina Vetter, an entrepreneur and student at INSEAD, said about the programme, “In a globally interconnected world, INSEAD provides amazing international career opportunities as well as a real edge in understanding and formulating global business strategies. INSEAD’s programme is designed to teach management skills with an international perspective. The incredibly diverse student body reinforces those learnings on a daily basis.” She went on to mention the generous scholarships available for students, “While I believe that the INSEAD tuition is an excellent investment in my future, the scholarship I received significantly cushioned the financial burden. This is an important consideration for students who plan to embark on an entrepreneurial career after INSEAD. Entrepreneurship will most likely be a lower-paying career track at first than a corporate career, so it is important that student loan obligations are not too stringent; INSEAD’s generous scholarships help free up funds that allow students to pursue their ambitions and start out on their own.”
6. Harvard Business School, USA – www.hbs.edu
Approximately half of Harvard Business School (HBS) graduates report starting a company at some point during their careers. The graduate curricula represents this; The Entrepreneurial Manager is a required first-year course for HBS MBAs, while second-year students can take up electives in entrepreneurship, do independent research and build their own business plan. The Arthur Rock Centre for Entrepreneurship was founded in 2003 to infuse the School’s leadership perspective with an entrepreneurial point of view. Their student resource centre offers research material, legal advice and mentoring for start-ups. Furthermore, Entrepreneurs-in-Residence provide counselling and give informal lectures to students.
Kimball Thomas, an MBA graduate in 2011 and copresident of the Entrepreneurship Club, says “HBS provides a confrontation with issues, a challenge to your way of thinking, whatever your background. In Leadership and Corporate Accountability (LCA), we deal with tough issues about race and sexual orientation and hear from people from all over the world. In Strategy, we’re always pushed. How do we make our businesses more profitable? But also, how do we make them more fulfilling, for us and for our employees?” Well-deserved praise indeed!
7. University of Pennsylvania -Wharton, USA – www.wharton.upenn.edu
Wharton is considered by many to be the best business school in the world. It was the first school to develop a fully integrated curriculum of entrepreneurial studies. Wharton is also home to an influential centre of entrepreneurship, the Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs (WEP), which has its own newsletter – Get It Started. Furthermore, the Wharton Business Plan Competition is open to all University of Pennsylvania students who want to start their own business. All participants can benefit from business plan workshops, judge feedback and one-on-one mentoring.
Poornima Vardham, an entrepreneur from New Delhi, went to Wharton to build her leadership skills to move to the next tier. She says, “The Wharton community has some of the finest brains from across the world. Just hearing all the different perspectives in class has made me a more globally attuned person. Through Wharton, I’ve become involved in a project that promotes education in North Africa. I’m helping them with corporate strategy so they can expand into different countries and broaden their education base.”
Volume 1 Issue 4