A Guest Post by Amanda Watson
If you’ve truly got the fire of entrepreneurship burning in your breast, you’ve probably wondered if an MBA is even worth getting. After all, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates: none of these guys went to business school. I don’t think any of them even finished college! Isn’t an MBA strictly for management types?
Well, increasingly the answer is no. There are some very exciting and innovative programs out there that aim to be incubators for new businesses. It’s practically a hybrid between education and venture capital, except all they won’t ask for a cut (though most programs will set you up with angel investment as well as real VCs who might), just tuition and of course future alumni donations so the next generation can do their thing too. Here are the top five graduate entrepreneurship programs in the U.S., according to entrepreneur.com:
1. Babson College, Babson Park, Massachusetts
This is the one that started it all, inventing the first graduate course in entrepreneurship in 1967. From the Pilgrims to Harvard to the Route 128 tech corridor, the Boston-area culture has always combined a forward-looking vision with solid, time-tested business sense (though the winters are rougher than Silicon Valley’s).
2. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Come to think of it, that historical analogy with the Pilgrims goes for the Mormons too: the people of Utah carved a remarkably functional civilization out of the desert wasteland, and did it under constant threat from both the Indians and the Feds. So it shouldn’t be surprising that BYU is number two here; that pioneer spirit lives on in entrepreneurs.
3. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
For the budget-minded (and even visionary entrepreneurs should be thrifty), the Darden School of Business at UVA has the most scholarship money on offer of any of these five schools, giving out over a million dollars a year. Also, every faculty member is a real-life entrepreneur. Thomas Jefferson would be proud.
4. University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Another early supporter of entrepreneurship education back in the 1970s was the University of Chicago; indeed, the “Chicago boys” famously took over the planning of Chile’s free markets after their CIA-sponsored coup during that same decade, and while the backstory was certainly brutal, the results have ultimately been the most economically successful country in Latin America. Make what you will of that, but definitely consider this powerhouse of business knowledge for your MBA.
5. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Michigan’s a little newer to this game, but the land of Henry Ford now appropriately has its own top-flight entrepreneurship activities. Not only did their Ross School of Business start offering a masters degree in entrepreneurship through the Samuel Zell and Robert E. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies in 1999, but in 2008 the College of Engineering opened the Center for Entrepreneurship to offer engineers a chance to incubate new companies and recharge Michigan’s industrial economy.
Best of luck, and may all your ventures thrive!
An experienced writer on all things related to higher education and business, Amanda Watson spends her days covering the latest stories on various topics such asonlinembarankings, web entrepreneurship, and social media marketing. You can contact Amanda at watsonamanda[email protected]gmail.com.