Top 10 MBA Programs for Working at a Startup

Startups were once skeptical of MBAs, but in recent years have embraced them in larger numbers. In 2019, 62 percent of startups planned to hire MBAs, up from 45 percent in 2018, according to the Graduate management Admission Council’s freshest MBA employment poll. 

There are numerous perks to working for a startup instead of a blue-chip business. MBAs often have access to founders, more responsibility and potentially more opportunity for rapid career progression, for starters. 

But it’s not easy to bypass the skepticism, with some prominent tech company founders still defaming the MBA degree because they say it promotes risk-aversion and rigid thinking. 

Startups tend to recruit MBAs more informally than big firms, so students will need to readily seek out opportunities and be entrepreneurial to get hired. Many business schools are helping students to do this, and we’ve listed the top 10 below. 

Cambridge, Massachusetts 54 Followers 175 Discussions
MIT - Sloan

MBA candidates at the MIT Sloan School of Management can receive a $5,000 stipend through the MIT Sloan Social Impact Fellowship to help them cover their living expenses while working for a startup, which tend to pay lower salaries than other organizations like consulting firms or financial services outlets.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 68 Followers 173 Discussions
UPenn - Wharton

At the prestigious Wharton School there are Startup Internship Awards, worth between $500 and $2,500 generally, that help students to work for smaller rather than larger companies. The students write reports about their experience, so as to inspire other MBA students to take a risk and pursue a similar path. 

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Berkeley, California 101 Followers 116 Discussions
UC Berkeley - Haas

At Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, the Career Management Group works with the Entrepreneurship Program to help MBA students land jobs at startups. For MBAs who want to work in startups, there’s even a dedicated career who has worked at various startups, accelerators and in the venture capital industry.

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Charlottesville, Virginia 27 Followers 63 Discussions

MBA students at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business can enroll in the Batten Technology Venture Fellows program. Through this scheme, students intern at a startup that is part of a venture capital firm’s portfolio. The program has run for three years, with the students this year working for startups in New York City, Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas. 

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Chicago, Illinois 42 Followers 150 Discussions
Chicago - Booth

Incoming MBA students at University of Chicago Booth School of Business can spend the summer before they begin the course working for a Booth-led startup. They also get a stipend for expenses incurred during the internship that lasts seven weeks. MBA students generally work at startups based in the US, but there are overseas options available. 

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Lausanne, Switzerland 46 Followers 156 Discussions

IMD Business School in Switzerland runs a startup competition where up to 30 different startups work with IMD’s MBA students on their strategy and business models. The program lasts for about 500-600 working hours and the ultimate goal is to help the startups pitch to venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. 

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London, United Kingdom 107 Followers 348 Discussions

In London, Imperial College Business School runs a program called ‘MBA Connect,’ in which full-time MBA candidates mentor startups from Imperial College, a world leading technology and science university. This bridges business school students with startups and may lead to internships or formal job opportunities. 

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New York City, New York 178 Followers 249 Discussions
NYU - Stern

At NYU Stern School of Business MBA students can join the NYU Startup Online Hub where they can discover and share startup job opportunities with the student body and alumni network. They can also highlight their skills and interests via an individual profile. On the platform students can also ask for help and share advice on working at a startup. 

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Fontainebleau, France 74 Followers 309 Discussions
INSEAD - Europe Campus

Approximately half of INSEAD’s graduates run their own companies at some point in their careers, but others join high-growth startups or social ventures. There are more than 15 entrepreneurship electives during the highly-ranked 10 month MBA program in France and Singapore, giving students good insight into working in a startup.

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Shanghai, China 38 Followers 78 Discussions
CEIBS - Shanghai

CEIBS in Shanghai works hard to make sure MBA students are prepared for an entrepreneurial venture. More than 100 students each year join the student-led entrepreneurship club, where they can swap tips and startup job opportunities. There’s also a $100m fund that invests in early and growth stage businesses managed by CEIBS alumni. 

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