Why should an entrepreneur pursue an MBA? The consensus not too long ago was that an MBA does not encourage or harness entrepreneurship. But times have changed. Today, for future entrepreneurs, an MBA program can provide the basic fundamentals on how to start a business, from the ground up. Some business schools also offer Entrepreneurship MBA programs that tailor curriculum specifically for new business formation as well as business plan competitions, so budding entrepreneurs can learn how to dial in their ideas and pursue venture capital and angel investment funding. Other business schools also offer technology-centric MBA programs, which can help many entrepreneurs as well.
The best MBA programs for entrepreneurs are often at business schools that host specialized entrepreneurship and innovation centers, which can offer networking opportunities and even accelerators or lab space where students can build their new businesses. Increasingly, business schools are building these and other resources, which can be leveraged by entrepreneurship-minded MBA students.
Indeed, in recent years an increasing number of students have used the MBA experience to build and launch startups. Even those who do not want to start a new business can put an MBA in Entrepreneurship to work: employers are increasingly looking for entrepreneurship skills to spearhead new initiatives and streamline processes.
Below are the top 10 MBA programs for Entrepreneurship.
Over the past few years, New York City has become a global center for startups: by some estimates, billions of dollars in venture capital is dumped into the city’s startups each year. Columbia is tapping into the city’s entrepreneurial spirit with the Columbia Business Lab, which provides co-working space for student-created startups. Although Columbia doesn't offer an MBA in Entrepreneurship per se, the school's Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center offers many resources for entrepreneurs, including some specialized MBA curriculum.View School Profile
Through the school's close ties to Silicon Valley, its Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and a variety of related electives, Stanford has been laying the groundwork for successful entrepreneurs. And indeed, Stanford MBAs tend to be strongly entrepreneurial: the school reports that 18 percent of the MBA class of 2020 started their own businesses. MBA students can pursue the school's unique "Startup Garage," a project-based course which allows teams to develop, prototype, and test a business idea. Although the school does not offer an MBA focused specifically on entrepreneurship, it does offer a number of entrepreneurship electives.View School Profile
In recent years, the Hong Kong-based school has nurtured a fertile ecosystem for would-be MBA entrepreneurs. Through its Entrepreneurship Center, HKUST hosts a range of business plan competitions and networking events. The school also offers an MBA concentration in Entrepreneurship and Family Business. HKUST is currently featured in the Top MBAs for Entrepreneurs ranking from the Financial Times.View School Profile
Located in one of the most active places for entrepreneurship in the world, MBAs can take advantage of Haas’ location to network in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The business school’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, which offers a range of accelerators and other programs, serves as a hub for students who want to start their own businesses. Entrepreneurial-minded students can pursue the school's MBA Entrepreneurship area of emphasis, which covers topics in venture capital, private equity, and social entrepreneurship. The school offers a “Startup Lab” course, where Haas MBAs can help local startups identify and address business challenges.View School Profile
With specialized curriculum, the school's International MBA program is designed with entrepreneurship in mind. Through the year-long MBA Entrepreneurial Leadership Project and a venture funding competition, students can put the theory to a practical test. The school, along with Zhejiang University and Pace University, offers a one-year long "Global Entrepreneurship Program,” while not an MBA, is a program where students can build their entrepreneurial skills through practical experience.View School Profile
For MBAs interested in entrepreneurship, Madrid is a good place to launch a startup: the cost of living is much less than in other startup hubs, and tech talent is in good supply. And the Madrid-based IE Business School is helping MBAs harness their entrepreneurial potential: The school's International Center for Entrepreneurial Management hosts a venture lab accelerator, where MBA students can begin the process of launching their own businesses. Through the school, MBA students interested in entrepreneurship have access to a range of resources, including venture competitions and workshops.View School Profile
As is the case with many university towns across the world, the region around Cambridge is a hotbed for entrepreneurial activity. And the Judge MBA program leverages this in many different ways, including through the Cambridge Venture Consulting Project where students can get hands-on experiences with local startups. Through Cambridge's concentration in Entrepreneurship, MBA students can gain the skills they need to launch their own startups. The school's Entrepreneurship Centre provides new entrepreneurs with resources to get their businesses off the ground. Beyond the MBA, the school also offers a postgraduate diploma in entrepreneurship, a part-time program that is delivered over 12 months.View School Profile
Although the school does not offer a specific MBA in Entrepreneurship, it does offer a range of entrepreneurship electives. In recent years, London, with its Silicon Roundabout in the east part of the city, has been attracting startups and venture activity. Beyond offering a range of entrepreneurship courses, LBS MBAs can also take part in the "Entrepreneurship Summer School” program, where they can begin developing their startup ideas. Some twenty-eight 2020 LBS MBA grads went on to start their own businesses, or are now self-employed, according to the school.View School Profile
Recently voted one of the top American business schools for entrepreneurship by the magazine Entrepreneur, Babson's MBA program features curriculum that's focused on entrepreneurship from the ground up. The school's Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship provides business plan competitions and other resources to help students launch their own business ideas. In recent years, almost one in five of the MBA class has started their own business.View School Profile
In addition to being able to pursue an MBA concentration in Entrepreneurship, students can also get their own businesses off the ground at the Darden Businesses Incubator. The school's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership awards over $300,000 in business plan and concept competitions annually. Many incoming MBAs are surprised to learn that Charlottesville is a hotbed of startup activity—according to a recent report from the National Venture Capital Association, the city is currently the fastest growing hub in terms of startup investment.View School Profile
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