The Top 20 B-Schools for Entrepreneurship

Harvard  comes in at No. 1 with a whopping 34 startups on Poets&Quants'  top 100 list

Harvard comes in at No. 1 with a whopping 34 startups on Poets&Quants’ top 100 list

How do you determine the best B-school for starting up a business? There are plenty of rankings that promise to parse arcane data points to reveal the true hierarchy of entrepreneurial education. But none focus solely on resultsthe number of successful startups a school produces and how much capital its budding businesses have collectively raised.

Poets&Quants crunched the numbers to produce the first results-based ranking. The survey is based primarily on the total number of startups a school produced that landed on our top 100 listing. These are exceptional companies: To make the cut, a startup had to attract at least $1.6 million in investment. (Most startups get by on bootstrapping and funding from friends and family.) Investment served as the second metric–Poets&Quants‘ sub-ranked the schools according to the cumulative amount of funding their listed startups received.PoetsQuants-300x250-MagazineAd2

Harvard Business School, with 34 startups, and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, with 32 startups, blew away the competition, proving that the student and alumni networks of those schools are a potent force to fuel and sustain new ideas. The two MBA heavyweights accounted for more than half of the total number of startups on our top 100 list.

MIT’s Sloan School of Management came in a distant third with 11 new enterprises. The B-schools at U Penn, Chicago, and Columbia trailed behind with three startups each. (We did not adjust the numbers to account for class size.)

The results weren’t entirely surprising from the standpoint of traditional B-school rankingsHarvard and Stanford frequently rotate in and out of the top spots. However, these results represent a sharp division from conventional entrepreneurship rankings that have been severely flawed. And they show the profound importance of alumni networks in funding new companies.

For years, the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report have published their own orderings of the best graduate programs in entrepreneurship. Interestingly, the B-schools at MIT, UC-Berkeley, Northwestern, and Wharton are conspicuously absent from Princeton’s listing because they decline to cooperate with a ranking school officials say has little credibility. In fact, 2013 marks the first year that Harvard and Stanford participated. Top schools also question the publication’s “black box” methodology, which relies on surveys sent to school administrators and some 30 vague data points.

U.S. News & World Report adopts a more open approachthe publication surveys deans and MBA directors for their opinions on top programs. However, critics contend that the process invites bias, allowing schools’ past reputations to boost or hinder their numbers. Besides, most deans have little to no knowledge of how entrepreneurship is taught at other business schools.

Michigan’s Ross topped Princeton’s listing, while Babson’s Olin nabbed the No. 1 spot in the U.S. News ranking. Both schools made the cut for Poets&Quants‘ top 20, coming in at No. 13 and No. 12, respectively. Harvard, Poets&Quants‘ top startup school, came in third in Princeton’s assessment and fourth in U.S. News’ report. Stanford’s status was a bit more stable across rankingsit scored the No. 2 spot on both Poets&Quants‘ and U.S. News’ ranking. The more unpredictable Princeton assessment put the school at No. 6.

  • Darpan

    I really don’t understand the presence of Babson in all the rankings i have referred to for entrepreneurship . Is it only because of the percentage of students who have taken the start up route and the size of funding? Or there is a qualitative analysis of the course structure and academic experience for this ranking . Also , would these entrepreneurship rankings be useful for a person who intends to enter a well established family business after his MBA ( which can be considered as entrepreneurship but not a new startup) ?

    I respect the effort gone into the rankings posted above. Thanks . It would be great if I could get some insight in the above context.

  • marcus

    I might also add that the top VCs in the country are physically located on Stanford land ie Sand Hill Road. by design.. to be close to Stanford University.

  • marcus

    John.. with all due respect that is the most back-assward rationalization I have ever heard. And why do you think the VCs are located at Stanford? STANFORD.

    the VCs come to Stanford.. not the other way around in your bizarre alternative universe explanation.. STANFORD was instrumental in developing the ecosystem for startups.

    Stanford wins hands down. 280 Stanford startups at double the funding rate despite having less than half the graduates of the number 2 school.

    Not even a contest..

    it’s laughable to hear your rationalizations when the stats speak for themselves. Please.

  • ivyleaguertoo

    what absurd criteria. anyone can raise fundng. tons of undergrads do as well
    its what you do with the funding and the execution and exit that matters
    has any research been done as to how many of the start ups have executed and scaled
    I know one of them is already shutting down cause the business model did not work
    as usual, any criteria to make hbs on top

  • Peter Aguele

    Why will funding a start-up be a parameter for ranking?its absurd!

  • Admitted.ly

    Interesting data. As others have mentioned, I wonder if amount of funding received is truly the only successful measure of a start-up and if limiting the definition of a start-up skews your data.

  • John Surdyk

    Any data on UW-Madison you can share with me? We have a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, and nearly 1/2 of my business plan competition entrants start companies. Many are grad students in the sciences, but I I imagine some MBA program data may be missing! Thx! http://bus.wisc.edu/~/media/5ec54a3e593340b3a282d6c0f767e871.ashx

  • Basi T

    1.6MM in investment? So if you are from a school with not great networking in place (no direct access to venture capital or other formally structured investors) but you start a business through your friends or family or informal angels, makes you lesser/ not qualified? Why? This criteria is highly biased to favor the top ranked schools because they simply provide much more in networking and access to sophisticated investors and much less in ingenuity and originality.

  • Luuk

    As coming from the none USA angle, why is it that 98% of new Enterprises fail and why there is no mention of this. Why is there only mention of does going to the 20 institutions and nobody is talking about those, who start without any of the above schooling. It is not only VC what makes a business, it is people who make a business.
    The four pillars of Enterprise are and will always be: Communication, Negotiation, Presentation and Listening skills and these balance off any other issues connected with a start-up.Without the above there is NO business.
    Success depends on the persons and I meet many every day from 14 to 25 and older, who have great ideas and concepts ( all of us have appr.5000 over a life time), but do not have any of the above skills.
    I facilitate with others as an extension of the Educational Institutes, but also to SME’s and Corporates and find that our participants have as well the “Question” as well as the “Answer” and use this for their own success.
    Business is not based on jobs for he “Boys”, but success for those who work on it.

  • MBA & Company

    Great to see at least 3 European start ups on there which is great. Any start ups need to hire MBA qualified consultants for the hour for business projects then go to number 98 on the startups lists – http://www.mbaco.com