Harvard | Mr. Australian Navy
GMAT 770, GPA 3.74
Harvard | Mr. Forbes U30 & Big Pharma
GMAT 640, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Brightside
GMAT 760, GPA 3.93
Wharton | Mr. Asset Manager – Research Associate
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Ross | Mr. FP&A
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. 10 Years In Finance
GMAT Not Required / Waived, GPA 2.65
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
NYU Stern | Ms. Civil Servant To Fortune 50
GRE Writing May 31st, GPA Undergrad: 3.0, Graduate: 3.59
Harvard | Ms. Social Enterprise/Healthcare
GRE 324, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Ms. FMCG Enthusiast Seeking Second MBA
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Former SEC Athlete
GMAT 620, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Supply Chain Photographer
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
McCombs School of Business | Ms. Registered Nurse Entrepreneur
GMAT 630, GPA 3.59
MIT Sloan | Ms. Designer Turned Founder
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Ms. Not-For-Profit
INSEAD | Mr. Big Chill 770
GMAT 770, GPA 3-3.2
Harvard | Mr. Captain Mishra
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Ross | Mr. Dragon Age
GRE 327, GPA 2.19/4.0
Wharton | Ms. Type-A CPG PM
GMAT 750, GPA 3.42
Harvard | Ms. 2+2 Trader
GMAT 770, GPA 3.9
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Young Software Engineer
GRE 330, GPA 3.60
NYU Stern | Mr. Indian Analytics Consultant
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Ms. Start-Up Entrepreneur
GRE 322, GPA 3.4
Columbia | Mr. RAV4 Chemical Engineer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.62
Wharton | Mr. Big 4 M&A
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Aerospace Project Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 3.58
Columbia | Mr. Ambitious Veteran
GMAT 700, GPA 3.1

How Business Schools Are Responding To The Rising Tide of Entrepreneurship

Columbia Business School MBA candidates Nolan Walsh, left, and Connor Wilson.

Columbia Business School MBA candidates Nolan Walsh, left, and Connor Wilson

On their Kickstarter video, Columbia Business School MBA candidates Connor Wilson and Nolan Walsh stand in a room where a group of male and female models cavorts around a pile of boots and shoes as they shower dollar bills upon it. “Welcome to the world of fast fashion,” Walsh says, “models, celebrities and huge advertising budgets, all designed to sell us inferior products that wear out quickly.”

The Kickstarter campaign set a record for sales in the first 24 hours, and Wilson and Walsh have now received more than $275,000 in orders for their $199 Thursday Boot Company boots. Production started about six weeks ago.

“I really like the idea of growing something small into something big,” says Wilson, a former investment analyst and portfolio manager for Thornburg Investment Management.

The two Columbia students embody a striking trend in business school education toward entrepreneurship. MBA program officials are seeing dramatic growth in student demand – including, for example, annual increases of 20 to 30 per cent at Harvard Business School – for entrepreneurship-related offerings. Increasingly, MBAs are rushing to apply their newly minted innovation skills to their own enterprises.

The Graduate Management Admission Council’s just-released 2014 Alumni Perspectives Report reveals a significant rise in the number of business school graduates launching themselves immediately into creating new businesses. From a survey of self-employed alumni who graduated from 1959 to 2013, GMAC has found that 45% of 2010-2013 grads started businesses directly after finishing b-school, while 80% of self-employed alumni from years past worked several years for an employer before embarking on entrepreneurial ventures.

Wilson says he and Walsh, both 29 and interested in “fashion broadly and boots specifically,” identified a market gap between “precious,” costly boots sold at a high markup and “cheap, low-quality fashion brands.” Also, they saw an opportunity to add work boots’ durability to a fashionable product, Wilson says.

Thursday Boots footwear from Columbia students Connor Wilson and Nolan Walsh.

Wilson went to business school to become an entrepreneur, and he chose Columbia because of the quality of education there, its focus on entrepreneurism – dean Glenn Hubbard has for more than a decade touted the school’s integration of entrepreneurial skills-building throughout the curriculum – and the location in New York City, now reported to be the nation’s second-largest startup ecosystem, behind Silicon Valley.

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