McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Yale | Ms. Biotech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.29
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Marine Executive Officer
GRE 322, GPA 3.28
Stanford GSB | Ms. Global Empowerment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.66
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Armenian Geneticist
GRE 331, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 1st Gen Grad
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Ross | Mr. Travelpreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 2.68
London Business School | Ms. Numbers
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
IU Kelley | Mr. Fortune 500
N U Singapore | Mr. Naval Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31

Ranking The Best MBAs For Entrepreneurship

If you are a list junkie and you’re interested in using an MBA experience as an incubator to launch a startup, you’ll probably turn to one of several rankings. U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review maintain that Babson College just outside Boston in Massachusetts offers the best MBA for would-be entrepreneurs. The Financial Times, meantime, crowns Stanford Graduate School of Business as the best place for MBA entrepreneurs.

Problem is, all three of these rankings are deeply flawed. U.S. News bases its list solely on a survey of business school deans and MBA directors which renders its ranking little more than a popularity contest. The Princeton Review list is based on a vague methodology that is so discredited that Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, UC-Berkeley, MIT Sloan, and other top schools decline to cooperate with. And the Financial Times list is little more than an odd offshoot of the alumni survey portion of its overall MBA ranking.

That’s why we at Poets&Quants take a dollars-and-cents look at business school success in the startup space. For the past six years, we’ve annually tracked the MBA startups that have raised the most money from angel investors and venture capitalists (see Top 100 MBA Startups of 2019). On one level, it’s the ultimate early test of a strong idea. If you pass muster with discerning outside investors who do nothing except look at potential deals day in and day out, you’re certainly done something right.


How much money a startup raises is also really the only reliable number reported by a young, private enterprise where basic profit and revenue data is hidden from view. One clear takeaway from the 2019 list is that access to capital for a young MBA entrepreneur is brand dependent. In general, the better the business school brand, the more likely it will help you raise funding for your idea.

Using this show-me-the-money approach to evaluate a business school’s success in entrepreneurship also has its limits, of course. The biggest drawback is that it fails to capture much of the MBA startup activity that is bootstrapped. Its total focus on results also means that it does account for the number of entrepreneurship electives, the mentoring by serial entrepreneurs, and the possible financial support for an idea.

So for what it’s worth, we decided to crunch the numbers in those other three rankings from U.S. News, the Financial Times and Princeton Review, which publishes its list with Entrepreneur magazine. For the purposes of our composite ranking, we show the Princeton Review ranking but do not weight it at all in our overall list. That’s because so many of the best business schools simply refuse to cooperate with that ranking because it lacks any credibility. So the U.S. News and FT rankings, both from 2018, are given equal weighting in our composite index. For the FT ranks, we took out non-U.S. schools so they would not be disadvantaged by the fact that U.S. News does not rank online programs outside the U.S.


Who comes out first on the list? Stanford GSB and Babson College. Round out the top five are No. 3 MIT Sloan, 4. Harvard Business School, and No. 5 Wharton. In the top ten are No. 6 USC Marshall, No. 7 Michigan Ross, No. 8 Chicago Booth, No. 9 Virginia Darden, and No. 10 Rice University Jones.

Notably absent from the top ten are schools that easily make our original ranking based solely on funding, including UC-Berkeley, Northwestern Kellogg, and Columbia Business School. On the composite list, they are further down, largely because each of those three MBA programs lacks rankings from both U.S. News and the FT. That is largely a function of how flawed these existing rankings are rather than any reflection on the quality of the entrepreneurship initiatives at those schools.

All told, 42 separate MBA programs are on one or more of the three rankings, but only 13 make both the U.S. News and FT lists. Ten of the schools only make the Princeton Review ranking, failing to get a mention by U.S. News or the Financial Times.

(See the following page for the remainder of the composite ranking)

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.