Sneak Peek: The Top MBA Programs For Entrepreneurship

Which MBA programs boast the most well-rounded and robust entrepreneurial resources and community? For the first time ever, we set out to find out just that. In partnership with Inc. magazine, Poets&Quants has created its first-ever ranking of Best MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship.

The inaugural ranking includes 27 schools, three of which are outside of the U.S. The entirety of the rankings as well as multiple articles including a look at the hottest startups coming out of the worlds’ best business schools this year will be published Monday, October 28. The new ranking differs greatly from Poets&Quants’ annual lists of the business schools that produce the top MBA startups which is based solely on the amount of capital an MBA startup has raised from angel investors and venture capitalists (see The Top 100 MBA Startups Of 2019). While valuable, that ranking tends to overlook bootstrapped ventures as well as the actual academic programs in entrepreneurship at the schools.

Unlike existing rankings that are often based on vague, uncredible methodologies, such as the annual list by Princeton Review, or a single flawed measure, such as U.S. News & World Report‘s list, the Poets&Quants ranking was developed in collaboration effort with many business schools. The more substantive approach to find the best MBA programs was created after gaining feedback from entrepreneurship directors at a wide range of schools. All the collected data for the ranking, moreover, will be made publicly available, reflecting our view that rankings should be far more transparent than they currently are.


The new ranking takes into account ten different metrics, including the percentage of elective courses with a 100% focus on entrepreneurship or innovation (20%), the percentage of students launching businesses within three months of graduation between 2016 and 2018 (15%), the percentage of students in the school’s Entrepreneurship Club (15%), the ratio of university accelerator space available to MBAs to the number of full-time MBAs enrolled during the 2018-2019 academic year (10%), the ratio of entrepreneurs-in-residence to the number of full-time MBAs enrolled during the 2018-2019 academic year (10%), new venture award money available to MBAs (10%), the published entrepreneurship research between 2016 and 2018 (10%), the percentage of student-run clubs that are focused on entrepreneurship and innovation (5%), the percentage of required core courses that have at least 50% of the curriculum dedicated to entrepreneurship (2.5%), and the percentage of full-time MBA faculty members who teach entrepreneurship (2.5%).

Entrepreneurship continues to be a hot topic on business school campuses, drawing significant interest from students and major resources from the schools.  At the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, two-thirds of 2019 graduates counted entrepreneurship among their academic concentrations, up from half just eight years ago. Over the past five years, 356 Harvard Business School grads have founded companies during or immediately after graduating with their MBAs. Nearly 300 companies have been birthed at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and another 216 have emerged from The Wharton School during that same timeframe At Stanford, nearly every MBA student takes at least one elective in entrepreneurship and innovation. The rate has been around 98% to 100% over the past three years, up from 92% to 95% five to 10 years ago.

Schools continue to erect buildings and spaces dedicated to entrepreneurship nearly every year. Consider the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship in the middle of Carnegie Mellon University’s campus in Pittsburgh. When Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School opened a new business school building last year, the entrepreneurship center for the entire university was placed in it. Wharton is working on a seven-story, 68,000-square-foot space called Tangen Hall, which is Penn’s first dedicated space for cross-campus entrepreneurship and innovation. Besides a Venture Lab, the new digs will boast a virtual reality lab, maker spaces with 3D printers and laser cutters, as well as street-level “pop-up” retail space for student ventures.


Launched in 2012 and taking up space in the penthouse of Berkeley’s tallest building, the UC-Berkeley SkyDeck operates as a full-fledged accelerator space and has seen rapid grown since 2014. At the end of 2014, SkyDeck received 50 applications for a spot in its coworking space. The most recent cycle attracted more than 800 applications. Startups using the space have grown from about 20 to more than 140, requiring an expansion to another floor of the building.

While only 5% of MBA graduates launch businesses right out of school, there’s another reason beind these major investments. It’s because large corporations are increasingly valuing graduates that bring an “entrepreneurial mindset” to an established industry or job function. These days, bringing an innovative and more entrepreneurial approach to your job is a premium in the MBA job market.

Here is a list of this year’s top-ten MBA programs for entrepreneurship in alphabetical order:

  • Babson College
  • MIT (Sloan)
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • University of California-Berkeley (Haas)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (Anderson)
  • University of Michigan (Ross)
  • University of Minnesota (Carlson)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (Olin)


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