Just A Magic Show? The Princeton Review’s Entrepreneurship Ranking

In magic, you create an illusion by diverting the audience’s attention away from where the action really happens. Clearly, the editors at The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine have studied David Copperfield and Kriss Angel. After all, their newest entrepreneurship ranking is an exercise in misdirection.

In the strangest ranking move ever, The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur published their 18th annual joint ranking today (November 7), while releasing a vague methodology and minimal underlying data. Call it a ‘Trust us – the rest is coming’ ranking that emphasizes goodwill over transparency.

Despite this, it often aligns with conventional wisdom. And it is consistent too.

Rice MBA students on a site visit


For the 5th consecutive year, The Princeton Review ranked Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business as the top graduate business program for Entrepreneurship. In a press release, Jones noted that 89% of the school’s faculty had “started, bought or run a business.”  According to Poets&Quants research, 72% of Rice MBA students are involved in a startup project, with 29% of electives geared to entrepreneurship. Even more, the school boasts the highest ratio of startup money awarded at $9,217 per student in 2022-2023. Even more, the program offered the highest ratio of mentoring at 23 hours per student. On top of that, The Princeton Review reports that Rice business grads have raised over $657 million for their startups over the past five years..

“Our students are learning about entrepreneurship at every step of their Rice Business journey,” says Yael Hochberg, head of the Rice University Entrepreneurship Initiative in the press release. “Innovation is embedded in coursework and ideas are valued and supported financially through a network of innovative thinkers and business plan competitions.”

That’s not the only support received by Jones students. The ‘Energy Capital of the World’, Houston features the 2nd-largest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters in the United States, with potential student partners including ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, ConocoPhillips, and Sysco. The MBA program itself is home to the Lillie Lab, which features an array of coursework, competitions, and support. University-wide, Rice University connects various disciplines through its OwlSpark Accelerator program. Off campus, Rice has launched The Ion, a 266,000 square foot startup hub modeled off of Tech Stars. That doesn’t even include the famed Rice Business Plan Competition, which divvyed out $1.5 million dollars to startups in 2023 alone.

“Our students are able to learn inside and outside of the classroom with Rice Business thanks to our connections in Houston and beyond,” added Rice Business Dean Peter Rodriguez in the press release. “Our class sizes are small, and our programs are tailored to guarantee students leave with both the skillset and mindset not only to pursue new ideas but to navigate the rapidly changing world of business.”

Washington University’s Olin School


The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business ranked 2nd in The Princeton Review graduate business entrepreneurship ranking. Here, engagement is the name of the game. Among graduate business students, 22% launched a startup between 2018-2022, while 65% were members of an entrepreneurship-focused club. At the same time, 100% of faculty were involved in a startup in one form or another. Rounding out the Top 3 is Babson College, a school synonymous with entrepreneurship. That’s because the program is grounded in experiential learning where “professors are practitioners.” More than that, Olin imbues a ‘Thought & Action’ methodology across the curriculum designed to foster self-awareness and drive innovative thinking and data-driven decision-making. Overall, 13.64% of Babson grads launched a startup from 2018-2022.

In many ways, this Princeton Review ranking aligns closely with Poets&Quants’ MBA Entrepreneurship Ranking, which was released on November 1st. Here, Rice Jones ranked 3rd, while Michigan Ross placed 5th (and Babson claimed the 8th spot). One difference: Washington University’s Olin School ranked 4th with The Princeton Review – and 1st overall with P&Q. What were Olin’s strengths? Like Ross MBAs, Olin students get their hands dirty with entrepreneurship. 89% take an entrepreneurship elective and 100% are involved in a startup as students. In addition, the school averages 19 entrepreneur mentor hours per student while providing the 4th-highest space devoted to incubators and accelerators.

In a 2023 interview with P&Q, Doug Villhard, Olin’s academic director of entrepreneurship, points to problem-solving being the program’s cornerstone: “Identifying customer problems, big or small, and offering a solution.” In other words, Villhard adds, entrepreneurship is more a mindset than a discipline – one that makes Olin grads all the more valuable regardless of whether they start a venture.

“When I was running companies, the folks promoted to vice president weren’t promoted because they worked really hard or went to the right school. It’s because they started thinking like a founder. They asked how to expand what we were doing and find new markets. They asked how to fix problems and be more efficient. And that’s really what we’re teaching.”

The “Rambla of Innovation”, home to a unique entrepreneurship ecosystem that has led the Esade MBA to be ranked the best in Europe for entrepreneurs by Poets & Quants.


In other ways, The Princeton Review and P&Q rankings deviate sharply. In P&Q, four programs ranked among the ten-best aren’t even included in The Princeton Review: ESMT Berlin (2nd), Esade (4th), IE Business School (7th), and London Business School (9th). In addition, The Princeton Review is missing six programs ranked by P&Q from 11-20: City University of London, Brigham Young Marriott, Carnegie Mellon Tepper, Duke Fuqua, Yale SOM, and Georgetown McDonough. At the same time, there are several programs ranked high in The Princeton Review that are missing with P&Q: Washington Foster (7th), South Florida Muma (10th), Northeastern D’Amore-McKim (11th), and Oklahoma Rainbolt (12th). Overall, just 13 of the 28 entrepreneurship programs listed in the P&Q ranking are found in The Princeton Review.

Alas, P&Q trumpets its ranking methodology and releases its underlying data in full. The Princeton Review? Well, that’s where the magician metaphor comes into play. Here, The Princton Review lists all the variables that were measured. These include over three dozen data points centered around scholarships, competition support, alumni ventures, academic coursework, and student and faculty information. Among this data, The Princeton Review has only released the number of entrepreneurship courses and companies started in the past five years. More than that, The Princeton Review doesn’t disclose which data points carry which weights. In other words, readers would be hard-pressed to decipher what The Princeton Review (and Entrepreneur) truly value in graduate entrepreneurial education. To put it another way, they make it impossible to compare business schools side-by-side across variables – or know how these programs earned their rankings in the first place. Instead, readers must wait until Entrepreneur releases its December 2023 issue to get further details about the methodology, only teasing the data was collected from June-August of 2023 from over 300 programs.

Along with a graduate business ranking, The Princeton Review also features one for undergraduate programs – one that reflects that Texas is the place to be for student entrepreneurs. Among undergraduates, the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business – just a 15-minute drive from Rice University – is the top program. And the University of Texas’ McCombs School finishes 2nd. Like McCombs, Michigan Ross, Babson Olin, Washington Foster, and Washington Olin are ranked in the Top 10 in both the graduate business and undergraduate levels for entrepreneurship.

Looking back over two decades, Rob Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief, has been struck by how the top programs have grown more experiential while bolstering the resources and mentoring available to prospective entrepreneurs. Jason Feifer, Entrepreneur’s editor-in-chief, echoes his sentiments.

“Entrepreneurs know that the best ideas often come from competition and pressure,” Feifer explains in a press release. “Higher education is a great example of that. As more schools build out world-class entrepreneurship programs, their energy, excitement, and powerful resources only grow — making the schools on our list the best at helping young leaders develop into tomorrow’s world-changers.”

Go to next page for the Top 50 graduate business entrepreneurship program.

For details about each of the Top 50 graduate programs for entrepreneurship, click here.

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