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Best MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups

Best MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups

Watch this video first: Best MBA in Entrepreneurship

What comes first – the MBA bird or the Entrepreneurial golden egg?

In other words, we should first start with a brief parley on whether an MBA really helps to push a start-up business forward (Read Are entrepreneurs born or made?).

After all, if history has taught us anything, it is teeming with uber successful entrepreneurs, often with no formal degree, let alone an MBA. Ever heard of the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and the other (x)illionaires? An incredible vision and some extraordinarily handy grey cells helped them gain a rightful place in the business hall of fame, for eternity.

But what about the other set of would-be business owners who are not anomalous miracles of human civilization? How can these individuals turn their ideas into successful ventures? The answer is in favour of an MBA with some form of entrepreneurial education, as indicated by several studies.

One such study, conducted by the University of Arizona Eller College of Business faculty members, in 2000, surveyed nearly 2,500 non-entrepreneurship vs entrepreneurship MBA graduates, for startup success.

The idea was to observe the impact of entrepreneurial studies, in MBA, given similar initial condition for the candidates surveyed – i.e., work experience, intellect, and other categorizations that determine admission into the MBA program.

They concluded that entrepreneurship education contributed to more risk-taking, a higher probability (three times) of starting a new business, or being self-employed, as compared to no entrepreneurial training.The propensity to earn more, the ability to expand ones’ business, and the capacity to transfer technology from academic training to the real world is also heightened. That probably explains why MBA startups from Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wharton are making millions

Several other studies have also indicated a positive correlation between entrepreneurial studies, in MBA, and entrepreneurial success, after. It all comes down to certain advantages afforded as a part of such training.

  • The above-mentioned quality of risk-taking is pronounced.
  • MBA graduates are able to integrate their entrepreneurial education with other functional business aspects like marketing, accounting, economics, finance, and general management.
  • Intercollege business plan competitions provide a stage to practice start-up skills.
  • The social, and professional, interaction with the rich network of peers, classmates and alumni, helps in building relationships and ideas.
  • Students are often afforded resources such as initial start-up funding, Loan Reduction Programs, and other financial incentives from either school or alumni.
  • Students can also avail priceless resources in the form of rich experiences of faculty members, participate in entrepreneurial clubs and activities, associate with start-up incubators and obtain one-on-one coaching from experts.

As with everything else there are certain counterarguments that seem to suggest otherwise.

In this article, however, we will move on while siding with the opinion in favour of entrepreneurial MBA studies, and lay down some of the popular MBA programs that have been known to produce successful business founders and creators. The list, below, is borrowed from Financial Times’ 2017 best MBA programs for entrepreneurship. The ranking is based on b-school and b-school graduate surveys. We have also listed the various entrepreneurial resources, and education measures, provided in these b-schools.

Best MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups

Top Business Schools with the Best Entrepreneurship Resources


Business School Entrepreneurship Resources
Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES)
  • Entrepreneurial Courses
  • Start-up Garage
  • The Stanford Venture Studio
  • Stanford MBA China Entrepreneur Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial students (BASES)

Notable Entrepreneurs: Joe Coulombe (Trader Joe’s), Phil Knight (Nike), Vinod Khosla (Sun Microsystems), Sam Yagan (OkCupid)

MIT Sloan
  • Practitioner taught courses by entrepreneurs and VCs
  • Project oriented courses with entrepreneurial focus
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation Track specialization
  • MIT Sloan Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club
  • Venture Capital Private Equity Club
  • Six Research Centers and Organizations to support MIT entrepreneurs (Martin Trust Center, MIT Legatum Center, MIT Venture Mentoring Service, The Lemelson MIT Program, The Deshpande Center, MIT Enterprise Forum)

MIT entrepreneurs generate $2 trillion annual rev.

Notable Entrepreneurs: William Porter (eTrade), Magid Abraham (Comscore), Robin Chase (ZipCar), Bill Taylor (Fast Company Magazine)

Babson College, Olin GSB
  • The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship
  • The John E. and Alice L. Butler Launch Pad
  • Research focus on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the Diana Project (Female business owners), and the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) project
  • Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC)
  • Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • Institute for Family Entrepreneurship
  • Babson College Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GEIR) Program
  • Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW)
  • Babson Entrepreneurship Forum
  • Babson Alumni Supporting Entrepreneurs (BASE)
  • Babson Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs

Notable Entrepreneurs: Arthur M. Blank (Home Depot), Jonathan Carson (Family Education Network), Mathew R. Coffin (, Mir Ibrahim Rahman (GEO Tv)

University of Cambridge, Judge
  • The Entrepreneurship Center
  • The Cambridge Judge Launchpad
  • Enterprise Tuesday Events
  • Accelerate Cambridge program
  • Ignite training program
  • Venture Creation Weekends
  • The SME Growth Challenge Program

Notable Entrepreneurs: Ebon Upton (Raspberry Pi Foundation), Jas Bagniewski (Eve Sleep), Ben Barry (Ben Barry Modelling Agency)

University of California at Berkeley, Haas
  • The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program with courses and offerings
  • Seed Funding and Space
  • LAUNCH, start-up accelerator program
  • Mentoring Hours with entrepreneurs, VCs
  • Student entrepreneurship clubs and activities
  • The Venture Capital Investment Competition
  • NSF I-Corps, to build business ideas on innovative science and technology
  • The Asia, Middle East, and North Africa (AMENA) Center for Entrepreneurship and Development

Notable Entrepreneurs: Tom Anderson (MySpace), Marla Beck (BlueMercury), John Hanke (Keyhole, Inc. now Google Earth), Hansoo Lee (Magoosh)

Dartmouth College Tuck
  • Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship (CPEE) and its activities
  • Building Entrepreneurial Ventures (BEV) course
  • Entrepreneurship & VC Fellows Program
  • Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum (DEN)
  • Private Equity and Entrepreneurship Academic Conference
  • Entrepreneurship Club
  • Entrepreneurship Kick Off and Pitch Night

Notable Entrepreneurs: Leon Black (Apollo Global Management), Naval Ravikant (AngelList), T. J. Rodgers (Cypress Semiconductors), John Bello (SoBe)

City University Cass
  • Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship
  • Cass Entrepreneurship Fund worth total $14 million
  • The New Venture Creation (NVC) Program
  • Business Growth Programs
  • City Launch Lab, incubator and co-working space
  • City Ventures “Start” activities like Social Enterprise Festival, Startup Seminars, City Spark competition, Startup Weekend, 1 to 1 Startup Advice, Startup Summer School, City Founderships Program and others
  • Assistance to obtain Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa for international graduates at City
  • City Unrulyversity for Tech entrepreneurs

Notable Entrepreneurs: Sir Stelois Haji-Ioannou (easyGroup), Barrie Pettman (Emerald Group Publishing)

Carnegie Mellon, Tepper
  • Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship with mentorship and funding
    • Entrepreneurs-in-Residence to provide guidance
    • McGinnis Ventures Competition, feedback, coaching, and funding
    • Venture Bridge
    • Federal NSF I-Corps
    • Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund
    • Project Olympus – Spark Grants
    • Gap Funding
  • Tepper Quad entrepreneurship activities
  • Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
  • Notable Entrepreneurs: Vinod Khosla (Sun Microsystems), David Alan Tepper (Appaloosa Management). Recent entrepreneur success stories

University of Oxford, Said
  • Entrepreneurship Centre
  • Build a Business Lecture Series
  • Oxford VIEW interactive startup workshops
  • Skills Workshops led by business founders and experts
  • Ideas 2 Impact (I2I)
  • Oxford Said Entrepreneurship Forum (OSEF)
  • Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK support
  • Oxford Entrepreneurship Policy Roundtable (OXEPR) for support to startup, and scale up, businesses
  • Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
  • The Oxford Launchpad, co-working space

Notable Entrepreneurs:Sujeet Kumar (Kalinga Kusum&LexMantra), Elizabeth Filippouli (Global Thinkers), Michael Thornton & Greg Fitzgerald (Carbon Analytics) and more. List of top Said entrepreneurs is available here.

Columbia Business School
  • The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center Programs and Startup Funding Opportunities
    • Fall Venture Fair
    • Startup Networking Night
    • Lang Fund ($1 million) Selection Process
    • Summer Fellowship Program to provide management expertise to growing startups
    • Summer Startup Track
    • Lean Launchpad
    • Innovation and Entrepreneurship @Columbia
    • Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program
    • Eugene M. Lang Entrepreneurial Initiative Fund
    • Alumni Networking Nights, Lang Innovation Talks, Spark Workshops, TechDay, and more

Notable Entrepreneurs: Nahema Mehta (Art Remba), Peggy Woodford (Woodford Capital Management), Marc Glosserman (Hill Country Barbecue Market), Alex Dickinson (Illumina, DNA sequencing).List of top Said entrepreneurs is available here.

Other noteworthy b-schools, for start-up blessings, include Chicago Booth, Wharton, Yale, Imperial College, Darden, Harvard, and pretty much all your big time big shots, and often even the relatively smaller shots like Brigham Young University, Ipade (Mexico), Incae (Costa Rica).

MBA, with an immersion in entrepreneurship training, can bring about the awareness that many new business owners are needed to possess. It provides the resources to beat the odds of failures. You can also explore Masters in Entrepreneurship options.

There is but one simple idea behind entrepreneurial education – the idea is to promote yours.

If you are looking to peek into the life of an entrepreneur, here’s an interesting read about a typical business day of an entrepreneur working to take her garment business into the next level.
Also, have you read these entrepreneurship blogs?

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5 thoughts on “Best MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups”

  1. HI Sameer,

    i am working as a Design Engineer with 3yeras of work ex, i want to pursue Management degree.
    I have offer from MSc Bsiness Management DCU Ireland, Ex-MBA Audencia France, MBA Internationa Marketing Coventry LOndon and MIM Liverpool UK.
    Please guide me which to opt, keeping concern of salary and field of job i can get in future if i want to job abroad in future.


  2. Hello Sir. Found your article very interesting. I have been graduated in Mechanical Engineering in 2016, later joined in IT company(US based MNC) and have 21 Months of experience in software testing. I have strong academic background and grades. 90.66 in 10th, 91.5 in +2, and 9.25/10 CGPA in B.E.
    1st Doubt – Not able to decide b/w MBA or MS. If i choose MS in Mechanical, this experience will be not counted.
    2nd Doubt – This is technical experience, how this will impact my MBA admission.
    3rd – No Extra curricular activities in my profile.
    4th – If i choose MEM courses, Management with Mechanical type of courses, how will be the career in such cases. What is main difference b/w MBA and MEM courses. Will this count my experience.

    Please suggest. Awaiting for your reply.

    Thnaks in Advance.

  3. Hi Sir,

    I have an experience of about 4.5 years in a reputed MNC as an engineer.But in July 2017 I left my job to prepare for govt exams but couldn’t get through and now I have a gap of almost an year . Now I am planning to apply to Mba programs outside India . Will I be even considered because by then I will be having a gap of more than a year.It would be great to know your view.

  4. @Rohit: We don’t have much insights to share for the programs you’ve shared, since they do not figure among the top MBA / MiM programs in the world, that we’ve listed here:

    @Sai: You are right. Going for an MS in Mechanical Engineering would raise eyebrows and it may be tough for you to justify the choice given your experience in IT. We’ve written about the differences between MBA and MEM here:

    @Namit: You’ll have to justify the gap in your MBA applications. We’ve written about it here:

  5. hi
    I’m varun currently working as an IT recruiter. Will you please suggest me a good MBA specialization among Marketing, HR and Entrepreneurship.


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