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Going to business school is no longer just about getting on in big business, but about starting a business of your own.

Just under a third of professionals who graduated in 2011 from the FT 2014 top 100 Executive MBA programmes, started businesses themselves or are in partnership with others, according to data collected for the EMBA ranking.

This compares with 22 per cent of the MBA graduates from the class of 2011, surveyed by the FT as part of its Global MBA ranking 2015, who also started their own business and 14 per cent of the graduates from the FT 2014 top 70 Master in Management programmes.

The switch in ambition among so many graduates towards launching a venture of their own is pushing many business schools to change the way they operate in order to teach the skills necessary to be an entrepreneur.

EMBA students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, for instance, helped to create an angel fund a few years ago. It now has 120 members and is the most
active angel fund in the US midwest, according to Robert Rosenberg, adjunct associate professor of entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth.

“We have students who are highly motivated because they get to act like venture capital associates, analysing deals,” Mr Rosenberg explains.

“Good deals seek us out because they know that we are not just money. We are smart money.”

In the UK, Imperial College Business School and the London Stock Exchange have created a 24-month support programme for fast-growing ventures, called Elite, which combines academic teaching with practical support and connections with potential investors.

It apes a programme created by Milan’s Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi and Borsa Italiana, the Italian stock exchange, which was acquired by the LSE Group in 2007.

The Business Education section of the Financial Times is also adding to its website to reflect this significant change by creating an online section dedicated to business school entrepreneurship called Starting a Business.

Following the principle that some of the best entrepreneurship teaching comes from experience, the Starting a Business page on FT.com will feature stories of those MBA graduates who have gone it alone after graduation, discussing the challenges faced as well as the themes common to many start-ups, such as raising finance, hiring staff and dealing with failure.

There will also be practical advice on specific challenges, such as cash flow management, running a crowdfunding campaign, and the ins and outs of setting up a company, as well as company profiles, articles about the challenges of building companies, guest blogs and videos. The section launches with a video about the challenges faced by London’s business schools in appealing to the city’s ambitious tech founders.

We hope that this FT Business Education website will prove to be as successful a venture as the start-ups it aims to encourage.


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