MBA by numbers: Top programmes for entrepreneurship

Stanford’s MBA programme is best for entrepreneurship, an indicator created by the Financial Times reveals. Five other schools from the US, three from Europe and one from China complete the top 10.

Using data collected for the Global MBA ranking 2015, the FT used 10 criteria to judge the best MBA programmes for budding entrepreneurs. The criteria included the percentage of graduates who created their own company, the percentage of companies still operating at the end of 2014, whether it was their main source of income and how the school and the alumni network helped set things up.

Click here to see the full ranking table.

Graduates from Stanford particularly praise the transformational experience they went through. “I never anticipated starting my own business before starting my MBA,” says one graduate.

“However, the entrepreneurial spirit that the school instilled in me and the support provided has allowed me to achieve something I never anticipated.”

Indeed, the level of support provided by Stanford and its alumni network in helping with starting a business and financing it is rated far above average (8.0 out of 10 compared with 5.9). As a result, 40 per cent of students created their own company during or since graduating, nearly twice the overall average at 22 per cent.

In the US, it is a face-off between California and Massachusetts for the title of the most entrepreneurial state, with three schools from each featuring in the top 10. California comes significantly ahead: after Stanford in first place it has USD School of Business Administration and USC Marshall School Business in third and fourth place respectively. While MIT Sloan School of Management is Massachusetts’ highest representative in second place, ahead of Harvard and Babson College in fifth and eight position.

Shanghai’s Fudan School of Management is ranked sixth. Location is everything, it seems. The school’s campus in the heart of China’s economic capital offers enormous potential to founders.

The same applies to the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, in seventh position. It is the sole representative for the UK and benefits from two active entrepreneurial centres that regularly bring in experts from the City.

In ninth position, Belgium’s Vlerick is probably the most unexpected entry but its alumni would certainly approve. When asked to rate the different aspects of the programme, entrepreneurship came a long way ahead of all other fields.

Spain’s Esade Business School completes the top 10, with the school’s Entrepreneurship Institute providing students with the resources and space they need.

A key factor that distinguishes all 10 schools in encouraging entrepreneurship is the importance of the alumni network. They were rated 6.7 out of 10 compared with 5.0 for the overall average in terms of securing finance, for example.

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