If you want to run a successful business, that's a brave and challenging goal. While anyone can start a company, only a few can appropriately seed it through its early stages, manage it as a startup and then finally oversee it to become an important force in its market. Society is dependent upon these people. Without them, goods and services could not be delivered, innovation would stall and jobs would be few and far between. Becoming one of these people is challenging, but if you can do it, you should.
Some people are natural born entrepreneurs. However, even the brightest, boldest businessman needs to sharpen certain skills and gain the know-how of making their company flourish. This means that going to a good business school is a must for any aspiring business leader. The right business school will make you better at what you are already great at, eliminate your weaknesses and set you on a path to success.
But there is a range of things to consider when you're picking out the business school that suits you. It is so much more than just picking a business school with a good reputation. You need to ask the following and more: Does this college specialize in my desired business sector? Does the college offer business support? Is the college's alumni network full of potential collaborators? At the end of the day, attending college is the first time you will be making a vital business action: deciding whether an investment is worth your time and money.
To help you with this complex decision, we've compiled what we consider to be the most definitive list of the best business colleges on the internet. We've looked at not only the best business degrees at the top institutions but also the other things that aid students from class to the real world. This list may mean that you find the college that is ideal for your future ventures. However, it is also useful as a resource that shows you what all business colleges should be putting in place. And you can use that to ensure that your college options have something similar. After reading this article, you'll know the things you require when you're looking for the right college. And maybe you'll find the perfect place just below.
Our rankings come from the latest lists produced by the most respectable online sources. Some are based around the top entrepreneurship undergraduate programs as compiled by institutional data. Others calculate the cost and alumni earnings. Some analyze the cities that surround certain colleges and their suitability for business start-ups. And some use student-led reviews to rank the college placements. No one list is perfect, but this list combines the data in the others and offers what they collectively all agree to be the best colleges for people starting a business in the next few years.
Our sources are as follows:
Princeton Review, Top 25 Entrepreneurship: Undergraduate: https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings?rankings=top-25-entrepreneurship-ugrad
Time Money, 10 Great Colleges for Business Majors: http://time.com/money/4138713/10-great-colleges-schools-business-degree-major-2015/
CNBC, The 10 best business schools for entrepreneurs: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/29/the-10-best-business-schools-for-entrepreneurs.html
US News, Best Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Programs: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/business-entrepreneurship
Niche.com, 2018 Best Colleges for Business: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-business/
Business.org: The Top 10 US Cities for Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups in 2018: https://www.business.org/business/startup/top-cities-for-entrepreneurs-and-startups/
Overall, our rankings aggregate the colleges that are placed highest on the collective methodology lists. However, we've also factored in what the college is saying about its business savvy credentials. Colleges that showcase their unique achievements and can prove incredible contributions ensuring student/graduate businesses thrive also factor in to our rankings.
Our results, from 30 to one, are below:
30. University of Notre Dame
Information Technology Management
This college is Niche.com's student review led list's sixth-best school for business. And while it isn't featured on any other methodology lists, that could certainly change in future years. Its IDEA Center for entrepreneurship and commercialization has been open for one year so far and has exceeded everyone's expectations. It had the goal of creating 16 faculty and student start-ups in its first year, but it has actually managed to create 27. The center's approach is to de-risk the students' start-up ventures. It has done this in part by managing to raise $4 million in investments in this first year, allowing exciting new companies to gain a foothold that would not otherwise have been possible.
29. Georgetown University
Georgetown University manages to place at fourth on Niche.com, but it isn't featured on any other list. This shows that students are incredibly happy with their business education, even if the other publications don't recognize it. This may be due to Georgetown's more unique approaches. For instance, the college focuses on teaching students business skills in areas that have not yet been created, in anticipation of future innovations. It also gives students a one on one career coach to help forge their own skills in the best possible way.
28. Harvard University
It may seem surprising that a college as renowned as Harvard is so low on the list. It only ranks on one methodology list, with CNBC placing it at fourth. However, one factor affecting it is that the college's business school does not offer undergraduate degrees, limiting its reach. However, for students that do study a master's or a Ph.D., there are clear benefits to Harvard's education. For example, the college's strong business connections mean that students are able to work with companies and organizations across the world on impactful projects. In fact, one student team even worked with the UK government to create a product that allows low-income people to enhance their savings.
27. University of California, Los Angeles
UCLA manages to place at fourth on Time Money's list of the best colleges for business majors. However, it isn't featured on any other list. UCLA is a renowned film college, and its media credentials extend to its business school. So if this is the sector you want to start a company in, then UCLA is ideal. For instance, it has the Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports, which allows students to learn how to make a business in the communication world. Alumni of this center include Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube; and Ynon Kreiz, the CEO of Maker Studios.
26. Oklahoma State University
Both Princeton Review and Niche.com place Oklahoma State University on their lists, and in both instances, it is lower than its rival, University of Oklahoma. Princeton Review places Oklahoma State University at 24th for entrepreneurship. Niche.com places it at 93rd for business schools (just one place lower than University of Oklahoma.) But Oklahoma State University does do a range of things that would be more attractive to certain students. For instance, the college has a range of study abroad programs in places such as Costa Rica, Peru, and Mexico, which can be incredibly helpful for students wishing to create a business with operations across multiple countries/continents.
25. Temple University
Statistical Science Program
Princeton Review disagrees with every other methodology list by naming Temple University the 10th best entrepreneurship college in America. Niche.com is the only other list that features it, ranking it at 102nd. However, the college is filled with stories of how successful businesses are being built by Temple alumni and current students. For instance, in one home in Philadelphia, six students and alumni currently run eight businesses together. And these students and alumni were only able to make this collaboration a success due to Temple's superior education and networking possibilities.
24. University of Oklahoma
Energy Management Program
Princeton Review names University of Oklahoma the 12th best college for entrepreneurship in the USA. Niche.com, on the other hand, is the only other methodology list to feature it at 92nd for business schools. Of the 10 best start-up cities listed on Business.org, Austin is located closest to the college. But if you're looking to start a business in energy, the University of Oklahoma could be right for you. The college runs a series of energy business programs that are unlike anything else. The briefest of these is a four-day intensive program on the energy sector that combines leadership sessions, faculty lectures, case studies, workshops and individual exercises.
23. Saint Louis University
International Business Program
This college polarizes the methodology sources. US News is particularly impressed with Saint Louis University, ranking it at ninth for entrepreneurship. However, Niche.com is the only other list that it features on, where it places at 83rd. But some of the business owners that Saint Louis University has produced are now making the college even better for future entrepreneurs that choose this institution for study. Alumnus Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, the founder of ComPsych Corporation, and his wife Jill Chaifetz recently gave $15 million to the college's business school, which will improve its infrastructure and services.
22. Syracuse University
Princeton Review puts Syracuse University in its top 20. However, Niche.com's student-led reviews place it at 75th. But the college is undoubtedly making efforts to increase the diversity and quality of its business school. For instance, in August 2018, the college announced a partnership with the National Black MBA Association, in an effort to get more African Americans into high-level business careers. Syracuse University also has numerous existing start-up and entrepreneurial success stories. One example is PowerSpike, founded by Syracuse alumnus Angelo Whitman, which recently managed to raise $500,000 in funding.
21. University of Houston
Princeton Review raves about the University of Houston, placing it as high as second for entrepreneurship. But Niche.com is the only other methodology list to feature it, ranking it at 86th. However, the college does benefit from being relatively close to Austin, the number two city for entrepreneurs and start-ups, according to Business.org. And the University of Houston's story is incredibly impressive. In 2000, the college's business school was given $40 million by one of the hundred richest Americans of the time, Ted Baur. This investment kickstarted the development of the college into an incubator for business leaders. Graduates have now created hundreds of highly successful companies in Texas, America and across the globe.
20. North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University is Princeton Review's 19th best college for entrepreneurship. It's also Niche.com's 64th best college for business. However, it's far from any of Business.org's 10 best cities for start-ups, with Columbus, Ohio being nearest at almost 500 miles away. One of this college's core aims is to develop entrepreneurial minds. The base of this work is the Entrepreneurship Clinic To date, over 600 of North Carolina State University's students have completed more than 280 company projects because of this clinic. What's more impressive is that the Entrepreneurship Clinic only opened in 2015, meaning that it's achieved huge amounts in a very short time frame.
19. Loyola Marymount University
Princeton Review places Loyola Marymount at 23rd for Entrepreneurship. Niche.com places it at 58th. And Business.org states that the college is also placed relatively near to two of the best cities in America to start a business, San Francisco, and San Jose. One thing that Loyola Marymount's business school is doing to put itself ahead of the competition is allowing students to manage its Student Investment Fund. This lets students research, choose, invest, monitor and measure the performance of stocks. Knowing the stock market and investment techniques can be invaluable for any student that plans on starting a business and wants to make it public or secure funding.
18. University of Maryland, College Park
Operations Management & Business Analytics Program
Ranking at eighth on Princeton Review and 46th on Niche.com but not featuring on any other list is University of Maryland, College Park. The nearest top 10 startup and entrepreneurial city to this college is Columbus, Ohio. The University of Maryland, College Park's secret to entrepreneurial success is experiential learning. It gets students internships at top companies, such as at Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson and Verizon, allowing them to gain knowledge which will lead to them opening their own businesses in later years. This approach has resulted in alumni becoming notable business leaders, such as Rob McGovern, the founder of CareerBuilder.com; Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour; and Leo Van Munching, the CEO of Heineken.
17. Miami University
This college isn't based in the Florida city of Miami but in Ohio. The upside of this college's location is that it's only just over 100 miles away from Columbus, which Business.org names as the fifth best city for starting a business in America. It also ranks at 18th on Princeton Review and 43rd on Niche.com. And Miami University is currently involved in a number of strategic initiatives that would benefit a student that wants to go on to start their own business. This includes evolving its curricular initiatives; elevating the responsibility, innovation and global preparedness of its students; and building relationships with important industry personnel and alumni.
16. Baylor University
Real Estate Program
This college is ranked at ninth on Princeton Review, 12th on US News and 72nd on Niche.com. It also benefits from being near Business.org's second-best city for entrepreneurs and startups in America, Austin. In fact, the college even has a business campus in Austin, so that it can tap into that incredible economy. However, the real key to Baylor students having such strong business creation success is down to the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise. This center's specific efforts with students include running venture business plan competitions, internships, scholarships and study abroad opportunities.
15. Georgia Institute of Technology
Business Administration Program
Time Money names Georgia Institute of Technology the sixth best business college for entrepreneurs. Niche.com's student-led rankings place it at 38th. And while Atlanta, Georgia Institute of Technology's home city, doesn't make Business.org's list of the 10 best places for startups and entrepreneurs, few can doubt that it is a lively and up and coming city. And as the college's name suggests, the entrepreneurial education at Georgia Institute of Technology is entirely focused around technology. Georgia Tech will make you stand out by letting you, "learn to lead an emerging field like financial technology. Help incubate a startup[â¦]Disrupt an entire industry."
14. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
US News gives University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill its highest rating of any methodology list, placing it at eighth. Princeton Review places it slightly lower at 13th. Lastly, Niche.com places it at 19th. And University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill prides itself on its incredible business leadership education. It delivers upon this by giving a range of real-life learning activities throughout the course of study. It also uses a customized curriculum that is developed to fit the skills, needs and wants of each individual student. Additionally, it gives personal business coaching to students, which includes feedback from business executives.
13. Northeastern University
International Business Program
Princeton Review places Northeastern University in its top 10, at sixth. Niche.com also ranks the college highly, placing it at 14th. No other lists feature it. As it is in Boston, the college's students benefit from being in one of the top cities for entrepreneurship and startups in America, according to Business.org. One of the greatest resources that Northeastern students can undertake in getting ahead in business creation is IDEA, which is a student-run venture accelerator that has gained $86.6 million in funding and launched 52 ventures to date.
12. University of Virginia
Business Analytics Program
The University of Virginia is third on Time Money's list of the best business colleges for entrepreneurs. It's also 16th on Niche.com's list of the best business colleges. Part of what makes the graduates of the University of Virginia so successful is that its business school offers career support for life at no additional cost ever. For alumni, this takes the form of executive coaching, mentorship, work-life issue advice, career re-launching and of course a range of services specifically designed for business owners to see their companies flourish.
11. Cornell University
Applied Economics and Management Program
Both Time Money and Niche.com's rankings list Cornell as America's ninth-best business school. But it doesn't feature on any other lists. Business.org's list of the 10 best cities for startups names Boston as the closest city to Cornell. And when Cornell students graduate, they are industrious and well paid. The median starting salary of the most recent graduating class was $70,000, meaning that those that are starting companies have secured strong funding and that those in employment can save up good money for later startups.
10. Indiana University, Bloomington
US News places Indiana University at third for entrepreneurship. CNBC places it at joint ninth. Lastly, Niche.com places it at 31st. It's also just over 200 miles from Columbus, Ohio, which is Business.org's fifth best city for starting up a company. The college has some impressive centers and institutes that students can take advantage of. For instance, it has one dedicated to brand leadership, which performs consumer marketing for the world's top companies. This can really give students some unique insights when it comes to planning and proliferating their own brands!
9. Washington University in St Louis
Business Administration Program
This college makes the top 10 of two methodology lists. Niche.com's student reviews rave about the college, placing it at fifth in the country. Princeton Review is similarly impressed, placing it at seventh. Nashville is the closest city to Washington University in St Louis that makes Business.org's list of the 10 best places for startups and entrepreneurs. The business degrees at this college offer over 50,000 hours of experiential learning, meaning that students graduate with lots of practical experience that they can funnel into their own business ventures.
8. Brigham Young University
Global Supply Chain Management Program
Brigham Young is third place on Princeton Review's entrepreneurship list. It's also eighth on Time Money and 37th on Niche.com's lists. The nearest city to the college on Business.org's top 10 startup and entrepreneur cities list is Denver, Colorado. Brigham Young University's faculty is second to none. Professors have gained huge insights into the business world by leading the International Association for Business and Society, the Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, AICPA Auditing Standards Board, Financial Accounting Advisory Council and many more prestigious organizations.
7. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Business Administration Program
Princeton Review praises University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, stating that it's the fourth best college for entrepreneurship in America. CNBC and Niche.com have similar opinions, placing it seventh and eighth respectively. US News places it just out of the top 10, at 11th. The nearest city to the college that makes Business.org's top 10 startup and entrepreneur cities is Columbus, Ohio. And University of Michigan, Ann Arbor has an element in its courses that might just be the best way to learn how to start up a company. It allows MBA and BBA students to run businesses, start businesses and vet businesses for three major corporations. These corporations are Shinola, where students have worked on expanding the business into men's grooming; Ford Smart Mobility, where students have developed a business plan for autonomous driving; and NRP Group, where students have developed a scalable business model for urban affordable housing projects.
6. University of Texas, Austin
Niche.com places this college at seventh for business. US News also places it at seventh for entrepreneurship. CNBC places it at ninth for business and entrepreneurship. And perhaps most notably, Austin is Business.org's second-best city in America for entrepreneurs and startups. And the University of Texas at Austin has played a large part in its home city becoming so successful. It runs numerous initiatives that impact the local and global economy, including investments in research initiatives, blockchain initiatives, energy initiatives, healthcare innovation initiatives, Hispanic leadership initiatives and social innovation initiatives.
5. University of Southern California
Business Administration Program
Business students love the University of Southern California. They rank it as the second best business college in the USA on Niche.com, with over 3,400 reviews attesting to this. US News ranks it at sixth. CNBC ranks it at eighth. Princeton Review and Time Money don't feature it. It's over 300 miles from the number one and number three best cities for startups in the USA, San Francisco, and San Jose. But it's based in Los Angeles, so few will say that it isn't in a great city! And USC's innovations are on full display. For instance, it was the first college to require students to travel internationally as part of its MBA degree. This was done due to the increasingly globalized business world. And its alumni network spans the globe at over 375,000 members.
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
US News places MIT at second on its list of entrepreneurial colleges. CNBC and Niche.com also both place it at third. Time Money and Princeton Review don't list it. However, it's well located geographically, being in Boston, Business.org's eighth-best US city for launching a startup (and the only East Coast city to make this list.) Part of what makes MIT unique is its 14 action learning labs, which teach students field projects in real life businesses settings focused on global health, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Some companies founded by MIT alumni include E*Trade, HubSpot, and Zipcar.
3. University of California, Berkeley
Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology Program
University of California, Berkely is joint third on US News's list of best entrepreneurship colleges. It placed 5th on both Time Money and CNBC. Lastly, it is 28th on Niche.com's list. It also benefits greatly from being incredibly close to San Francisco and San Jose, the first and fourth best cities for startups and entrepreneurs, according to Business.org. Part of what makes Berkeley so good at creating business owners is that it's the second oldest business school in the USA, meaning that it's had longer than almost any other institution to refine its practices. Additionally, two of its current faculty have won Nobel Prizes in economics, meaning that the education is truly world class.
2. University of Pennsylvania
Nursing and Healthcare Management Program
This college tops Niche.com's student review led business college rankings. It also places at second on Time Money, fifth on US News and sixth on CNBC. But it doesn't make an appearance on Princeton Review. Its main campus is also far from any city that Business.org considers to be one of the top 10 for entrepreneurs or startup companies. However, to counteract this, the University of Pennsylvania does have a smaller campus in San Francisco, which is the number one city for startups and entrepreneurs. And the college definitely helps its students succeed at starting their own businesses. Their entrepreneurship division has thousands of startups listed, resources to help students with structuring and launching their startup and even funding and competitions just for student startups.
1. Babson College
Global Business Management Program
Babson College is the indisputable winner of this list. Almost every methodology list agrees that this college is the best for students that want to start their own companies. It tops Princeton Review, Time Money, CNBC and US News's lists of the best business/entrepreneurial schools in America. It also ranks at 22nd on Niche.com's student rankings. It's located just 17 miles from the city of Boston, which is Business.org's eighth-best city in America for entrepreneurs and startups in 2018. But what has Babson College done to have such a collectively strong reputation across the methodology lists and beat renowned local competitors such as Harvard, MIT and Boston University? It's because the college has a proactive and impactful approach. Its core values are integrity, diversity, innovation, collaboration, and excellence, and it funnels that into its education at all times. It has developed a process it calls Entrepreneurial Thought & Action, which can be applied to innovating a large corporation, solving global social issues, starting a business or even raising children. This approach has resulted in alumni that include the co-founder of The Home Depot, the founder of LowerMyBills.com, the founder of Lycos, the co-founder of the World Basketball League, the co-founder of Zumba Fitness and many more successful business people.