Can Entrepreneurship Be Taught?

Ranking the Programs

More than 700 entrepreneurship programs were researched from September to December 2002 for this study, conducted for Entrepreneur by TechKnowledge Point Corp., a research and referral exchange in Santa Barbara, California. The final rankings are based on more than 30 criteria, including course offerings, teaching and research faculty, business-community outreaches, research centers and institutes, advisory boards, off-campus programs, other entrepreneurial initiatives, degrees and certificates offered, and faculty and alumni evaluations.

The study identified and ranked 50 schools with Comprehensive entrepreneurship programs at nationally prominent colleges and universities. Another 50 schools with Comprehensive programs were identified at the regional level and ranked. In addition, almost 200 schools with Entrepreneurship Emphasis programs and another 75 schools with Limited Curriculum programs were identified (go to www.entrepreneur.com/topcolleges to see the rankings for these schools).

Within each category, schools have been ranked by tiers and listed alphabetically within each tier. For example, the 50 schools with Comprehensive entrepreneurship programs offered at institutions with nationally recognized reputations are grouped into four tiers. The first 12 schools--the top quarter--have comparable offerings and resources, and together represent the top tier of the very best programs in the country. The second, third and fourth tiers round out other groups of 12 to 13 schools that are similar to each other in overall ranking.

During the study, almost 300 schools responded to surveys for program director, faculty and alumni rankings. The survey results reveal some interesting findings about the Comprehensive programs at nationally recognized colleges and universities, including:

  • Columbia University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Indiana at Bloomington were the only schools with programs rated in the Top 10 by both faculty and alumni.
  • Only the programs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland, College Park, were rated in the Top 10 by both alumni and peers.

Among regional reputation colleges and universities, rankings of Comprehensive programs by program directors, faculty and alumni reveal the following trends:

  • Ball State University, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Illinois at Chicago were rated in the Top 10 by faculty and in the Top 8 by peers.
  • San Diego State University and the University of Oregon were the only two rated Top 10 by alumni and Top 8 by peers, while Brigham Young University, the University of Portland and the University of Utah were the schools with programs rated Top 10 by both faculty and alumni.
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago was the only Comprehensive regional program rated in the Top 10 by faculty and alumni as well as in the Top 8 by peers.

These rankings are only a starting place for picking a school, stresses Charles Matthews, director of the entrepreneurship program at the University of Cincinnati and former president of the Small Business Institute Directors' Association. "What makes a great program is the way it matches the student's expectations, needs and entrepreneurial focus," he says.

The final decision on which program to attend comes down to a student's personal admission profile, the area or focus of entrepreneurship the student wants to pursue, and the overall fit of the program with a student's age, schedule and career stage. With the broad variety of entrepreneurial education opportunities we've uncovered, it's certain every student can find a program that offers just the right fit.

About TechKnowledge Point
TechKnowledge Point Corp. of Santa Barbara, California, performed the ranking study for this article. Founded in 2001 by David Newton, TechKnowledge Point is the world's first entrepreneurship/business development research and referral ex-change. Its proprietary online database contains comprehensive information about 1,000-plus collegiate entrepreneurship programs worldwide, more than 2,400 individual profiles of these programs' faculty, and summaries of more than 500 journal articles since 1991 dealing with entrepreneurship and venture development. TechKnowledge Point staff Laurie Bauman, Heath Bradbury, James DeVries, Jay Lorentzen, Keith Luna and Jesse Newton contributed to this study.

David Newton is Entrepreneur.com's Financing Expert. Mark Henricks is Entrepreneur magazine's "Smart Moves" columnist.

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This article was originally published in the April 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Can Entrepreneurship Be Taught?.

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