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B-Schools Are Innovating to Meet the Needs of Aspiring Entrepreneurs

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Business schools have made a concerted effort to provide their entrepreneurial students with more resources.

More than ever, entrepreneurship is a major focus of learning and practice on business school campuses around the world. A recent survey of more than 11,000 mba.com registrants shows that about 1 in 4 business school candidates are pursuing their graduate degree to develop the skills they’ll need to run their own business. To better serve this growing share of candidates, business schools around the world have made a concerted effort over the past several years to provide their entrepreneurially minded students with more resources to support their professional aspirations.

Earlier this year, GMAC Research polled more than 1,500 alumni entrepreneurs spanning several generations to better understand how their business school experience helped them launch their business. In total, 3 in 4 four alumni entrepreneurs (73%) had access to resources at their university to support their entrepreneurial endeavors. Breaking down their responses between those who graduated before 2010 and those who graduated between 2010 and 2016 reveals how business schools themselves are innovating to connect their students with the resources they need to be successful.

Of all the on-campus resources listed in the survey, a larger share of 2010–2016 graduates report having access to them compared with alumni who graduated before 2010. The majority of 2010–2016 alumni entrepreneurs report having accessed faculty guidance (58%) and experts/mentors from the entrepreneurial community (56%) compared with fewer than 4 in 10 alumni entrepreneurs from earlier graduation years. Recent graduates also report greater access to specific entrepreneurship courses beyond the regular curriculum, access to specialists in other fields, and funding. Roughly equal shares report having access to dedicated work spaces.

One more resource some entrepreneur alumni found on campus: a business partner. Overall, about 1 in 8 business school alumni who started their own business partnered with a business school classmate. If you’re among the growing number of business school candidates interested in launching your own business, a great place to start your school search is using the Program Finder page and selecting "entrepreneurship/innovation" as your desired area of study. Once you’ve narrowed your list of schools, reach out to each admissions office and ask them what courses and resources they offer aspiring entrepreneurs.