These days it seems budding entrepreneurs are increasingly looking to graduate business school as their best opportunity to prepare for launching their own business. If you’re one of these individuals, you are in good company and well-situated to find a graduate b-school program that fits your needs. Business schools worldwide are expanding their graduate-level entrepreneurship degree offerings and concentrations in response to growing student demand.
Path to Start-Up Launch Accelerates
Judging from responses to last year’s alumni survey, b-school graduates from the most recent classes are increasingly are on the fast track to launching their entrepreneur careers. 
As illustrated below, entrepreneurship began at graduation for 45 percent of alumni entrepreneurs who graduated within the past three years, compared with 24 percent who did so from graduating classes in the 2000s.
In addition, more b-school students are entering their programs as established entrepreneurs. In 2014, of the graduating students who expressed plans to be business owners, more than half (54%) started their businesses before entering their program, and another 46 percent launched their business while enrolled in their program.
To Master Innovation, First Master the Basics of Business
For most b-school students, time enrolled in a graduate management program will provide a solid grounding in basic business knowledge, financial and management skills, leadership discipline, and other skills that will help ensure that one has the basic business tools and know-how to successfully launch and grow a new business.
Annual GMAC surveys of alumni and recent b-school graduates show that steady numbers of b-school students with entrepreneurial plans overwhelming credit their graduate management programs with helping them develop their career plans. A majority of class of 2014 entrepreneurs ranked the following educational outcomes as most important to their business development activities:
- Developing leadership skills (87% of graduates);
- Growing my business (84%);
- Developing my business idea (80%);
- Creating a business plan (80%);
- Developing market research (79%);
- Developing financial projections (79%);
- Writing a marketing plan (77%);
- Securing financial resources (70%);
- Contact with potential customers (68%); and
- Creating a human resources plan (56%)
Experiences Beyond the Classroom Promise Huge Benefits for Startup Founders
Devoting lots of effort to extracurricular activities may yield some of the greatest benefits to be gained from your degree program, especially activities aimed directly at future business founders. Remember, few business ventures are solo undertakings. Your degree program will offer countless opportunities for you to make connections beyond the classroom, network with likeminded classmates, faculty mentors, and outside business advisors, or become involved in clubs, business incubators, and accelerators.
Take advantage of as many networking opportunities as possible where you can hone your entrepreneurial skills and potentially connect with individuals who may become your future business partners, such as doing an internship or pursuing a study abroad opportunity to learn about a particular market.
Explore the Possibilities
The celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 17 to 23, 2014) is a perfect time to explore your educational options and learn how business programs worldwide are helping students develop their skills as future entrepreneurs.
- Check our web page of degree programs in entrepreneurship that lists more than 50 GMAT-accepting MBA and master’s degree programs in entrepreneurship and related majors.
- Add a visit to our Connect with Schools page, as well, to learn more about programs offering entrepreneurship and other electives and concentrations of interest to you.
Let your journey begin!
 GMAC. 2014. Alumni Perspectives Survey (Based on data collected in 2013).