Business startups seem to be everywhere these days. From the popular TV show “Shark Tank” to Peter Thiel’s challenge to quit college and start a business, the incentive to drop everything and do your own thing has never been stronger. Most business professionals, however, would counsel that a good business program is one of the best investments you can make in your professional future. Through an analysis of data from Crunchbase, Angel List, public business data, and other factors (such as proximity to major metropolitan entrepreneurial ecosystems), we have brought you a list of the 50 best colleges in the U.S. for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business is home to the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, which sponsors a number of initiatives and programs both within the business school and outside it in the business community. Undergraduates can choose from more than two dozen business-related majors and minors, including a major in entrepreneurship. Baylor also has its own investment engine, the Baylor Angel Network, which is overseen by students, staff, and faculty alike.
In addition to being located in one of the country’s largest concentrations of higher-education institutions, Tufts University boasts an Entrepreneurial Leaderships Studies (ELS) program specifically for undergraduates. The Tufts Entrepreneurial Network keeps students connected to on-campus entrepreneurial activities as well as to alumni, and the Entrepreneurial Society sponsors several competitions, conferences, and networking opportunities.
The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse has an entire department devoted to entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises. It also collaborates with the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship to offer students the best of both academic reflection on and hand-on experience with new business ventures. Students can opt for a major in entrepreneurship and choose from a dozen courses devoted to the subject.
Ohio State University
The Fisher College of Business at Ohio State offers an interdisciplinary approach to undergraduate entrepreneurial studies. While it does not offer a major in the area, it does offer a minor in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, the College of Education and Human Ecology, and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Services, and specializes in the business of emerging technologies.
University of California, Davis
The program at UC Davis has a specific focus on technology. Through their Technology Management Minor, offered in conjunction with their influential Graduate School of Management, students can learn how to combine their interests in science and engineering with their business and entrepreneurial sensibilities. If you have already specified your interests within the engineering sciences, this could be a great fit for you.
San Francisco State University
The College of Business at SFSU offers a B.S. in Business Administration, and students can opt to concentrate in Entrepreneurial/Small Business Management. Their College of Business Enterprises serves to keep the school connected to the Bay Area business community through a number of initiatives, projects, and lecture series. With a dean who describes herself as a “start-up junkie,” the culture at SFSU is hospitable to innovators.
George Washington University
GWU is known for strength in entrepreneurship in the DC area and beyond. Their Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence works to integrate academic excellence with good business practices. Specific areas of strength include entrepreneurship education, leadership, family businesses, managerial issues affecting emerging business viability, knowledge management for entrepreneurial firms, and interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education for women. Undergraduates pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration and can tailor their program to their particular interests.
University of Arizona
The Eller College of Management at Arizona is home to the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, which boasts dedicated staff and programs that focus on every dimension of the entrepreneurial process. The Center’s Entrepreneurship Program, which is open to undergraduates of any field of study, consistently receives top accolades from the business community. Students choose a primary major and can apply for a second major in entrepreneurship in their junior year.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management is home to the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship, a resource devoted to entrepreneurship education, research, and real-world skills. Undergraduates work toward a Bachelor of Science in Business and can choose a specific major in Entrepreneurial Management, which includes more than two dozen elective options to tailor your education to your particular interests.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC boasts the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, a multi-faceted resource for future business leaders with a variety of programs and resources in specific fields of interest within the entrepreneurial process. Undergraduate students major in business and can opt for an emphasis in entrepreneurial studies. The CES also has programs specifically tailored to the startup process as well as opportunities for internships.
Northeastern has a long tradition of fostering new enterprises, particularly through their Center for Entrepreneurship Education. They offer creative opportunities for new ventures and have a built-in network of investors. Undergraduate students pursue a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Northeastern’s curriculum is structured specifically to encourage students to develop and launch their own business ideas.
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is known worldwide for its business programs. Add to that the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and aspiring entrepreneurs have an excellent collection of resources for learning and practicing how to start a business. Studies in private equity are a particular strength. Students work closely with a university adviser to structure their AB degree to their individual interests.
Indiana University, Bloomington
The Kelley School of Business at IU Bloomington is home to the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which consistently ranks among the top entrepreneurship programs in the world. The undergraduate program in housed in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, and students can specialize in entrepreneurship and corporate innovation, international business, or management. The entrepreneurship concentration offers courses in a range of topics related to new business ventures and best practices.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting subject at Princeton right now. The cross-disciplinary Princeton Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee is working to develop a vision for the role of entrepreneurial studies on the campus, so stay tuned for exciting developments at this Ivy League institution. Most undergraduates will major in the popular economics concentration and pursue specific interests within that degree.
Johns Hopkins University
Aspiring entrepreneurs at Johns Hopkins have the option to pursue an Entrepreneurship and Management minor in addition to their chosen major area of study through the Center for Leadership Education. This gives students an opportunity to focus on the business potential of specific areas of interest, such as engineering or public health. The option of this minor is open to students of any major.
Purdue is home to the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, an excellent resource for those interested in understanding and entering the business arena. It sponsors a variety of initiatives, competitions, and fellowships to encourage future business leaders and innovators. The center offers a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which undergraduate students can pursue as a part of their major of choice.
University of California Irvine
The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California Irvine is home to the Don Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which offers students opportunities to immerse themselves in a culture of innovation, ideas, and best practices. One of the most popular activities at the school is the annual Business Plan Competition, which offers over $100,000 in cash prizes for the most promising startup ideas. Merage offers a BA in Business Administration with several opportunities for specialization.
You might not have heard of Babson College, but don’t let that deter you. Babson is known worldwide for its entrepreneurship initiatives and programs and innovative culture. The activity centers on the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, named after the co-founder of The Home Depot. Undergraduates at Babson earn a BS and can concentrate in Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Design. Entrepreneurship has been an official part of the Babson DNA for fifty years, making this school a uniquely exciting place for young business innovators.
Brigham Young University
The Marriott School at BYU offers an entrepreneurship emphasis within its broader BS in Management. More than a dozen courses in topics specific to new business ventures ensures that you will be well prepared for your professional future. BYU’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology offers a wealth of resources, mentoring opportunities, events, and other programs to round out your education.
University of Florida
The Warrington College of Business Administration at the University of Florida offers an undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship and a range of courses in topics necessary for the entrepreneur, from new venture planning to small business finance. The school is also home to the Jeff Gold Experiential Learning Laboratory, which offers additional resources and programs such as the GatorNest consulting program, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, student mentoring, and business acceleration initiatives.
Brown offers a Program in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (PRIME) for its undergraduates interested in pursuing a career in new business ventures. Every student takes eight integrated courses, creates a technology venture project, and participates in a global immersion experience. Brown is also home to the student-led Brown Entrepreneurship Program, which provides motivated students with an additional outlet for their business ideas.
Arizona State University
Arizona State takes a unique approach to entrepreneurship on its campus. In addition to offering a dedicated and thorough BS in Business Entrepreneurship through the W. P. Carey School of Business, it also boasts the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, a cross-disciplinary joint initiative that encourages students in entrepreneurial endeavors. Undergraduate students can expect to be exposed to every conceivable facet of new business ventures through this comprehensive program.
Pennsylvania State University
The centerpiece of entrepreneurship at Penn State is the Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI), which students can construct according to their interests within their major. Specific areas of concentration include Food and Bio-innovation, New Media, New Ventures, Social Entrepreneurship, Technology Based Entrepreneurship, Digital Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Hospitality Management. Additional business curriculum is offered through the Smeal College of Business, which boasts a particular strength in engineering and technology.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
The Weinart Center for Entrepreneurship at the Wisconsin School of Business is open to students from across the university, but undergraduates pursuing their well-rounded Bachelor of Business Administration in particular will benefit from its many resources and its extensive network of alumni and business professionals. Of particular interest are extracurricular opportunities such as the Business and Entrepreneurship Clinic, which gives students opportunities to participate in the life cycles of real businesses and, eventually, to start their own.
University of Virginia
The Darden School of Business is the best-known hub for business-related activity at the University of Virginia, but the undergraduate program through the McIntire School of Commerce prepares B.S. students for broad range of business challenges. As of the fall 2014 semester, undergraduate students can now opt for an exciting 12-credit track in Entrepreneurship.
University of California, Santa Barbara
Aspiring entrepreneurs in tech fields in particular will want to pay attention to the University of California at Santa Barbara. Their Technology Management Program offers a surprising number of courses and seminars unique to tech startups. Undergraduate students can pursue a certificate in Technology Management geared specifically toward the unique needs of growing tech companies.
Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business offers a major in Leadership and Innovation as well as a co-curricular Entrepreneurship Fellows Program, which provides students with mentoring opportunities and experience beyond the classroom. The entrepreneurship program also recently launched Startup Hoyas, an initiative aimed at getting students involved in the business launch process.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business is home to the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ILE), an interdisciplinary institute that encourages values-based leadership and socially responsible entrepreneurship. Students can minor in Leadership Studies, take a number of entrepreneurship-specific courses through the institute, and participate in a number of programs and initiatives related to business leadership.
University of Colorado, Boulder
Colorado Boulder is home to the Leeds School of Business, which offers a concentration in management and entrepreneurship and further specializations in Human Resource Management, Information Management, or Operations Management. Beyond the degree, however, the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Boulder is an extremely valuable resource for the aspiring entrepreneur, and the University also offers a unique range of additional entrepreneurial education opportunities, from law to music.
Undergraduates at Yale have the opportunity to apply for a pre-M.B.A. program through the School of Management as part of their undergraduate major. Students are introduced to business skills and practices and obtain a glimpse of what an M.B.A. program entails. In addition, the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute exists to assist both undergraduates and graduates start their own ventures through a range of fellowships, programs, bootcamps, mentorships, and other initiatives.
University of Maryland, College Park
The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland boasts the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, which offers students immersive, hands-on experience with existing business and startups through both curricular and extra-curricular programs. Business majors at Maryland have the opportunity to participate in an Entrepreneurship track, which prepares students for a range of skills related to management, finance, and planning.
University of California, San Diego
The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego is home to the Entrepreneur Development Program, which serves individuals and organizations of all sizes and scales and sponsors an impressive array of centers, networks, development initiatives, conferences, and events for entrepreneurs. The undergraduate program at Rady offers a minor in business with an option to specialize in entrepreneurship, and like many California schools, has a particular strength in technology.
Northwestern’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (FCEI) is another institute that seeks to combine the best of engineering and technology with the creative ambition of entrepreneurship. Northwestern facilitates this unique approach to business venture education through a collaborative network of schools, programs, and campus centers. The Kellogg School of Management houses an undergraduate certificate program designed to give advanced students exposure to the challenges real businesses face.
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
The College of Business at Illinois offers a BA with a major in Management and Entrepreneurship through the Department of Business Administration. Students have extensive opportunities to study the problems, challenges, and issues facing today’s business leaders as well as related disciplines such as social psychology, organizational behavior, and business law. Graduates of Illinois have gone on to work at some of the country’s top companies as well as start their own ventures.
University of Washington
The center of entrepreneurial activity at the University of Washington is the Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the Foster School of Business. The Buerk Center offers a range on ongoing academic and practical programs to encourage the development and execution of new business ideas, such as business plan competitions, innovation challenges, and accelerator programs. Foster offers a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, and freshmen can apply to the Buerk Center’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Program.
Duke undergraduate students interested in entrepreneurship have a wealth of resources available through the Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, which sponsors start-up challenges, fellowships, hands-on experiences, research opportunities, and more. Undergraduates choose a traditional liberal arts major and have the opportunity to further specialize according to their interests.
Undergraduate students at Boston University have the option to pursue an Entrepreneurship concentration through their bachelor’s degree, which offers an impressive battery of coursework involving everything from small business management to private equity buyouts. The School of Management also houses an Entrepreneurships Programs Office, which offers accelerator events, start-up camps, competitions, boot camps, mentoring programs, incubators, internships, and networking opportunities.
Carnegie Mellon University
Undergraduates at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University are able to work toward an entrepreneurship track beyond their business core curriculum. As one of the first institutions to offer formal courses in entrepreneurship in 1972, Carnegie Mellon is also one of the best. It has been able to refine its coursework over the years to offer specific guidance in new venture creation, funding, research, and execution. It also has specific options for business leaders interested in computer science, engineering, and other sciences. The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers additional resources for students interested in entrepreneurship.
University of Texas at Austin
UT Austin is home to the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship at the McCombs School of Business, a highly developed center of innovation and mentorship for aspiring business leaders. Undergraduates receive a Bachelor of Business Administration and can pursue an interest in entrepreneurship through electives, fellowships, and on-campus incubators. The surrounding Austin entrepreneurial ecosystem also offers a wealth of resources.
University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School at Penn is a household name in the business community, and its reputation for entrepreneurship is no exception. At the undergraduate level, students can opt for a specialization in in Entrepreneurship and Innovation as a subfield within the larger discipline of Management. The school offers a wealth of resources for students, including a business plan competition, a small business development center, and various awards and fellowships.
Cornell University boasts several resources for aspiring entrepreneurs. From an Entrepreneurship across Cornell campaign to its own established Entrepreneur Network to the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, the Cornell campus is saturated with resources for the aspiring entrepreneur. Undergraduates typically begin their entrepreneurial studies in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.
Columbia has a strong alumni entrepreneurial network in the city of New York, a less tangible fact that should not be overlooked. It also houses the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center in the Business School as well as a host of entrepreneurial networks that pair students with some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. Undergraduates in the College can opt to pursue business studies as a part of a larger liberal arts program.
University of Michigan
The Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan is located within the College of Engineering and sponsors a nine-credit Program in Entrepreneurship available to all undergraduates. Beyond this official program, the Center’s resources are vast. The Center offers a multitude of grants, prizes, competitions, training programs, mentoring programs, and more.
New York University
Like Columbia, NYU’s location in the heart of New York City should not be underestimated. Students have access to a wealth of experience and expertise right in their backyards. Beyond the location, however, NYU is home to a litany of entrepreneurial centers, teams, institutes, and resources, including the Leslie eLab, the Berkeley Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Entrepreneurial Institute. Undergraduates can complete a specialization in entrepreneurship as part of their major.
Harvard Business School, famous for its case study method approach to business education, also houses the Rock Center for entrepreneurship, which puts on a new venture competition and hosts a variety of other fellowships and programs. But that’s not all. There is also the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship initiative within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. With resources like these, it’s no surprise that companies such as Facebook and Microsoft got their starts at Harvard.
University of Southern California
The Marshall School of Business and the Leventhal School of Accounting at USC hosts the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, which coordinates graduate and undergraduate programs alike. Undergrads pursue a general business degree but have access not only to the Center’s initiatives but also SoCal’s rich entrepreneurial network. The Center helps shape curriculum, sponsors research, and stages competitions for aspiring entrepreneurs.
University of California, Los Angeles
The B.A. in Business Economics at UCLA is more analytical in nature, and students are required to coordinate their courses with the John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management. The graduate school also hosts the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, so even undergraduates have exposure to some of the best business minds in Los Angeles. The Center offers a bootcamp, a certificate program, and numerous other initiatives and enjoys close relationships with some influential companies such as Johnson & Johnson.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Like many other schools on the top of our list, MIT offers not just specific programs in entrepreneurship but a network of resources and centers. Foremost in this network is the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, which offers an astonishing range of courses from an equally astonishing range of professionals, educators, and practitioners in nearly every industry imaginable. The undergraduate business curriculum is facilitated by the Sloan School of Management offers a Bachelor of Science (SB) in Management Science, which is consistently ranked one of the best undergraduate business programs in the world.
University of California, Berkeley
The undergraduate business program at Berkeley is facilitated through the Haas School of Business, which integrates business knowledge with Berkeley’s larger liberal arts program. Aspiring entrepreneurs will benefit from the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, a leader in innovation, education, and research in the most influential sectors of the global business community. The Center is home to Steve Blank’s famous Lean Launch Pad class, the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps, an accelerator program, and much more.
Stanford consistently ranks at the top of business school lists, and for good reason. Its business school boasts an all-star roster of alumni, innovative programs, a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an infectious energy and optimism about the power of business to shape the world for the good, and a location right in the heart of Silicon Valley. Like many elite schools, undergraduates pursue particular interests within a much broader liberal arts curriculum.