Though traditionally an area where a business school graduate might aim to start up their own enterprise, employers value the talents of graduates who can, in tough economic times, develop fresh sources of revenue, while the graduates themselves find greater security in testing their entrepreneurial ideas with the financial backing of their employers.
“Interestingly, large employers were once reluctant to hire MBAs with significant entrepreneurship coursework for fear that the new hire was only passing time before starting his or her own business,” explains Dr Brian S Anderson, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the Richard Ivey School of Business. “As large firms come to recognize that pursuing innovation and entrepreneurial-centric strategies pays off in terms of better performance - something that research has shown repeatedly - those firms are seeing more value in MBAs that have knowledge of, and experience with entrepreneurship topics.”
However, with a gloomy economic outlook for much of the world, it’s not just businesses that are placing their faith in MBA entrepreneurs, as Séan Rickard, director of the full-time MBA program (2006-2011) at Cranfield School of Management explains:
“Governments have come to the view – rightly or wrongly – that their influence on their economies is greatly weakened in a globalizing world and now put great emphasis on business start ups and entrepreneurship to generate jobs and growth. Not surprising therefore that entrepreneurship has a higher profile in business schools.”
This is one of the reasons that the QS Global 200 Business School Report’s entrepreneurship rating displays such a diverse group of parent nations, with 14 different countries providing homes to the top 50 business schools.
This year’s rating sees Indian business schools performing particularly well, with the two Indian Institutes of Management in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, as well as the Indian School of Business and S P Jain Institute of Management and Research improving their reputation among MBA employers considerably. This tallies with research by Ernst and Young, Entrepreneurs Speak Out: A Call for Action to G20 Governments which found India to possess the greatest entrepreneurial culture among the G20 nations.
However, as in many of the other specialization ratings, business schools based in Europe and North America dominate. It is in these regions that MBA programs constantly evolve in order to suit the growing needs of society for entrepreneurial talent.
Business schools showing notable improvements in this year’s entrepreneurship rating include:
Dr Anderson continues: “I think the entrepreneurship field in scholarly circles is becoming far more accepted as a legitimate course of study, faculty hiring in the area is up, and more resources are being spent in developing very high-quality, experiential learning programs for students.”
One business school that has consistently rated highly for entrepreneurship is The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Wharton was the first business school to develop a fully integrated curriculum of entrepreneurial studies and continues to emphasize entrepreneurship across all disciplines,” says Emily Gohn Cieri, managing director of The Wharton School’s entrepreneurial programs. “We teach students how to acquire an entrepreneurial mindset so they learn to adapt rapidly, throughout the venturing process, to new situations while avoiding fatal flaws and traps.”