Top MBAs for Entrepreneurs

According to Financial Times, studying for an MBA turned Samantha Penabad into an entrepreneur, even though, as the former strategy manager at Accenture says, “I didn’t come to school to start something.” At Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, however, she had an idea for a digital donation platform to help individuals invest in philanthropic ventures.

Tutors encouraged her to develop the business plan, a classmate from the finance sector became a co-founder and they will launch the service, called the GivingFund, later this month.

Ms. Penabad, 29, will not be counted in the school’s statistics on graduates starting businesses immediately after graduation because she is going to work full-time in a strategy and operations role at Google in New York. “Being around so many people at Haas who had taken the plunge themselves, gave me the confidence to say ‘I am a founder’,” she says. “But this is still a side hustle.”

Many top business schools on the FT’s annual global MBA ranking list have reported a dip in start-up activity this year, particularly in the US. A rise in the number of students setting up businesses as a side project, like Ms Penabad, is one explanation.

Stanford Graduate School of Business, which topped both the Global MBA ranking and the list of top MBA courses for entrepreneurs published on Monday, recorded a drop in the proportion of students starting a business within three years of graduation, from 36 percent in 2017 to 22 percent this year.

In 2017, 52 percent of the MBA class from Babson College’s Olin Graduate School of Business reported starting a company in the three years after graduation. This year the proportion has dropped to 37 percent.

Behind these figures, there are signs that MBA students are just as interested in being entrepreneurial as in previous years, but do not see the need to give up a full-time job offer to start a business.

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