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22% Of Full-Time MBA Graduates Become Start-Up Founders

More MBA students than last year are looking to entrepreneurship, as business schools begin to offer a breadth of start-up training.

Mon Nov 10 2014

More full-time MBA students are opting for entrepreneurship instead of corporate careers, according to new data from a survey of graduates from the world’s 100-highest ranked MBA programs.

Some 22% of full-time MBA graduates are start-up founders, up 4% on last year, according to data from the FT MBA Rankings 2015, yet to be released.

The figures – to be published in January – add weight to the theory that business school students are more open to pursuing risky ventures than stable, high-salary jobs. They also show that business schools’ efforts to train entrepreneurs with specialist master’s programs and MBA electives are starting to bear fruit.

The shifting mentality of young managers has spurred these institutions to change the way they operate and deliver courses. Stanford GSB, for example, has opened a series of programs for technology entrepreneurs in collaboration with companies such as Microsoft, and Imperial College Business School and the London Stock Exchange opened a program for fast-growing ventures – Elite – which seeks to connect students with potential investors.

While the survey data are encouraging, many business schools have a higher percentage of students entering the start-up scene. At the McDonough School of Business in Washington, up to 50% of students in a recent executive MBA class became start-up founders.

The latest career reports also reflect this change in mentality. At Wharton School, once regarded as a feeder to investment banks, 55 MBAs from 2014’s class started their own businesses or are self-employed, up 50% from five years ago.

This trend is also evident across the EMBA scene, which, although geared towards executives, is producing classes which see nearly a third of graduates start businesses or enter into partnerships with others.

And of the top-70 Master in Management programs, 14% of graduates are starting businesses.