The University’s Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies will hold onto a top rank for another year.
The Princeton Review announced Monday that the program, a part of the Ross School of Business, made its list of the top 25 entrepreneurial graduate programs, jumping from fifth last year to second place.
More than 2,000 schools were surveyed to compose the final list of rankings, which will be released in the October issue of Entrepreneur magazine. The rankings are based on the effectiveness of mentorship programs, the involvement of students, faculty and alumni in entrepreneurial work and the school’s commitment to entrepreneurship.
Babson College in Massachusetts clenched the top spot in the graduate school category, and Brigham Young University came in third.
Thomas Kinnear, the executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute, said the program is designed to provide an immersive experience for students pursuing careers in business. He noted that students work with actual start-up companies, deciding whether to invest with venture funds provided by the program.
“They spend time in a real start-up,” Kinnear said. “They actually invest real dollars. We think it’s a superior way to teach. You could have a class in lectures on how to do venture capital, but until you make a deal, you don’t really understand.”
In addition to investment experience, students participate in hands-on competitions, including the Michigan Business Challenge, as well as summer internship programs. The program also offers classes, like funding or business acquisition, that many other schools don’t provide, Kinnear said.
With the Institute’s support, Business graduate student Josh Smith founded his own start-up company last summer. As part of the program, Smith gained access to financial support, mentoring and other resources to help develop his business.
“(The Institute is) not only encouraging, but supporting students to go out and take a risk and apply what they are learning in a very unique context,” Smith said.
Princeton Review publisher Robert Franek congratulated the top schools in a statement Monday.
“We commend each of these schools not only for giving their students a first-rate classroom experience in business practices, but for their cross-disciplinary approaches to entrepreneurship education,” Franek said.
Expanding on this goal, Kinnear emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship programs, diversified businesses and emerging startups for the future of the state of Michigan.
“It’s being referred to as Michigan’s new economy,” Kinnear said. “We can (no longer) be thought of as the Rust Belt.”