Home > Uncategorized > The Best Colleges for Entrepreneurs

Comments 0 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg decided they didn’t need diplomas to build creative enterprises, but for many people, a college education is an important step toward building a successful business. Like any student with specific career ambitions, an aspiring entrepreneur will research and consider the colleges and universities most likely to help them achieve their goals.

The Top Colleges for Entrepreneurs

Whether it’s an impressive faculty, strong alumni network, challenging curriculum or opportunities to experiment, a prospective student needs to find an academic institution that will give them a great return on investment. That goes for all students, not just those dreaming of their first startup, but as far as entrepreneurs are concerned, College Choice published its list of the top 50 colleges for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here are the top 10:

10. Cornell University
9. Columbia University
8. University of Michigan
7. New York University
6. Harvard University
5. University of Southern California
4. University of California, Los Angeles
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2. University of California, Berkeley
1. Stanford University

College Choice determined the rankings by considering a number of the schools’ offerings. Robert Hand, lead editor for the ranking, explained in an email to Credit.com:

“The methodology for compiling the list was based on the number of entrepreneurial jobs held and companies started by alumni of each respective school; resources available to students (such as incubators, start-up competitions, and the like); breadth of programs; and geographical proximity to existing/established entrepreneurial ecosystems.”

Though total number of companies started by alumni was a factor in the rankings, College Choice also considered the size of the school when looking at the number of entrepreneurs it produced. Hand gave the example of Babson College (No. 33), which has an undergraduate and graduate enrollment of about 3,200. Proportionate to its size, Hand said its alumni started a lot of companies.

Thinking Beyond Business School

Something to keep in mind with this list: It only considered graduates of business programs. If an alum of the liberal arts college or biology department started a company, it wasn’t counted. On top of that, a lot of these programs are quite selective, so a prospective student needs to consider their chances of getting in before setting his or her heart on one.

There’s a lot more to choosing the right college than applying to top-ranked schools. Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities noted that the schools on College Choice’s list are great places to receive an education, not just in business, which likely contributes to the success of their alumni. As such, the overall quality of education a school provides may be more important to potential entrepreneurs than a business program alone.

“It’s not ‘I’m going to go to X institution because it has a certificate of entrepreneurship,'” she said. “You choose your institution for it’s high-quality learning, and take advantage of its programs.”

Rather than merely consulting admission materials and rankings lists, Schneider said prospective students need to ask a lot of questions of the schools they’re considering by reaching out to alumni, faculty and department heads.

“Too often, students settle for the feel of the campus community when they go there and don’t begin to ask the questions, if there is an intelligently designed approach to the undergraduate education,” she said. “Everybody has departments and majors, but what are the ones you’re most likely to choose and how intentional are the departments, the curriculum, and how creative are they?”

Failing to deeply consider the value of your prospective education can be problematic, especially if you borrow money for college. You want to make sure your investment will be worth it after you graduate, otherwise you may end up among the millions of Americans struggling with student loan debt and all the financial turmoil that can come with it. Missed payments on student loan debt can be a drag on your credit scores. You can see how your student loans are impacting your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

More on Student Loans:

Image: shironosov

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team