If my kid wants to go to college, what schools will allow them to grow their business while pursuing a degree?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
In Ontario, Canada, the University of Waterloo has a co-op program that allows students to work four months and study four months in alternating terms. This means students can study and grow, then work on their business or take on a paid internship in between. This is awesome because Waterloo also has a strong entrepreneurial community.
At Northeastern, they have a co-op program where you spend six months at work between every six months of classes, starting your sophomore year. These co-ops can be for your child’s business if they choose. I’ve had friends who have done that and they have learned a lot; they definitely had a great opportunity to really focus on their startup for awhile before returning to school.
ASU has tons of programs for student entrepreneurs. Not only do they have a curriculum for entrepreneurship, they coordinate mentorship activities and provide a lot of funding grants. It’s impressive to see a school build out its student-entrepreneurship programs so aggressively in just a few short years. Many hot startups are coming out of this college; it’s worth checking out.
The Wharton Entrepreneurship Program at UPenn has several competitions/opportunities to get in front of VCs and acquire mentors. It would be a great environment to grow a business while pursuing a relevant degree.
I was very fortunate to go to Stanford, which has an immensely entrepreneurial culture. I started CollegeSpring four years ago when I was still an undergraduate at Stanford, and it is now my full-time job.
Villanova is investing heavily in their Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship (ICE) and has been steadily climbing as one of the top business schools in the country. Other universities may have more established programs, but there is real value in getting in from the beginning when you have the opportunity to work with key alumni and easy access to university faculty.
My alma mater isn’t going to show up on any list of the best school for entrepreneurs, but I’d recommend it just the same. It’s a tiny school, which means that I had access to professors (both in and out of my major) that I never would have had elsewhere. That meant access to research, support, and even straight-out help. It didn’t hurt that Tulsa is an inexpensive city to start a business in.
In Israel, there’s an international college called Interdisciplinary Center. A few of the top students participate in Zell every year, a program that helps students start businesses during their last year of college. So far, it’s been very successful — quite a few of the startups have had exits, such as Wibiya, The Gifts Project and more.
The University of Wisconsin has a great entrepreneurship program and many students are starting businesses. Students have created many successful businesses while they were students, and many of the professors have experience mentoring student run startups.
Most top entrepreneurs these days come from engineering backgrounds, which is why the University of Michigan is brilliant for creating a Master of Entrepreneurship program through their College of Engineering. The technical, scientific and entrepreneurial talent makes for an excellent seed-stage ecosystem.
The University of Miami boasts The Launch Pad in the Toppel Career Center as well as an Entrepreneurship Program in the School of Business Administration. The Launch Pad serves both beginning and experienced entrepreneurs, assisting with opportunity recognition, feasibility assessment, and strategy for starting and growing companies or nonprofits.
The world-class Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA, is a good option. As the ninth oldest school in the U.S., W&L has produced the most U.S. presidents and CEOs of any school in the nation, boasts a great entrepreneurship program and combines a rigorous curriculum with an equally rigorous social life.
They actually encourage students to grow a business by providing programs like the Entrepreneur Alliance. The Entrepreneur Alliance gives students an opportunity to be a part of pitch competitions, be mentored by other successful entrepreneurs, and many other activities that will lead to a students success in the business world.