These colleges don’t wait for the next big thing—they create it! With start-up businesses on the rise, college students are drafting business plans on the floors of their dorm rooms and graduating with a mean education in entrepreneurship. This list recognizes the schools that fully support their Zuckerbergs-in-the-making and boast a roster of successful alumni who made it big in the risky business of start-up companies.
10. RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN (Providence, Rhode Island)
RISD is a powerhouse when it comes to training the next heat of game changers. The school's career center makes the most of its alumni’s knowledge by hosting a conference for students called “The Entrepreneur Mindshare,” where guest lecturers (including RISD alums and business mentors) give entrepreneurial advice on marketing and funding. Celebrated alums from this forward-thinking institution include two of the geniuses (Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia) behind Airbnb, a service that turns spare residential rooms into hotel rooms for travelers.
9. BAYLOR UNIVERSITY (Waco, Texas)
Consistently ranked one of the top five schools for entrepreneurship by The Princeton Review since 2009, Baylor is a top-notch school for Zuckerberg 2.0s. In April, the Baylor Angel Network (BAN), an investor network that provides starter cash to help launch businesses, announced that it was funding four Baylor student start-ups for at least three years. The start-ups included TourMuseo, which hopes to replace museum audio guides with a smartphone app, and Thread Collection, a collaboration platform for aspiring fashion designers.
8. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (Los Angeles, California)
Many recent grads of USC are turning away from the corporate route to pursue entrepreneurial passions, including five grads from 2012 who teamed up to create Tint. Tint combines multiple social media platforms into a real-time feed for websites, a concept that earned the team $350,000 in investments. The main creator of the project claimed USC prepared him as an entrepreneur by encouraging networking… and working really hard. Along with the practical advice, USC has provided useful resources such as an entrepreneur club, called The USC eClub, that has been helping out entrepreneur hopefuls for more than a decade.
7. MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
With the amount of whiz kids at MIT, it’s no wonder that so many alums have become successful entrepreneurs. MIT alum Donald Sadoway made a breakthrough in renewable energy technology with his liquid metal battery start-up and received $15 million in funding, including money from Bill Gates. Many people at MIT think big and start early. The founders of Lingt, a language-learning software for teachers to use in their classrooms, started the business while they were students preparing to study abroad in China. They struggled with the learning pronunciations in a large class with one professor, and, as any good entrepreneur does, they created something to solve their problem.
6. BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY (Provo, Utah)
Entrepreneur ranked BYU’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology as the sixth best business school in the country. Students at BYU are learning from the masters, as 90 percent of the Rollins Center’s faculty is entrepreneurs themselves! With 20 mentorship programs and 50 percent of recent Rollins grads starting their own business, you can expect a BYU student to be the founder of the next big company that rolls in dough. And current students are off to a great start—in spring alone, they have earned a record-breaking half million dollars in funding from contest winnings! Among the brilliant companies were Invironment, which created a spray technology that makes plastic trash degrade faster, and Owlet, a company that created a baby monitor that sends vital signs straight to a parent’s smartphone.
5. HARVARD UNIVERSITY (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Of course, no future Zuckerberg list would be complete without the original Zuckerberg’s alma mater (although he never graduated)! Harvard is the epitome of an entrepreneur factory, graduating more self-made billionaires than any other college in the world. The University of Pennsylvania, who was ranked second on that list, doesn’t even come close with less than half the amount of billionaire graduates as Harvard. While Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are the dominant poster boys of success, many Harvard women have also founded notable start-ups, such as the founders of Angie's List and Gilt Groupe. In fact, this very list wouldn’t be possible without three female Harvard entrepreneurs in particular: the founders of Her Campus!
4. BABSON COLLEGE (Wellesley, Massachusetts)
At Babson, you become an entrepreneur whether you like it or not! All students are required to take a Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship course and are loaned $3,000 to start their own company (a class where they give you money = best grad requirement ever!).
At the end of the course, all profits are donated to charity and students must close up shop so they can see the full circle of operating a business. This excellent hands-on approach is probably one reason Forbes named the school an "an entrepreneurial powerhouse.” According to Kevin Liu, a senior at Babson, “Babson is a melting pot for creativity and innovation—fueling our #1 in our entrepreneurship ranking for nearly 20 years!” Some notable alums from Babson include Arthur Blank, the billionaire co-founder of The Home Depot, and William D. Green, former CEO of Accenture.
3. BARUCH COLLEGE (New York, New York)
Baruch ensures its students have fine-tuned their business know-how before jumping into the real world. The school has developed a new Ph.D. program to match their bachelor's and master's degree programs in entrepreneurship. In 2012, for the fifth year in a row, The Princeton Review ranked Baruch in its “Top 25 Undergraduate Programs for Entrepreneurship.” Recent graduates do the title justice, with 22 percent of them starting their own business soon after graduation. Baruch students prep for start-up success in local business contests, such as fast pitch competitions, where students have a short amount of time to present their company to investors. Baruch’s campus goes above and beyond to foster a strong entrepreneurial community for students. For example, the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship is a resource center where student entrepreneurs can seek support from other students and faculty from Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business, among other alumni and volunteers.
2. UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON (Houston, Texas)
At UH, businessmen and businesswomen go big or go home. Named the number one Most Entrepreneurial College by The Huffington Post, the University of Houston hosts an intensive weekend project called 3 Day Startup, where 40 students with different expertise collaborate to create a technology company. The school hosts this all-resources-provided event to encourage students to pursue their ideas and to make a point about the potential of a little time and a lot of talent. The goal is for collaborators to continue the business after the weekend is over, which usually happens—of the 38 projects, 33 have gone on to collectively raise more than $8 million and 13 have been accepted into start-up accelerators. If anyone knows how to get the most out of a weekend cram session, it’s the University of Houston.
1. STANFORD UNIVERSITY (Stanford, California)
Stanford (a.k.a. “Get Rich U,” according to The New Yorker) is top among campuses with an amazing start-up culture (Online Colleges gave Stanford the number one spot for Colleges with the Most Inspiring Startup Culture). Members of the Stanford community, including students, professors, and alums, created an organization called StartX to help their entrepreneurs develop their tech start-ups. StartX has an accelerator program for companies who have at least one founder with a specific Stanford affiliation. It’s a nonprofit organization that provides members with $100,000 worth of resources and access to a network of fellow alumni and entrepreneurs—all free of charge! This means Stanford graduates can tackle the challenges common to start-ups, knowing their alma mater’s got their backs. Notable alumni from the west coast school include the founders of Google, HP, and Yahoo! We’re glad these brilliant leaders pursued their goals to better the world (where would we be without Google Maps? Literally…)—Google’s corporate motto is even “Don’t be evil.”