The entrepreneurship program at DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business is among the best in the nation, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company named the school No. 20 on its list of “Top 25 Graduate Schools for Entrepreneurship Programs for 2015.”
DePaul also appeared on the companion list of undergraduate entrepreneurship programs at No. 15.
Entrepreneurship program founder Harold Welsch.
To compile the rankings, The Princeton Review solicited survey data about entrepreneurship program offerings from more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate business schools from April through June 2014. The survey, which included more than 60 questions, asked schools about their commitment to entrepreneurship inside and outside the classroom; the percentage of their faculty, students, and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors; the number of their mentorship programs; and their funding for scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies and projects.
The top entrepreneurship program lists are posted on The Princeton Review’s website at www.princetonreview.com/entrepreneur and are featured in a story for Entrepreneur magazine at www.entrepreneur.com/topcolleges. The magazine’s feature article will appear in its October issue.
DePaul’s entrepreneurship program began in 1982 and has grown in popularity among students over the years.
DePaul currently offers 25 entrepreneurship-related graduate courses, and over the last five years, graduates have started 102 companies and have collectively raised $2.5 million in funding. Students and alumni also can receive practical guidance on how to start and grow new ventures from the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center
“We’re a hands-on university,” says program founder and director Harold Welsch (BUS ’66, MBA ’68), the Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship. “We teach our students to be constantly aware of new opportunities by applying their creativity and innovativeness to adapt to new markets.”
A Focus on Practical Learning
DePaul’s real-world approach gave Adam Robinson (MBA ’04) an understanding of how other entrepreneurs had succeeded in business. “Dr. Welsch’s [new venture formation] course brought in seasoned local entrepreneurs to talk to the class, and that was and is the best way to learn: hearing what people before you have done.”
In that class, Robinson wrote the business plan that led to the launch of his first company. Hireology, his current venture, is a web-based platform that helps companies organize and improve their hiring process using data and that just received $10 million in funding from Bain Capital Ventures.
“What I got out of DePaul’s program was immediately applying what we were discussing in class, whether the case studies or the business plan I was developing,” says Robinson, CEO of Hireology and a former member of DePaul’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center advisory board.
“Formal instruction and mentorship from great minds in business
can help leaders prepare for the challenges that come with entrepreneurship,” says Amy Cosper, vice president and editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine. “The schools in our annual list have ranked high for creating some of the best environments to nurture the pursuit of building a business from the ground up.”
Welsch echoes the importance of preparing students to be entrepreneurs. “You just don’t fall into a successful business. It takes originality, insight, research, training and perseverance,” Welsch says. “We in the Driehaus College of Business are in a position to integrate all of our resources in a unique manner to set students on the path toward success.”
A Time for Growth and Connections
The past few years have been especially fruitful for entrepreneurship, Welsch says. “I believe the recession proved to be a shaking out of marginal businesses and provided an occasion for fresh ideas to take hold. Simultaneously, we have marshaled our resources to focus on startup businesses that create most of the new jobs in the economy. Entrepreneurship is the best job-creating machine in existence, and we are in a position to select opportunities in rapidly growing industries,” he says.
Robert Franek, Princeton Review Senior VP / Publisher, praised the schools on the list for their exceptional programs: “We recommend DePaul University and all of the other institutions on our list this year not only for their superb faculties and wide range of courses in entrepreneurship, but also for their out-of-class offerings. Their students have extraordinary opportunities to network with established entrepreneurs, interact on teams that turn promising ideas into possible start-ups, and develop skills to launch their own successful businesses.”
Robinson echoed those sentiments by noting how important connections were during his time at DePaul. “The value of the education I received exceeds just academic learning,” he says. “It’s much more than what I learned—it’s also the people I met and the network I built.”
Learn more about DePaul’s MBA and MS concentrations in entrepreneurship.