Fourth consecutive year: Olin tops P&Q ranking for MBA entrepreneurship

  • November 2, 2022
  • By Kurt Greenbaum
  • 4 minute read

For the fourth consecutive year, WashU Olin’s MBA entrepreneurship program ranked first globally in Poets & Quants‘ ranking thanks to solid results across all 16 dimensions of its methodology.

Indeed, Olin ranked first in only one of the 16 ranking categories—the percentage of MBA students involved with startups—but placed strong enough in all of them to push it to number one overall.

Doug Villhard
Doug Villhard

Other ranking categories included the percentage of startups launched by students, the percentage of entrepreneurship electives offered and the ratio of startup money made available to MBA students.

“The recognition affirms what we already know: For us, entrepreneurship education isn’t a trend. It’s foundational,” said interim Dean Anjan Thakor. “When I hear from students about what they’re learning at Olin, fostering their entrepreneurial spirit is always near or on top of the list.”

Olin ultimately ranked #1 well ahead of its closest competitor in the 2022 ranking. The University of Michigan ranked second. ESADE, Babson College and the London School of Business rounded out the top five in the ranking. This is P&Q‘s ranking methodology.

Doug Villhard, an Olin alum and startup founder as well as the academic director of Olin’s entrepreneurship program, noted that sweeping the first four years at #1 in the P&Q ranking is further affirmed by the school’s showing in other rankings. For example, Olin placed third for entrepreneurship in Bloomberg Businessweek‘s recent ranking and fourth in the midwest by the Princeton Review.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment by our students and our faculty,” Villhard said. “We are humbled and appreciative of this recognition, yet in many ways, we feel like we’re just getting started. More than half of our MBA students have entrepreneurial aspirations. Year after year, our faculty is committed to continually improving our curriculum and programs. It’s a great time to be at Olin.”

Since the last P&Q ranking, Olin has added an entrepreneurship fellowship program that provides living space, full tuition support and mentorship to the five members of its debut cohort.

Entrepreneurship is ‘baked in’

Madeline DuCharme, MBA 2024

“Olin’s reputation for entrepreneurship is one of the main reasons I chose to attend, and I have still been blown away by the opportunities from here,” said Madeline DuCharme, MBA 2024, and one of the fellowship recipients. “I love how developing an entrepreneurial mindset is baked into so much of the curriculum, even outside of the great entrepreneurship classes, and the resources like the Skandalaris Center that connect Olin students with other students at WashU.”

P&Q highlighted that program in its coverage, noting that “With the pillar and emphasis on entrepreneurship in place, Olin continues to expand its entrepreneurial resources for students.” The b-school news publication also reported that Olin “expanded its startup consulting projects, pairing students with startups on the ground in Israel, Berlin, San Francisco, New York, and St. Louis. WashU also recently launched an accelerator space called the League focused on students interested in ideas in the digital and tech space.”

Buddy Foster, MBA 2024
Buddy Foster, MBA 2024

Another fellowship recipient, Buddy Foster, MBA 2024, noted the school’s dedication to working with startups, accelerators, incubators and venture firms.

“As a student, I see day in and day out how the school continues to make entrepreneurship a pillar and focus within our classes and extra-curricular activities,” he said. “It truly is a filter through which we are taught to see the business world. I was given the advice that I should focus on programs that gave me the most access to startups and opportunities to work within the entrepreneurial field.”

Another entrepreneurship fellow, Cherise Brookes, MBA 2024, also expressed her pride in attending a school so honored.

“I am excited to tap into all the resources that are available to us through the incredible faculty like Mr. Doug Villhard and Michael Wall and the many networking opportunities that come along with being enrolled at a world-class institution such as Olin Business School,” she said.

An interdisciplinary approach

Cherise Brookes, MBA 2024
Cherise Brookes, MBA 2024

As the story goes on, “One of the things that makes the MBA at WashU—and other schools on this list—so special is the interdisciplinary aspects and opportunities presented in congruence with the university and community.”

“Olin is located right on the main campus and there is an intentional approach between the leadership of Olin and the leadership of the university-wide Skandalaris Center to make sure collaborations and connections can not only happen but also thrive,” II Luscri, managing director of the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship and vice provost for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at WashU, told the publication.

That broad approach also includes Olin’s outreach beyond its borders to foster and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit. The school is sponsoring—for the second year in a row—a global pitch competition with a $50,000 top prize called the BIG IdeaBounce. That competition, hosted in partnership with P&Q, had a successful first year and is in the early stages of soliciting entries this year.

These are the 16 categories (and their weight) in the P&Q ranking, with Olin’s placement.

  • Pct startups launched (15%). Olin ranked 2nd (20%)
  • Pct ENT elective courses (15%). Olin ranked 15 (24%)
  • Pct MBAs in ENT clubs (10%). Olin ranked 7 (45%)
  • Ratio: Students to incubator space (10%). Olin ranked 4 (191.6703297)
  • Ratio: MBAs to ENT-in-residence (10%). Olin ranked 5 (0.1758241758)
  • Ratio: Startup money to MBAs (10%). Olin ranked 6 ($1,416)
  • Pct Student entering VC or PE (5%). Olin ranked 11 (3.20%)
  • Pct MBA faculty teaching ENT (5%). Olin ranked 2 (30%)
  • Pct students joining a startup (2.5%). Olin ranked 14 (7.20%)
  • Pct MBAs taking ENT electives (2.5%). Olin ranked 4 (85%)
  • ENT core courses (2.5%). Olin ranked 16 (6%)
  • Pct MBAs involved with startups (2.5%). Olin ranked 1 (100%)
  • Ratio: MBAs to mentorship hours (2.5%). Olin ranked 3 (16.15934066)
  • Ratio: Mentors to MBA students (2.5%). Olin ranked 2 (2.412087912)
  • Pct faculty involved with a startup (2.5%). Olin ranked 12 (57%)
  • Ratio: Funding available to MBA students (2.5%). Olin ranked 9 (1091.736264)

Poets&Quants' 2023 Top 50 MBAs For Entrepreneurship

Find out who's #1 and hear from Poets&Quants Editor-in-Chief, John A. Byrne, and our top program, as to why an MBA matters in the startup world.

About the Author

Kurt Greenbaum

Kurt Greenbaum

As communications director for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to find and share great stories about our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I've worked for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management as communications director and as a journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sun-Sentinel in South Florida and the Chicago Tribune.

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