Penn State Ranked Among Top Schools for Entrepreneurship Studies

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has been ranked as the No. 21 school for undergraduate entrepreneurship studies in the United States by The Princeton Review in its annual ratings of the top schools for entrepreneurship studies. Among schools in the Northeast, Penn State came in at No. 5.

The 2022 ratings were announced by a partnership of The Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship magazine on Nov. 16. Last year, Penn State ranked No. 36 on the national list.

The organizations collected data for the entrepreneurship ratings as part of a focused June-August 2021 survey of more than 300 schools with offerings in entrepreneurship studies and programs. The ratings are based on information provided directly by the universities on more than 40 unique entrepreneurship-focused data points, including course offerings; entrepreneurial course enrollment percentages; student and alumni ventures; business plan and pitch competition availability; and the availability of scholarships and financial aid.

The new Top 25 ranking was based off a comprehensive set of data that was drawn from across Penn State’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Smeal College of Business, the intercollege Entrepreneurship & Innovation (ENTI) Minor, the Center for Penn State Student Entrepreneurship, and the Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. The full methodology can be reviewed here.

“The intercollege access of Penn State undergraduate entrepreneurship courses is unique and recognized as an international model,” said Vice President for Undergraduate Education Yvonne Gaudelius. “Over the last 10 years, over 19,000 students from 169 majors have enrolled in at least one course offered from the Center’s intercollege minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI). Every one of Penn State’s undergraduate students from any of our campuses has access to at least three entrepreneurship courses. Undergraduate entrepreneurship is also customized at most Penn State campuses to meet the needs of local students and build networks with regional entrepreneurs and business support services.”

In a presentation to the Board of Trustees at its Nov. 12 meeting, Penn State President Eric J. Barron shared the impact of the University’s statewide economic development and job creation efforts that serve students and Pennsylvania citizens through a collaborative network of entrepreneurial support and resources.

In addition to the Smeal College of Business Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIENT) major, students at Penn State have access to their choice of one of 10 different tracks for an Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI) minor.

The courses develop skills, knowledge and values in problem solving, innovation, opportunity recognition, self-efficacy, leadership, ethics, communications and learning from failure. To meet the students’ broad range of entrepreneurship and innovation interests, core courses establish foundational knowledge, and then students select a concentration cluster aligned to specific areas of study.

“With 10 tracks in the ENTI minor, there is an entrepreneurship focus for every student,” said Anne Hoag, director of the Center for Penn State Student Entrepreneurship and associate professor in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. “We offer tracks in focus areas ranging from hospitality and journalism to bio-tech, art and engineering.

“We encourage our students to be entrepreneurial in all aspects of their personal and professional lives,” said Hoag. “If we can teach students to think like entrepreneurs, they will be successful no matter what endeavor they pursue.”

In addition to the CIENT major and the ENTI minor on the academic side, the Invent Penn State initiative acts as a driving force for the Penn State entrepreneurial ecosystem outside the classroom. 

“Students at Penn State are uniquely positioned to learn the core principles of starting a business and what makes a startup successful in the classroom, to then head over to a LaunchBox or innovation hub to apply those lessons in building their own startup,” said James Delattre, associate vice president for research and director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization. “The industry knowledge brought by entrepreneurship professors and the mentorship available through the different LaunchBoxes, in combination with the funding opportunities through our various pitch competitions, really sets up our students for success in their innovative endeavors.”

Launched as a critical president priority by Barron in 2015, Invent Penn State is a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success. Invent Penn State functions alongside a student’s entrepreneurial classes by presenting them with opportunities to learn from entrepreneurial mentors, conduct customer discovery, pitch their ideas and potentially acquire funding to help build their startup.

As part of Invent Penn State, there are 21 LaunchBoxes and Innovation Hubs embedded within Commonwealth Campus communities across the state, providing a wide array of no-cost resources needed by entrepreneurs and innovators. The network offers startup accelerator programs, coworking space, mentorship opportunities and pitch competitions to Penn State students and the wider Pennsylvania community, and has engaged over 13,000 faculty, staff and students in just five years of existence.

“We are seeing sustained success in growing new startup companies through the Invent Penn State initiative,” said Lora Weiss, senior vice president for research. “The recent success of our student founders in raising venture capital is not only driving economic development and job creation in Pennsylvania, but also was a large contributing factor to our national ranking.” 

To view the complete list of top undergraduate programs across the U.S. and learn more about this year’s ranking methodology, visit Princeton Review’s web page.

Image: The bell tower of Old Main on Penn State’s University Park campus. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn State. Creative Commons

SOURCE: Penn State

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