Where are the Best B-School Startup Labs?

business school startup labs
IE Startup Lab in Madrid provides year-round workshops for students to develop their business plan for launch, faculty mentoring, training in marketing, funding, strategy and legal aspects of entrepreneurship.

Today’s MBA programs offer a broad range of courses in entrepreneurship, as well as  opportunities for networking with established entrepreneurs, launching start-ups, and developing the skills needed to start successful businesses.

In fact, startup labs on business school campuses are arguably one of the best perks offered at top-ranked MBA programs. Here, would-be impresarios experiment and fail in a safe environment without jeopardizing their livelihood in the real world.

Even if alumni don’t become entrepreneurs immediately after graduating, their MBA degree provides career flexibility. It also sets them up with crucial skills that will help them start businesses years later.

What Exactly is a Startup Lab?

Basically, a b-school startup lab helps budding entrepreneurs with branding, marketing, and technology services. Each of these aspects help them strengthen the foundation of their business in order to eventually bring investors on board. Did you know that Instagram, Trulia and Stubhub are just a few examples of well-known companies born in a b-school startup lab?

Check out this new piece on which business schools offer the best startup labs featured in BusinessBecause.  The article’s author Janette Chien shares a list of the top ten MBA incubators around the world. You may be surprised to discover many of these stellar programs are not at the most highly ranked business schools.

Global Top Ten of Business School Startup Labs

  1. IE Business School (Spain)
  2. iDendron HKU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Hub (Hong Kong)
  3. NUS Start-up Runway (Singapore)
  4. DMZ at Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada)
  5. ESSEC Ventures at ESSEC Business School (Paris, France)
  6. Incubator Program at London Business School (London, UK)
  7. SRH Startup Lab at the SRH Hochschule Berlin University (Berlin, Germany)
  8. AU Entrepreneurship Incubator at Kogod School of Business (Washington, DC)
  9. Startup Aggieland at Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)
  10. Startup Garage at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Stanford University

Earlier, when we checked in with several admissions departments asking them to share a cool company born of their MBA program for our “Ask the Adcom” series, the sheer number of successful examples we learned about really bowled us over.

Booming Businesses Launched at B-School

For example, ModCloth – a vintage clothing, e-commerce business with hundreds of millions in annual revenue – sprang from Tepper School of Business alums Susan Gregg Koger and her husband Eric Koger.

“The Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon really encouraged us to stick with it, and helped me decide to sell my ownership in my first business to pursue ModCloth, which was the bigger opportunity,” Eric said.

SMU Cox School of Business student Gabriella Draney Zielke co-founded Tech Wildcatters – a Top 10 seed accelerator for technology startups.  She worked with the Caruth Center for Entrepreneurship while pursuing her MBA, explained John Roeder, Assistant Dean of Graduate Admissions at Cox.

Rodrigo Malta, Director of Admissions at UT McCombs School of Business, shared that the Texas MBA-powered start-up Beatbox Beverages struck a deal with business mogul Mark Cuban on the hit ABC show Shark Tank. For a one-third stake in the company, Cuban invested one million dollars.

Likewise, when our “Ask the Adcom” series put out a query about the resources available for student with startup fever, the array of available options we learned about amazed us.

Ultimately, business school has become the safe place to test out your most creative, outrageous and ambitious ideas. There’s no pressure or fear of failure if that company or those ideas don’t work. In fact, failure is just as valuable a learning tool as success.

Failure offers students the chance to find out what went wrong and refine their business models. That way, they can nail it next time out in the real world, when the stakes are much higher.

Did you know that SBC offers test prep services? We’ve recruited a team of best in class instructors who will help you recognize your individual learning style, discover holes in your foundation knowledge and set manageable yet ambitious goals. We focus on a deep understanding of the content, and later a grasp of smart test strategies. Let SBC’s long tradition of excellence support all aspects of your application process.

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