Tuesday September 22, 2009

Entrepreneurial Excellence

The School of Business Administration's entrepreneurship program is ranked in the top-10 in the nation for the fourth straight year, making it the highest-ranked undergraduate program among Catholic universities nationwide and among all schools in the Midwest.

For the fourth straight year, the University of Dayton has been ranked as one of the top-10 undergraduate entrepreneurship programs in the nation in the 2009 list of best colleges for entrepreneurial programs released Sept. 22 by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.

The University's program is ranked seventh in the nation, making it the highest-ranked undergraduate program among Catholic universities nationwide and among all schools in the Midwest (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois).

More than 2,300 schools were surveyed in the seventh annual ranking, which picks the nation's top 25 undergraduate and top 25 graduate programs for entrepreneurship. The rankings can be seen at www.entrepreneur.com/topcolleges.

"The strength of our program comes from the number of opportunities students have to be involved in actual business creation," said Matthew Shank, dean of the University's School of Business Administration. "Starting with the sophomore experience of creating and running a microbusiness to the teamwork of the business plan competition to the senior capstone project, our students are engaged in real businesses and actively apply their learning in the marketplace."

Schools were evaluated on broad criteria including academics and requirements, students and faculty, and outside-the-classroom experiences. Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review wrote that high-ranking programs demonstrated particular strength in hands-on learning that translates into real-world business experience.

Dean McFarlin, chair of the University's management and marketing department and NCR Professor of Global Leadership Development, said the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine gave special attention to the University's emphasis on helping students learn how to build relationships and work in networks.

"One of the things we know about successful entrepreneurship is that you typically don't do it by being a lone wolf," McFarlin said. "Entrepreneurs build a network of outside advisors, angel investors and people who help them refine their ideas, develop business plans, attract resources and then launch the company.

"All of our entrepreneurship students go through all of their required entrepreneurship classes as well as several of their business core courses together in cohorts. They build networks over a three-year period and learn how to develop relationships and work in those networks," he said.

According to Amy Cosper, vice president and editor-in-chief at Entrepreneur, “While each program is unique, their inclusion in this ranking solidifies their place in an elite category of institutions offering a superlative level of education and preparedness that will play a key role in ensuring the success of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.”

The University of Dayton's entrepreneurship program offers a number of hands-on, real-world learning opportunities:

*Business students run Flyer Enterprises, the nation’s fourth-largest student-run business with more than $1.4 million in annual revenue. Only Harvard, Georgetown and Stanford boast larger student-run operations. See more at http://www.flyerenterprises.com.

*Sophomore entrepreneur students receive $5,000 to create and run their own micro-businesses through the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. All profits go to charity.

*The annual Business Plan Competition gives students an opportunity to compete for $50,000 in cash prizes as they plan and pitch the launch of a new venture. Read more at http://www.udbpc.com.

* With a $1 million donation from Chicago alumnus Ron McDaniel, "Flyer Angels," one of a handful of undergraduate angel investment groups in the country, will be launched in 2010. Students will partner with a local angel organization to evaluate new venture business plans and decide whether to invest in them.

Dean McFarlin at 937-229-4928 and Dean.McFarlin@notes.udayton.edu