Entrepreneurship ranked No. 2 nationally

By Sara Tirrito
Staff writer

The John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship’s undergraduate program at Baylor was ranked second nationally by the Princeton Review in September 2010, moving up two spots from its 2009 fourth place ranking. The University of Houston’s undergraduate program was the only one to rank higher than Baylor’s.

Entrepreneurship is the process of beginning a new business venture, and Baylor’s program teaches students how to create that business from scratch, said Dr. Kendall Artz, professor and chair of management and entrepreneurship and director of entrepreneurial studies.

“It’s rewarding for outside organizations to recognize all the really good work being done by all the faculty and staff,” Artz said. “It’s been a sustained commitment for a long period of time to develop new programs and provide services to our students, and it’s nice to get some recognition for that.”

However, Artz said the department will continue to strive to improve the program.

“Rankings are not the goal,” Artz said. “Rankings are just a validation of a program. A goal is just to continue to make the entrepreneurship program as good as we possibly can. It isn’t going to change our behavior, it isn’t going to change our striving to continually improve the program just because we get a No. 2 ranking.”

The Princeton Review conducts a yearly survey of more than 2,000 institutions to determine the top 25 undergraduate and top 25 graduate entrepreneurship programs from across the nation.

The various mentoring opportunities and range of courses offered by Baylor’s program sets it apart from others, Artz said.

“We just offer a much broader range of courses, areas of specialization [than other programs],” Artz said. “Really, whatever a student’s interest is, we can provide educational opportunities in those areas and a lot of programs simply don’t have the capacity to be able to do that.”

The department offers programs including an entrepreneurship living and learning center and the technology entrepreneurship initiative, which allows for collaboration between engineers, entrepreneurs and the Baylor Angel Network, which provides start-up capital to entrepreneurs with strong business plans. Dawn Maitz, associate director of the J.F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship, said Baylor’s Christian mission, experienced faculty in the department and global relationships that help to enhance student learning all help make the program stand out.

“It’s a combination of the Christian mission, the excellent in-class learning and then also the opportunities to take it into the real world and to have the experience of working with companies — all different kinds of opportunities for collaboration, real-world projects. It’s great stuff,” Maitz said. “And we’re just always looking to improve.”

Maroa, Ill., junior Kasey Barillas, an entrepreneurship minor, said the department’s ranking doesn’t surprise her.

“Baylor’s entrepreneurship department is excellent,” Barillas said. “It is one of the places I feel at home on campus, among faculty and students I know are willing to fight for you and listen to you as a student, and who are willing to listen to good ideas and help you pursue them. The connections that the entrepreneurship department affords its students are invaluable.”

The Princeton Review rankings are based on whether the program offers a major or minor and the courses offered: factors including internships, experiential learning and consulting for small business owners, the percentage of the school’s population enrolled in the program and the percentage taking a course related to the program.

The percentage of students who graduated and launched a business, the percentage of those students who were successful and the percentage of the faculty who began, purchased or ran a successful business are also considered.

Partnerships with other schools, the number of non-curriculum-based activities and competitions, recognized clubs, organizations, and officially sponsored mentorship programs the program has and the program’s scholarship offerings factor into the rankings as well.