By Brooks Whitehurst
Baylor’s entrepreneurship program ranked third in the nation among hundreds of programs across the country, according to a Sept. 16 report by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.
The rankings were based off a survey that asked school administrators their schools’ levels of commitment to entrepreneurship inside and outside the classroom and considered the percentage of faculty, students and alumni involved in entrepreneurial endeavors.
The Princeton Review also considered scholarships and grants available for entrepreneurial studies and their financial support for school-sponsored business plan competitions.
“We’ve long had a great entrepreneurship program,” said Dr. Kendall Artz, senior director of the Baylor entrepreneurship program. “It’s humbling to see the rankings because there’s just so many good programs out there that for Baylor to be considered, given the hundreds out there, is quite the feather in the cap.”
Artz said part of the reason Baylor entrepreneurship stands out among the rest is its commitment to innovation and practical learning.
“The innovation of our program is second to none,” Artz said. “We are a leader in the ability to create new ways to approach business.”
Baylor’s No. 3 ranking places it above the other schools in the Big 12 conference, ahead of the University of Oklahoma, ranked fifth, and Texas Christian University, ranked No. 20.
Though not all specifically entrepreneurship majors, Baylor has 2,112 students enrolled in entrepreneurship courses, the third highest on the list after TCU and the University of Maryland, according to released rankings.
Artz attributed the attractiveness of Baylor’s program to the overall high quality of its faculty and staff, its pursuit of excellence, the support and mentorship from alumni and its focus on applying what students learn in the classroom to the real world.
“We believe you learn entrepreneurship by doing entrepreneurship,” Artz said.
One of the program’s greatest strengths is that all faculty in Baylor entrepreneurship either are or have been entrepreneurs themselves, Artz said.
Austin senior Jared Damman said Baylor’s focus on practical application is what kept him enrolled.
Damman attended three colleges before finally coming to Baylor had planned on dropping out to start a business before he found out about Baylor’s Accelerated Ventures program.
“I found out about Accelerated Ventures and knew I wanted to go to Baylor,” said Damman. “I liked that it provided a sand box for you to actually practice the theories that you’re taught without taking on all the risk of doing it in the real world.”
Accelerated Ventures is a two-semester course offered by Baylor’s entrepreneurship program that allows students the opportunity to create a real businesses with money provided to them by Baylor’s entrepreneurship program.
Damman said the thing he appreciates most about Baylor’s entrepreneurship program is its focus on practice instead of just teaching theories, as well as its dedication to innovation.
“Baylor is always experimenting,” Damman said. “We’re innovative in that the program actually does new things and is willing to risk the money to do that.”