‘All about innovation’: Nationally ranked entrepreneurship program is a force for creativity

By Rory Dulock | Staff Writer

Baylor’s John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise is one of the oldest entrepreneurship programs in the nation — and for the last 15 years, it has been a top-10 program too, according to associate director Kathy Carr.

“We started being ranked a top-10 program well before I even came on board,” Carr said. “And there’s a whole complicated process for the ranking system, and it goes about [and focuses on] research, academics and then programming as well.”

While the reach of the center has changed since its founding in 1977, it still holds the same core values from decades ago.

“[Our core objectives are] to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in all our students by providing the skills needed to create profitable companies and to hold strong in our mission as a Christian university in the belief that entrepreneurs are most inspired by serving a higher purpose, not simply by the pursuit of monetary gain,” the website reads.

Carr said the entrepreneurship department is like an umbrella, and under it are the academic wings: the professors, the teaching, the curriculum and the center itself.

“The Baugh Center is responsible for all of the student engaging programming that tries to connect students with academics outside of the classroom, and also just a lot of different elements on preparing students as future entrepreneurs and just trying to equip them as future business leaders,” Carr said.

The Baugh Center currently houses approximately 300 students who are majoring in entrepreneurship and 165 students who are minoring in it but are no longer pre-business, Carr said.

“There’s been an influx [of students] over the last couple of years. We’ve especially seen some significant growth that could be due to multiple factors,” Carr said. “[One reason is] we are a nationally ranked program, and when I talk to students at orientation, a lot of students already know about that when they’re interested in entrepreneurship. [Another reason is] Baylor as a whole has just seen an increase in admissions for freshmen as well.”

Frisco senior Shea Walk said part of why she chose to pursue a major in entrepreneurship and corporate innovation and marketing at Baylor was because of its recognition as one of the top programs in the nation.

“Coming into Baylor, I had owned my own business,” Walk said. “And so I really wanted to learn the skills to continue to grow and develop it, and I thought that Baylor would be the best fit for me to do that.”

Walk said another reason Baylor’s program stood out was because of the faculty’s investment in students.

“The way that the faculty just pour into the students is what truly makes it a standout program — just the way the faculty really want to help your business succeed but also you succeed,” Walk said. “So I think that mentorship aspect is really what makes it successful.”

Carr also said Baylor’s program is unique compared to those at other business schools because it allows for more creative thinking.

“Entrepreneurship is unique in a way that a lot of the other studies in the business school are very structured. They’re very ‘yes or no,'” Carr said. “Like accounting is yes or no. Finance is yes or no. But entrepreneurship … you are given the permission and you’re actually encouraged to think outside of the box, to color outside of the lines, and so it allows you to pursue that creativity.”

One of the perks of the entrepreneurship program is the ability to do a double major with it and to have a well-rounded education that sets students up for success, Carr said.

“It’s a very unique department, and like I said, it’s all about a culture and it’s all about innovation and forward thinking,” Carr said. “Then from the Baugh Center, our role we take very seriously in preparing students for the future of innovation and to fling that green and gold proudly in the business world.”