By Geoff Larcom / EMU
YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University’s graduate program in Entrepreneurship has been ranked among the top 50 programs in the nation by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. This key program in the University’s College of Business has been a point of pride for the University due to its success in graduating students who move on to open their own companies and businesses.
In its rankings, The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur noted schools that made the organization’s ranking lists for 2021 offer exceptional entrepreneurship programs.
“Their faculties are outstanding, their courses have robust experiential components, and their students receive outstanding mentoring and networking support,” said Rob Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor in chief. “We strongly recommend these fine schools to anyone considering a college major or graduate degree in this burgeoning field.”
Eastern’s high ranking is featured in Entrepreneur magazine’s Top 50 Best Grad Programs for Entrepreneurs in 2021 website and will be included in the December print edition available on newsstands on Dec. 1.
Eastern Michigan University was selected based on a survey last summer of administrators at more than 300 undergraduate and graduate schools offering entrepreneurship studies.
“This fine recognition is reflective of the overall quality of programs in the College of Business,” said Eastern Michigan University President James Smith. “We pride ourselves on the tremendous success of students who complete graduate business degrees at Eastern, whether our MBA, Finance, Accounting, Integrated Marketing Communications, or others. The importance of this ranking for the Entrepreneurship program creates an even greater level of pride for all of us. Our data show the vast majority of EMU graduates are employed in their desired professions within three months of graduation.”
Growing national recognition
Kenneth Lord, dean of the College of Business, noted that Eastern has long been a key player in the dynamic entrepreneurial infrastructure of Southeastern Michigan, and is now gaining national recognition.
In the recent past, EMU’s entrepreneurship programs and initiatives have been cited as best practices in terms of engagement, innovation, and impact by the premier business-school accrediting organization AACSB International. In addition, the University’s MBA specialization was ranked number six among the “10 Most Affordable Top Ranked Entrepreneurship” programs by The Best Master’s Degrees.
“This newest recognition by Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine, one of the most recognized and trusted rankings in this discipline, attests to the state-of-the-art education delivered by our outstanding entrepreneurship faculty and the amazing achievements of our Center for Entrepreneurship, students, and alumni,” Lord said.
Sanjib Chowdhury, a professor of strategy/entrepreneurship and director of EMU’s Center for Entrepreneurship, said, “This national recognition affirms our commitment to offer world-class curricular and co-curricular programs in entrepreneurship. It’s also a testament to our successful graduates and the team of dedicated faculty.”
Helping graduates flourish in the community
Wendy Thomas and Sun Chao are two of the many entrepreneurial success stories that played a role in EMU’s selection in the national graduate program rankings.
Sun Chao grew up in a family business in Inner Mongolia in northeast China. He says now that, “Starting my own venture in the United States has always been a dream to me.”
He came to Eastern Michigan University for graduate school study in 2010, and received his graduate certificate in entrepreneurship in 2012.
Sun Chao is now the Co-Founder & CFO of the Back Office Studio (BOS) in Ypsilanti. BOS is a co-working studio with meeting rooms, networking space, and technology for people to focus on creating exceptional and innovative products, services and businesses. He is also the Regional Investment Director at CapStone Holdings, Inc.
“The program supports me not only in developing my entrepreneurial capacity but it also helped me emerge into the local business community,” he said. “Through conversations with peers, community partnerships, and programs that provide real-world experience, I was inspired and driven to start several of my own ventures.
“Faculty members in EMU’s program are entrepreneurs, social innovators, and business owners themselves. Learning from their experience and getting feedback for my business plan has been essential in my learning at EMU. Unlike traditional majors, Entrepreneurship needs the student to be resourceful and embedded in the community where they want to grow their own business. The EMU Center for Entrepreneurship played an excellent role in connecting me to the real world.”
Thomas, a fellow alum, is the Region Director at the Michigan Small Business Development Center, Southeast Region. She said that EMU has been instrumental in helping advance her career.
“The faculty provided me with learning theories that could be applied to my current job, and the faculty and staff were very supportive throughout my educational journey,” she said.
Guidance for future entrepreneurs
Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a massive wave of entrepreneurial interest, and that more Americans are starting businesses now than in the last decade.
“That means there’s even more hunger for valuable information and insights on how to build and grow a business,” he said. “We’re proud to publish this annual ranking, so that we can give future entrepreneurs guidance on the robust education programs that can help them start their journey.”
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University’s website.