(AACSB), the world’s largest global education network, recognized the Martin J. Whitman School of Management (Whitman School), for its commitment to creating and incubating cutting-edge business innovations and fostering entrepreneurship in the next generation of business leaders. The Whitman School is one of 35 business schools around the globe to earn this distinction, and one of only 15 entrepreneurship programs.
A total of 120 nominations were submitted by AACSB-accredited schools across 34 countries, all of which highlighted unique approaches to fostering and developing entrepreneurship in undergraduate and graduate students.
The Whitman School was recognized for its submission centered on the Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises (EEE) program, which teaches approximately 2,500 students per year at undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels. The EEE program is unique due to its four teaching tracks that prepare students for future careers in new venture creation, corporate entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship and family business, allowing students to be well-suited for the unique challenges in any entrepreneurial setting, including new and old companies, small and large organizations, not-for-profits and family businesses.
“We are honored to be recognized by the AACSB as being at the forefront of entrepreneurship education globally,” said Alexander McKelvie, department chair. “The EEE team has worked hard for many years to develop cutting-edge educational experiences, and to transform students’ mindsets and skillsets to excel in an entrepreneurial economy. We have seen our students and alumni succeed throughout their careers, and we appreciate that the AACSB also views our dedication to offering a world-class program and student experience as exemplary.”
The EEE undergraduate curriculum combines classroom time with experiential learning opportunities and real-world business practice. Culminating in a senior year capstone experience where all students start a high-growth new venture and present it to a panel of external judges, EEE students gain invaluable hands-on experiences through intensive and interactive group-oriented projects.
The one-year M.S. in entrepreneurship (MSE) program is designed for students who want a “mini-MBA” with a key focus on entrepreneurship. The program offers a rigorous entrepreneurial immersion with a large number of hands-on experiential learning courses. The newest offering, an online MSE, will launch in May 2017.
Many of the experiential learning experiences are offered to all students on campus in conjunction with the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, including the on-campus business incubator, The Couri Hatchery, whose occupants have collectively raised more than $3.4 million in external capital. Many Hatchery alumni have gone on to become successful business owners.
“EEE students, as part of their experiential learning, have the opportunity in each and every one of their classes to work on their own business or on someone else’s business,” said McKelvie. “Our focus is to bridge student learning with the many community outreach programs that we offer, such as the the WISE (Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship) Business Center, the South Side Innovation Center and veteran’s entrepreneurship training, such as the Barnes Family Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program. This hand’s on focus truly helps set our program apart.”
In its inaugural year, AACSB’s Entrepreneurship Spotlight Challenge highlights AACSB-accredited schools that deliver innovative and creative best practices through a range of distinctive entrepreneurship programs, or through a variety of impactful center formats. Accredited schools were invited to submit one example of how they demonstrate a unique commitment to student learning, while providing opportunities for students to gain the skills required to be successful in business—whether it’s in a startup or within a world-renowned corporation. Central to the challenge was uncovering schools’ unique approaches to engaging the business community, expanding the reach of education beyond the classroom and positively impacting society.
“I am pleased to recognize the Whitman School for its commitment to developing thoughtful, dynamic education experiences that instill entrepreneurship and creative thinking in its students,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International. “Entrepreneurship is about problem solving and working to make improvements – whether on a business or society at large – and AACSB celebrates the Whitman School for striving to instill that same sense of responsibility in its business education curriculum.”
As part of the selection process, the nominations were reviewed by a panel of corporate leaders from a variety of disciplines, including venture capital, consulting, and accounting. Core to the Collective Vision for the industry, AACSB supports the collaboration of business practice with business education. By integrating the perspectives of business professionals into the selection process, relevant impact could be identified.