(Written by Guest Blogger: Hilary Lehman, Communications and Marketing Specialist, USF College of Business)
Small businesses are the engine of the U.S. economy, and according to rankings released today by Entrepreneur magazine and the Princeton Review, the University of South Florida (USF) is one of the best at teaching its students to start new businesses.
USF's graduate program is the only Florida university listed among the nation's best entrepreneurship education programs. The graduate program is ranked No. 13 overall and is also the sixth-highest rated program among public universities. It’s the eighth consecutive year the USF Center for Entrepreneurship has appeared on the Top 25 list.
Michael Fountain, founding director of the Tampa-based USF Center for Entrepreneurship, said the university’s program is exceptional because of its interdisciplinary program and hands-on learning opportunities. The center offers opportunities for graduate students in the fields of business, engineering, health sciences, and sustainability.
While the program's mission is to equip students with the skills to become successful leaders in new businesses, Fountain said the program offers students who work in the corporate world opportunities to strengthen their performance, too.
"Entrepreneurship is not only about starting a business," he said. "For students who want to work in the corporate world, our program helps foster the kind of thinking that intrapreneurs — people who think like entrepreneurs but work for traditional businesses — need to thrive," Fountain said.
USF College of Business Dean Moez Limayem noted that USF is among the youngest universities on Entrepreneur's 2014 roster – an accomplishment he attributes to the center’s faculty, staff, students, and supporters. "We are keeping excellent company," he said, pointing out that Harvard University, Stanford University, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago were all highly ranked. "Our entrepreneurship program’s record of success is a win not only for our students, the program, and the university, but for the entire community that benefits from the businesses our students create.”
The Princeton Review, a leading provider of educational services, surveyed more than 2,000 institutions to compile the rankings. Schools were evaluated based on key criteria in the areas of academics and requirements, students and faculty, and outside-the-classroom experiences. The rankings will be published in Entrepreneur magazine's October issue, available on newsstands September 23. The top entrepreneurship program lists, information about survey methodology, and profiles for the top schools are posted on The Princeton Review's website at www.princetonreview.com/entrepreneur.