U of A Earns National Recognition for Graduate Entrepreneurship Program
The U of A has been recognized by The Princeton Review as having one of the top graduate entrepreneurship programs in the country, making it one only four Southeastern Conference universities to earn such distinction.
The U of A's Sam M. Walton College of Business ranked No. 35 among the 50 schools listed, and No. 5 in the South region, which includes institutions in seven states. The rankings, which were based on academic offerings, experiential learning opportunities, career outcomes and other factors, were co-published Nov. 15 in The Princeton Review and Entrepeneur magazine.
The Princeton Review compiled the rankings from a survey conducted in summer 2022 of nearly 300 schools with entrepreneurship offerings. The rankings reflect entrepreneurship studies for 2023.
Unranked in previous assessments, this designation places the U of A in proximity to universities such as the University of Minnesota, Oklahoma State University, Clemson University, the University of Oregon and the University of Louisville.
"It's always exciting when the University of Arkansas is recognized as among the best universities in the nation, and we are particularly proud of this recognition of our graduate entrepreneurship program," said Matt Waller, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Sam Walton Leadership Chair.
"The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation has driven growth in this space over the last three years, in partnership with the Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Venture Innovation, and has built upon the strong entrepreneurial foundation of the Walton College."
The ranking reflects a number of factors considered by The Princeton Review editorial team:
- The program's recent enrollment growth
- Surrounding resources for student-founded companies, such as the Heartland Challenge Student Startup Competition, Startup Village and the Venture Mentoring Services program
- A track record of alumni ventures. In the last three years, companies formed by students and recent alumni of the program include CelluDot, Lapovations, Pushkin, Mercery Collective, GammaVet, Godwin Retail Group, Vishvos and Horizon Health Solutions.
"Our graduate student New Venture Development teams cross disciplinary boundaries and career stages, working together to address important problems in business and society," said Sarah Goforth, OEI's executive director.
"This ranking is a testament to their hard work, to the many faculty members and community mentors who contribute to their skills and growth and to a region whose support for entrepreneurs knows no limits."
Goforth oversees the interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship, which began to attract national recognition under the leadership of now-retired Walton College professor and former associate vice chancellor for entrepreneurship and innovation, Carol Reeves. Goforth now serves as the lead instructor for the New Venture Development courses at the heart of the certificate program, alongside co-instructor David Hinton, who is the associate director of the Office of Technology Ventures at the U of A.
A key factor in the program's growth has been the integration of these courses across graduate degree programs in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering and graphic design, as well as a partnership with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, which allows four to six postdoctoral researchers to participate in the New Venture Development courses each year through the NIH-funded HSIE Training Program. Graduate students participating in the certificate program are eligible for the recently established Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellows program, which provides an assistantship, stipend and tuition waiver to exceptional students from a wide array of backgrounds.
About the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and curates innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students across all disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, Startup Village, and Greenhouse at the Bentonville Collaborative, OEI provides free workshops and programs — including social and corporate innovation design teams, venture internships, competitions and startup coaching. A unit of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Division of Economic Development, OEI also offers on-demand support for students who will be innovators within existing organizations and entrepreneurs who start something new.
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