Business Schools with an Exceptional Entrepreneurship Department & Faculty
MBA programs with a focus in entrepreneurship prepare students for the variety of roles they may be called upon to fulfill in the business world, from inventors and investors to employers and managers.
Such programs may have centers designated for students to engage in entrepreneur-focused symposia, career development, and networking events. Ideally, entrepreneurship-focused MBA programs utilize hands-on and experiential learning approaches in addition to classroom study and research. This can be through internships and co-op opportunities, incubator and accelerator programs, and venture competitions.
Courses are taught by faculty with extensive entrepreneurial experience, specialized expertise, and a proven track record of success within the business world. Another benefit of MBA programs that focus on entrepreneurship is that they have the resources to support students in launching their own enterprises, sometimes even before graduation.
This list includes 15 distinguished entrepreneurship faculty members. Three schools, in particular, stood out for their accomplished faculty members in this discipline: the University of Texas–Austin, the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, and Indiana University.
These 15 entrepreneurship professors have demonstrated expertise gained through years of industry experience and academic scholarship. Their contributions consist of innovative research; an extensive record of published works; teaching excellence; leadership in academic centers, departments and professional organizations; experience in private industry, nonprofits, or other entrepreneurial pursuits; community engagement; and other achievements recognized through honors and awards.
University of Texas, Austin – McCombs School of Business
A powerhouse of a research university, UT Austin provides an educational home to over 50,000 students and 3,000 teaching faculty members. The flagship of the University of Texas System, the Austin campus is now one of nine campuses statewide and is located in the state capital—a city known for its entrepreneurial and creative legacy.
Described as “a university for the community”, UT Austin has a long history of partnering with local organizations and community members to promote social justice, access, and equity. Examples of this collaboration include UT Hope, connecting students with volunteer opportunities in health-related community projects; the Transnational Workers Rights Clinic, in which law students represent migrant workers rights; and Voices Against Violence, a group that raises awareness on issues of sexual assault and domestic violence through training and outreach.
Dr. Edward Anderson is the Mr. and Mrs. William F. Wright Jr. Centennial Professor for Innovative Technology. He is also the director of the Healthcare Innovation Initiative.
Professor Anderson teaches courses in project management, new venture implementation and design (start launch planning), operations management, healthcare operations management, and system dynamics (computer simulation). Dr. Anderson earned a degree in electrical engineering from Stanford (BS) and a PhD in management science from MIT.
Dr. Anderson was recognized as a fellow of the Production and Operations Management Society for thought leadership and is the holder of six patents. His industry experience includes positions with businesses such as Ascension Health, Dell, Ford, and Shell, and he has received funding support for his research from the Veterans Administration and the National Science Foundation.
Dr. John Butler holds a joint appointment as a professor of management and organizational behavior. He is the J. Marion West Chair for Constructive Capitalism in the School of Business; the Darrell K. Royal Regents Professor of Ethics and American Society in the College of Liberal Arts Department of Sociology; the Herb Kelleher Chair in Entrepreneurship; and the Arthur James Douglass Centennial Professor in Entrepreneurship and Small Business. He teaches several courses, including technology transfer and entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship and incubation, and the sociology of entrepreneurship, among others.
Professor Butler has an extensive number of scholarly publications to his credit and has made more than 30 radio and television appearances on programs including the CBS Nightly News, The Jim Lehrer NewsHour, and Public Radio. Dr. Butler is the author of several books including Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black America: A Reconsideration of Race and Economics and Immigrant and Minority Entrepreneurship: The Continuous Rebirth of American Communities. Dr. Butler’s research focuses on the areas of organizational behavior and entrepreneurship/new ventures.
In addition to his teaching, research, and scholarly writing, Dr. Butler occupies numerous leadership and consulting roles, such as the Sam Barshop Fellow at the IC2 Institute creating new ventures worldwide. He is also a management consultant for State Farm Insurance Companies. Notably, Dr. Butler is a Vietnam Veteran.
Dr. Melissa Graebner is an associate professor of management and the CBA Foundation Advisory Fellow in the McCombs School of Business Department of Management. Dr. Graebner has professional experience consulting with companies in the software, gaming, and biotech industries. She also served as a visiting faculty member at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in China.
Her work has been featured in esteemed news publications such as the New York Times Dealbook, Forbes, Le Monde, and The Economist. Professor Graebner teaches entrepreneurship and technology strategy. Impressively, she completed all of her postsecondary education at Stanford University (BS, MS, MBA, PhD). Her research interests lie in the areas of strategy in entrepreneurial firms, mergers and acquisitions in tech-based industries, and founding team decision making.
Dr. Douglas Hannah is the 2018 recipient of the Trammel/CBA Foundation Teaching Award for Assistant Professors. He teaches general management, strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship and is a member of the editorial review board of the Strategy Entrepreneurship Journal.
Dr. Hannah has presented extensively in his young career with over a dozen engagements from 2017-2018 alone. He has a PhD in organizations, technology, and entrepreneurship and a master of science in management science and engineering from Stanford University, as well as a bachelor of arts in environmental studies from Dartmouth College. In 2016 he was awarded over one million dollars in research funding from the US Department of Education to study solar energy evolution and diffusion.
Dr. Raghunath Rao is an associate professor and Clark Centennial Fellow in Business at UT Austin with advanced degrees in applied economics (MS) and business administration (PhD) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
Dr. Rao’s research areas include market frictions with regards to innovation, sales management, and pricing. He teaches data analytics and dynamic pricing, marketing research methods, marketing analytics, and pricing and revenue management.
Professor Rao is the 2018 recipient of the AMA Entrepreneurial Marketing SIG Best Paper Award. He is also an associate editor of the International Journal of Research in Marketing and an ad-hoc reviewer for over a dozen other scholarly journals in the field. He also consults and trains for companies such as Boeing, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Oracle, and ConocoPhillips.
Dr. Wen Wen is an assistant professor in the Department of Information, Risk, and Operations Management where she teaches courses in information technology management and information technology for supply chains.
Dr. Wen’s research focuses on entrepreneurship, venture capital financing, intellectual property strategy, technological innovation, and commercialization, as well as standards-setting organizations and other non-traditional institutions.
Professor Wen is the recipient of the Trammell/CBA Foundation Teaching Award (2017) and a Kauffman/Georgia Research Alliance Grant for the study of entrepreneurship and productivity, among numerous other honors. Dr. Wen earned a PhD in information technology management and a master of science in statistics from Georgia Institute of Technology. Her most recent published work, “Venture Capital’s Role in the Formation of a New Technological Ecosystem: Evidence from the Cloud,” appeared in MIS Quarterly.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor – Ross School of Business
The University of Michigan’s mission to “develop leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future” is well-documented within its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. The Trotter Multicultural Center was opened in April 2019—a student-led project named for William Monroe Trotter, an African-American civil rights activist, businessman, editor, and founder of The Guardian newspaper.
The Center will be a space for meetings, performances, work, nourishment, and contemplation, complete with practice, group, and office spaces, as well as a kitchen, rooftop garden, foot-bathing station, and a prayer/meditation room.
Diversity, equity and inclusion grants offered by UM fund faculty, staff, and student projects that address current challenges and explore innovative solutions. One such initiative, the Gender Consciousness Project, spreads awareness on the complexity of gender discrimination by supporting participants in exploring how they participate in injustice themselves, addressing inequalities in gender, ethnicity, race, and religion.
Michael Gordon is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, where he teaches social entrepreneurship and finance for societal good. He has had broad experience helping organizations around the world address societal problems.
He is the author of three books on social entrepreneurship. His newest book, Becoming a Social Entrepreneur: Starting Out, Scaling Up, Staying True, will be out late 2019. He is in the midst of a fourth book, Doing Good With Money, which explores all the ways we can “do good” with money, from our spending and saving, to our investing and charitable giving, and even our choice of careers.
Erik Gordon is a clinical assistant professor with research interests in the areas of entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, venture finance, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and IPOs, among others.
Professor Gordon served as a faculty member, associate dean, and director of the Graduate Division of Business and management of the Carey Business School and director of MBA programs at the University of Florida. He holds degrees in economics (BA, Bucknell University) and law (JD, Albany Law School of Union University).
Professor Gordon teaches foundation courses in new ventures in the areas of biotechnology and life sciences and is the managing director of the Wolverine Venture Fund—the first student-run venture capital fund in the world. He is often quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Reuters and is a regular contributor to NPR’s “Marketplace Morning Report.”
Dr. Stewart Thornhill is a professor of business administration and the executive director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, as well as the Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ross School of Business.
Dr. Thornhill has held academic positions and leadership roles in several other countries in addition to the United States. This global experience includes faculty positions in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Bremen, Germany; Paris, France; and Toronto Canada. Professor Thornhill’s scholarly research focuses on innovation and corporate entrepreneurship, strategic execution, and leadership, and he currently serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals. He completed his education at the Universities of New Brunswick (BS) and British Columbia (MBA, PhD).
Indiana University – Kelley School of Business
Indiana University’s Hoosier spirit extends beyond stellar athletics and Division I dominance in multiple sports. With 24 NCAA and 169 Big Ten Championships respectively, Hoosier athletes have earned their fans’ cream and crimson “fists and blades” of support.
Hoosier hospitality is nationally renowned, referring to the open-mindedness and kindheartedness that is said to characterize how people and ideas are embraced at IU. For example, journalism alumnus Ernie Pyle won the Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence for his compassionate coverage. Pyle illustrated the struggles of WWII soldiers, accompanying them on the front lines as an “embedded journalist” and humanizing their experience for readers back home. Pyle is revered for his contributions to the field and his “ability to explain the larger issues of the world, through the eyes of the people most affected by them”.
Dr. Donald F. Kuratko is the Jack M. Gill Chair of Entrepreneurship; a professor of entrepreneurship; the executive and academic director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and the director of the Entrepreneurial Innovation Academy.
Dr. Kuratko (“Dr. K”) has been recognized as a preeminent scholar and national leader in the discipline of entrepreneurship with close to 200 scholarly works published in leading academic journals in the field. Professor Kuratko is also the author of 30 books, including the globally successful Entrepreneurship: Theory, Process, and Practice.
His areas of expertise include corporate entrepreneurship, innovation, and entrepreneurial leadership. His contributions to the advancement of entrepreneurship have been recognized with the National Academy of Management’s awards in entrepreneurship and mentorship; his teaching excellence has earned him the National Outstanding Entrepreneurship Educator (USASBE) and National Model of Innovative Pedagogy in Entrepreneurship awards; and his scholarship has been recognized by the Riata Distinguished Entrepreneurship Scholar award, as well as being named one of the “Top 50 Entrepreneurship Scholars in the World” by Scientifica, among dozens of other accolades and honors.
Dr. Jeffery S. McMullen is the Dale M. Coleman Chair of Management and a professor of entrepreneurship. He teaches courses in strategic and social entrepreneurship, sustainable business, new venture ideas, strategic management, and business models in the Kelley Business School, where he has been honored with the school’s Innovative Teaching Award.
He has also been awarded the Trustee’s Teaching Award on multiple occasions, as well as the AOM and McGraw-Hill/Irwin Award for Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy.
In his scholarly research, Professor McMullen examines entrepreneurship as “a process of self-discovery and socioeconomic change” with a particular focus on cognition, motivation, action, and opportunity in social, commercial, development, and sustainable entrepreneurial contexts.
Dr. McMullen is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Business Venturing. Notably, he has industry experience creating new ventures and consulting in Boulder, Colorado and working as a CPA for KPMG in Denver. He holds a BS in accountancy from New Mexico State University and MBA and PhD degrees in strategic management and entrepreneurship from the University of Colorado.
Dr. Todd Saxton is an associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship and a Kelley Venture Fellow at IU’s School of Business. Professor Saxton has been honored with awards for teaching excellence on multiple occasions, including the Trustees Teaching Award, the Best Professor in the MBA Program Award, and the Eli Lilly Teaching Award.
Dr. Saxton currently serves on the advisory boards to organizations such as the healthcare IT startup Diagnotes LLC; Fight For Life, a nonprofit social-emotional learning organization for underserved youth; and VisionTech Partners, an angel investment network. He is also a member of the editorial review boards for the Journal of Management, the Academy of Management Review, and the Academy of Management Journal.
Dr. Saxton’s areas of professional expertise include entrepreneurial ecosystems; competitive and corporate strategy; venture strategy, launch, and growth; and factors affecting alliance and acquisition success.
Dr. Regan Stevenson is an assistant professor of entrepreneurship and management, as well as the John and Donna Shoemaker Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship at IU. He is interested in the early-stage challenges of new ventures and studies the role of cognition/affect in entrepreneurial judgment and the behavior foundations of resource acquisition.
Dr. Stevenson teaches action-based entrepreneurship classes in venture ideas and models, the senior practicum in entrepreneurship, “The Spine Sweat Experience,” and in the top-ranked (U.S. News and World Report) Kelley Direct online MBA program.
Professor Stevenson’s research in the areas of entrepreneur psychology and decision-making, crowdfunding, angel investing, lean startups, resourcefulness, and behavioral strategy has appeared in publications such as the Huffington Post, Science Daily, and Forbes. He is the recipient of the 2019 Indiana University Trustee Teaching Award.
Dr. Trent Williams is the Oslan Family Faculty Fellow of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship. Professor Williams teaches courses in strategic management, entrepreneurship, and design thinking and opportunity recognition.
Dr. Williams’s scholarly pursuits focus on resourcefulness, decision-making and resilience, and entrepreneurial venture emergence with particular emphasis on idea generation in the early stages of venture projects, along with several other research foci. He has particular expertise in identity development, loss, and recovery, as well as hybrid and community organizing, creativity, and ideation.
Dr. Eric Zhao is an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship and the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Competitive Enterprise Faculty Fellow. Professor Zhao studies “strategic paradoxes” in organizations facing complex challenges. His areas of expertise include social and international entrepreneurship, strategy and organizational theory, institutional theory, and emerging markets.
Dr. Zhao is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business Best Paper Award from the 13th Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference (2016); the IACMR Presidential Award for Responsible Research in Management for the AMJ article, “Not all Inequality is Equal” (2017); and the OMT Research Committee Service Award from the Academy of Management (2018).
Dr. Zhao teaches graduate-level courses in developing strategic capabilities and the theoretical and historical foundations of organization theory. He also teaches social entrepreneurship for the Global Business Institute, which brings 100 students from the Middle East, Near Asia, and North Africa to study business in the United States each summer.
BSchools used the following criteria to select entrepreneurship-focused business schools for this list:
- Accreditation: All MBA programs in this list have been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB).
- Awards and Recognition: These colleges have appeared among the top 10 in the country for MBAs in entrepreneurship according to U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and other respected ranking organizations.
- Faculty: All universities have a renowned faculty who have published and presented extensively and have received noteworthy accolades and research grants.
- Student Opportunities and Support: All of these schools let students learn about entrepreneurship psychology through hands-on learning, research opportunities and/or mentorships.
To be selected for inclusion in our list of influential entrepreneurship professors, BSchools used the following criteria:
- University Affiliation: First, the professor must be associated with an entrepreneurship-focused MBA program at an accredited university in the U.S. and actively teaching.
- Publication: When looking at academic credentials, publication is always another consideration. The professors on this list have published extensively in peer-reviewed journals.
- Institutional and Peer Recognitions: The professors on this list have been recognized by their peers and their employers as being among the top in their field. Whether they received teaching awards, special recognition for their publications, or notable grants and research funding, these professors are dedicated to the field of entrepreneurship.
- Professional Commitment: In addition to teaching and research obligations, the professors on this list have gone above and beyond in terms of leadership and professional contributions. Some have been selected to be faculty deans or program directors, while others have become leaders of professional organizations.