The Entrepreneurship Program at Harvard Business School (HBS), which has offered courses in entrepreneurship for more than a half century and counts some 65,000 graduates, won the top award for MBA programs nationwide from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE). Devoted to entrepreneurship education and development, the association cited HBS as its National Model MBA Program winner at the organization’s annual conference earlier this month in Dallas.
“The judges were impressed with the breadth and depth of our entrepreneurship program, with 31 faculty in the Entrepreneurial Management unit and another 30 in other units whose work is directly related to entrepreneurship,” said Michael J. Roberts, senior lecturer and executive director of the School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship.
Noting that HBS requires its 900 first-year students to take a course called “The Entrepreneurial Manager” and that the School offers nearly 20 elective courses in entrepreneurship to second-year students, Roberts added, “The judges appreciated that our approach to entrepreneurship – as an opportunity-focused orientation to general management that is applicable in all situations – speaks to all students regardless of their near-term career aspirations. Finally, the judges were interested to see how entrepreneurship was integrated with some of the other key initiatives at the School, including social enterprise, and technology and innovation.”
The School’s entrepreneurship efforts have been supported by the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship since 2003. Rock, a member of the School’s MBA Class of 1951 and a pioneering venture capitalist who helped form numerous successful startups, including Intel Corp., Teledyne, Scientific Data Systems, and Apple Computer, donated $25 million to HBS to help ensure that entrepreneurship would continue to be a key part of the School’s curriculum. In 1981, Rock and his classmate Fayez Sarofim funded the first professorship at HBS in the field of entrepreneurship.
Beyond the curriculum, the Rock Center also organizes an annual Business Plan Contest, coordinates the activities at the HBS California Research Center in Silicon Valley, and publishes New Business, a twice-yearly overview of entrepreneurial interests and pursuits at HBS. “About 40 percent of HBS graduates describe themselves as entrepreneurs at some point in their career,” Roberts pointed out.
In addition to supporting a variety of faculty projects, the fund that established the Rock Center also provides fellowships for MBA and doctoral students, underwrites symposia and conferences on entrepreneurship, and develops new publications and Web sites to extend the reach and impact of the School’s work in this field.