4 Key Trends Happening Now In Biz Ed

A revolution in entrepreneurship is underway at undergraduate business schools


Nearly a decade ago, The College of William and Mary jumped a head of the business education game and launched the Miller Entrepreneurship Center after a donation from Alan B. Miller, who founded Universal Health Services. “Entrepreneurship has gone mainstream,” says Graham Henshaw, who heads up the Miller Entrepreneurship Center. “News about startups is everywhere and we use products and services from new ventures all the time; so entrepreneurship has become something less on the fringes and more commonplace.”

Indeed. Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business recently launched a major in corporate innovation and entrepreneurship. Notre Dame’s Mendoza swapped a management entrepreneurship minor with an innovation and entrepreneurship minor, which upped the credit hours available in the area from 12 to 15. At the University of Houston, a “Women in Entrepreneurship” course was launched, as was a three-semester sequence called Entrepreneurial Values and Leadership.

“Our undergrads have a very clear memory of the economic downturn that likely resulted in many parents
and family members struggling with job security,” Henshaw tells us. “The notion of ‘big business’ always being the safe bet turned out not to be true.”

Another phenomenon fueling entrepreneurial interest is the combination of the gig economy and students wanting to call their own shots, Henshaw says. “With more and more graduates opting out of the ‘regular’ 9-to-5 routine and instead, stitching together a series of part time and consultative opportunities, entrepreneurship becomes a part of that patchwork,” says Henshaw.


One of the most highly sought after — and lucrative — career options for talented business majors is private equity. According to PayScale data, the average salary for a private equity associate is $90,863, which doesn’t include any bonuses. Including bonuses, and most graduates entering the industry will quickly be making six-figures. The average salary for a graduate of the Class of 2017 is $49,785, according to Korn Ferry data. Many B-schools are creating student-run investment funds in an effort to make their grads more attractive to these employers.

Founded in 2015, the Rines Angel Fund at the University of New Hampshire’s Paul College of Business and Economics is one of the newer funds for undergraduate students. According to reports from the school, the goal is to “provide a bridge between the next generation of angel investors and the New England private equity community.”

“It is a highly selective year-long credit course for University of New Hampshire undergraduate students,” the school said in it’s completed school survey to P&Q. “The fund allows high-achieving students of all backgrounds and academic disciplines to engage in an environment of like-minded individuals, including other students, entrepreneurs, investors and business professionals.”

The Cougar Venture Fund at the University of Houston has also been recently opened to undergraduates. “Students in this course evaluate early stage deals and make investment recommendations involving real money,” the school tells us.

Schools like St. John’s Tobin College, the University of Minnesota Carlson, Pennsylvania State University, The College of New Jersey, Temple University, and the University of South Carolina are also all offering student-run funds.


Akin to entrepreneurship, social innovation and enterprise is also rapidly becoming a thing. From triple bottom lines to get-and-give models to impact investing, the millennial generation of business students are looking to do more than turn a profit — they want to make the world a better place while doing so. And many B-schools are answering the call. At Indiana’s Kelley School, a new sustainable business major was recently launched to complement the Kelley Institute for Social Impact. According to the school, one of the recent highlights was this past year when the Institute hosted a fall break trip to Minneapolis to help students envision how social impact might be infused into their career paths.

Back at the University of New Hampshire, the Paul College has teamed up with the university’s Carsey School of Public Policy to launch the interdisciplinary Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise. According to the school, the center “drives student, faculty and staff engagement in social innovation, an exciting emerging field which harnesses the tools of business and public policy, as well as more traditional tools such as philanthropy, advocacy, and civic engagement, to contribute to a socially and environmentally more sustainable world.” The Center creates regular experiential learning opportunities and “active collaboration” between business and the broader community.

At Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, social innovations sections have been created during sophomore year for business majors. Students analyze companies that place an emphasis on contribution to the environment, human rights, and society. The school also overs a Social Innovation Collaboration and impact investing course. Back at Santa Clara, a sustainable business course sequence has been created to develop “foundational skills of managing for sustainability as well as leading from the triple bottom line. And at Babson, the Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship course has been revamped to integrate social responsibility.


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