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business education MBA, Cambridge - Judge, Entrepreneurship, London Business School, Warwick Business School

(article published in Handelsblatt, 20 June 2008)

The UK has a long tradition of entrepreneurial flair, and the thriving economy of the last ten years has encouraged a new wave of start-ups and fast-growth ventures. UK business schools are amongst the most active in teaching entrepreneurship to the next round of Richard Branson hopefuls.

The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, compiled by scholars from Babson College and London Business School provides a comparative review of entrepreneurial activity for over forty countries around the world. The UK features strongly amongst the major economies in Europe, with more than one in ten adults choosing the path of entrepreneurship. Over 400,000 new businesses start up in UK every year.

But what makes Britain such a hot bed of European entrepreneurship, and how do the UK business schools help students with their financing, business plans, and networking?

When it comes to raising money for new ventures, UK-based private equity and venture capital firms currently accounts for 57% of the whole of the European market. The London based financial market for young companies, AIM, provides entrepreneurs with access to the most successful growth market in the world. Since its launch in 1995, over 2,900 companies have chosen to join AIM. Such a market not only provides an established infrastructure for funding and legal expertise, but also acts as a thriving example for potential start-ups.

The UK’s business schools offer a wide range of entrepreneurial courses, including specialised MBA programmes, dedicated centres of research and business incubators.

offering courses that provide the tool kit of skills for entrepreneurship.


According to the annual QS TopMBA Applicant Survey, Entrepreneurship has become the second most popular specialisation at leading business schools.  The study reveals that, on average, 27% of MBA applicants seek to run their own business after graduation. According to QS Managing Director Nunzio Quacquarelli, himself an established entrepreneur, “many of these individuals focus on entrepreneurial management whilst at business school, learning how to evaluate business opportunities, write business plans and forge a network, which can help them succeed in business.”

For Tom Meacock, an MBA student at the Manchester Business School, the hands on learning approach proved invaluable. “Much of what you are taught on an MBA programme is within the context of working with big business, but undertaking the Start- up Business Consulting elective, with the Incubator, allowed me to focus on my interest in the small business arena. The teaching on the elective was very practical; many of the lectures were delivered by the Incubator’s associate and partner companies, which meant that they were highly up-to-date, relevant and practical.”

The UK market is showing no shortage of financial support to business schools to gives entrepreneurs and business start-ups a cost effective route to use the expertise and invaluable networks. Peter Cullum, founder of the Towergate Partnership and Management Today’s Entrepreneur of the Year, is providing £10 million for Cass Business School, London, to form a new Centre for Entrepreneurship. The Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship will be one of the largest centres of its kind in the world to provide support and funding to budding entrepreneurs, with a focus on the finance or service sector

Cullum, who completed an MBA at Cass Business School, explains the importance of the MBA to his professional success. “Studying at Cass furnished me with the skills I needed to achieve my ambitions and I am delighted to be able to offer that opportunity to a younger generation.  The Entrepreneurship Centre will allow both young and more established entrepreneurs to present their ideas to a panel of people who have gone through the same challenges and will be empathetic to their needs.”

Beyond dedicated faculty, incubators, and hands-on experience, the other popular activity that demonstrates a schools commitment to entrepreneurship is the business plan competition. Winning such a competition can help to put your business ideas in front of venture capitalists. The Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL), part of Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, host a series of lectures and networking sessions called “Enterprise Tuesday’. The aim is to inspire people to pursue entrepreneurial ambitions and build basic business skills. Since 1999, CUE has awarded over £280,000 to 31 business ideas, which have raised more than £6m further funding and are now worth more than £20m.

So once you’ve written your application to business school, keep your laptop open and get started on the business plan.


UK business schools specialising in Entrepreneurship :

Cass Business School, City University – Entrepreneurship stream within their Specialist Masters (MSc) in Management curriculum, in addition to new Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Cranfield School of Management – 25% of Cranfield alumni start their own business within ten years of leaving the University. The School has established the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurial Performance and Economics, and the MBA includes a module on Entrepreneurship & New Venture Creation 

Judge Institute, Cambridge – The Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning delivers a range of educational activities on the practise of Entrepreneurship, to inspire and build skills and ‘spread the spirit of enterprise’ within the University of Cambridge and beyond.

Lancaster University Management School – Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (IEED) undertakes work in the fields of entrepreneurial research, education and business support

Liverpool Business School – Offers an MBA in Entrepreneurship, intended to attract students with a real entrepreneurial flair, who wish to develop their own ideas and bring them to commercial fruition through their studies.

London Business School – Entrepreneurship was established as a separate subject area in 2000. The Entrepreneurship department offers 1,000 places annually on entrepreneurship electives, which are some of the most requested courses at London Business School.

Manchester Business School – The School was the first in the UK to develop and offer an MBA in Entrepreneurship. Have a dedicated Incubator to help to develop business propositions.

Nottingham University Business School – Offers an MBA in Entrepreneurship which aims to combine an advanced teaching and learning programme in management with state of the art thinking on Entrepreneurship.

Tanaka Business School, Imperial College – The school’s Entrepreneurship Hub created the Entrepreneurs’ Challenge, an annual business plan competition for Imperial College students offering seminars by leading companies such as Shell and Amadeus Capital, with total prize money of £55,000.

Univ. Oxford, Saïd – The Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation brings together innovators from across the world, from Silicon Valley and India, as well as the 2,000 high-tech companies based around Oxford, that form part of the innovation system centred on the School.

Warwick Business School – The Centre for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (CSME) is an integral part of WBS, which in 1998 the centre established a doctoral programme in Entrepreneurship and Smaller Business.


About symondsgsb

Matt is chief editor of MBA50.com, a website dedicated to the world's outstanding business schools. He is an internationally recognised business and graduate school expert, consulting to the world’s top business schools, and has written for many of the world’s leading publications including : Forbes, The Economist, BusinessWeek, BBC, Newsweek, CNBC, America Economia, Washington Post, The Independent, Boston Globe, Handelsblatt, 21st Century Herald, South China Morning Post, Vedomosti, San Francisco Chronicle, Expansion, Beijing Daily. Matt was Co-Founder of the QS World MBA Tour Matt is co-author of Getting the M.B.A. Admissions Edge, a B-school admissions bestseller sponsored by Goldman Sachs and McKinsey. His new individual school guides will be available in the fall.


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