The Best US Schools for Aspiring Business Founders and Entrepreneurs (infographic)

Whether you've got a $1million in seed funding or nothing except a great idea and a garage office to work in, getting a new business off the ground is one of the hardest things anyone can do. It requires time, resilience, self-confidence, and a little bit of luck. In other words, it's going to be a long and challenging journey.

But every journey starts somewhere, and giving yourself the best possible start is a sure-fire way to increase your chances of getting to where you want you to be

So to help you find the best launchpad for your business ideas, decided to compile a few lists of the US schools that have produced the most founders.

Using data collected from LinkedIn’s Alumni Search, outlined what schools have produced the most founders overall, which are producing the most founders right now, and the schools that give you the best chance of becoming a business founder.

The top school for aspiring business founders in the U.S.

Established in 1868, The University of California, Berkeley, refers to itself as "a place where the brightest minds from across the globe come together to explore, ask questions, and improve the world." And this prestigious university is certainly living up to its lofty ideals. Berkeley has produced over 44,000 business founders during its illustrious history, which is more than any other school in the USA.

Apple co-founder Stephen Wozniak is one of Berkeley's most famous former students, although it wasn't his first choice school. Wozniak enrolled at Berkeley in 1971 after being expelled from the University of Colorado for hacking into the school's computer system. MySpace founder Tom Anderson also studied at Berkeley, majoring in English Literature. He later returned to do a master's degree in Film. Anderson is another tech founder with a mischievous side. As a teenager, Anderson prompted an FBI investigation when he hacked into the Chase Manhattan Banking system using the pseudonym Lord Flathead.

Former Berkeley student Jason Oppenheim has had a more conventional career. The law graduate worked as a corporate attorney for international law firm O’Melveny & Myers from 2003–2007. He then left to set up the Oppenheim Group, a premier realtor company representing buyers and sellers of luxury properties in Los Angeles and Orange County. His list of clients includes Orlando Bloom, Nicole Scherzinger, and Jessica Alba.

What other schools in the U.S. produce the most founders?

Stanford University has produced its fair share of founders - 38,969, to be exact. But while Stanford's quantity doesn't quite stack up to Berkley's, the quality of its graduates and founders is just as impressive.

While studying for a Ph.D. at Stanford, Sergey Brin met a fellow computer science student called Larry page. The pair didn't get along at first. In fact, they disagreed about practically everything. But they soon developed a close friendship and began co-authoring papers, including "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine." That paper became the blueprint for a PageRank algorithm, which Brin and Page used to create a new web search engine. You'll probably recognize the name; it's called Google.

Brin and Page are Stanford's most successful former students. However, another member of Stanford's Alumni could also stake a credible claim to the title. Billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel studied philosophy at Stanford University, graduating with a B.A. in 1989. He then earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1992.

Thiel ditched a promising career in law to start his own venture capital firm. In 1998, Thiel co-founded PayPal, serving as CEO until the company was sold to eBay for $1.5billion. Theil then launched Clarium Capital, a global macro hedge fund based in San Francisco, and Valar Ventures, a US-based venture capital fund investing in technology start-ups based outside of Silicon Valley. Thiel is also the founder of Palantir Technologies, a public software company specializing in big data analytics.

Thiel's close friend and former business partner Elon Musk also went to Stanford. And if the Tesla and SpaceX founder does put humans on Mars, he could become the most famous person to ever study at Stanford. Although saying that Musk studied at Stanford is a bit of a stretch. He dropped out of a Ph.D. program in materials science after just two days.

Which US schools have produced the most founders in the last few years?

Historically, Berkeley and Stanford have produced the most business founders. But during the past three years, they've both been outdone by Harvard. Since 2018, 6,914 Harvard graduates have gone on to start successful companies. And they're following in some pretty big footsteps. Harvard is the alma mater of several of today's most famous founders, including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

As a world-leading technology and science school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a hotbed of innovation. It's also a fertile starting ground for any aspiring business leader or founder. The active companies formed by living MIT alumni produce annual revenues equal to the gross domestic product of the 10th-largest economy in the world!

Stripe co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison attended MIT. Gabriel Weinberg is another former MIT student. Weinberg became interested in ideas around internet privacy and anonymity during his time at MIT. These became the foundation for DuckDuckGo, an internet search engine that emphasizes user privacy.

Many MIT graduates are continuing to turn their dissertation projects into successful businesses. Since 2018, former MIT students have founded over 5,400 new companies and start-ups. Only Harvard, Berkeley, and Stanford's alumni have started more. But that could change over the next few years. MIT is leading the research into many of today's most exciting and revolutionary fields, including artificial intelligence, automation, biometrics, and cryptocurrency. It means that today's MIT students are studying the technologies that will dominate (and shape) the industries of tomorrow. Current MIT student Yichen Shen recently received funding for his new company, Lightelligence. It makes high-tech semiconductor chips that can process the computation power required to fuel a rapid rise in data processing and artificial intelligence.

Increasing your chances of becoming a business founder

Unsurprisingly, all the Ivy League schools produce a lot of founders. But you don't need to go to a prestigious (and costly) school to boost your chances of success. Because in terms of founder density, several public schools score higher than both Stanford and MIT. The Hult International Business School tops the list, with 16.9% of its recent graduates now heading up their own companies. The California Institute of Integral Studies comes next (15.12%), followed by Babson College (14.80%), Fielding Graduate University (14.80%), and Naropa University (14.24%).

The Juilliard School proves that plenty of creative types also have a good head for business. Almost 1,000 of its performing arts graduates have gone on to start their own companies since 2018. That doesn't sound like much, but this exclusive institution accepts less than 900 students every year. As such, almost 13% of former Juilliard Students are now business founders.

These are just some of the best US schools for future business founders. You can find more information on all the other schools in the infographic below. So take a look and find the best place to start your journey toward business success.

Previous Post Next Post