Friday Factoid: Entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth

Again we pose the rhetorical question: Chicago Booth is only a finance school, right? Wrong. In the past, we have discussed the strengths of the school’s marketing program, to the surprise of some. Likewise, we feel that not enough applicants are aware of Chicago Booth’s robust “hands-on” entrepreneurial offerings, available through its Michael P. Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. Where to begin?

Chicago Booth’s practical academic programs extend into the field of entrepreneurship with the school’s “New Venture and Small Enterprise Lab.” Herein, students work for up to ten hours per week for an entire quarter within a host firm or take on a dedicated project in a class designed to train those who intend to ultimately join start-ups or consult to them. In addition, the Polsky Center sponsors the annual Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC), a business plan competition that in 2011 awarded $75,000 to students as seed money for winning bids. Up to four winners of the NVC are invited to join the ARCH Venture Partners New Business Incubator for one year (or until they receive funding to launch their businesses), where they benefit from faculty support and office resources. Since 1996, the center has awarded more than $750,000 to help launch more than 75 companies that, in turn, have raised $235M in capital in spaces as diverse as payment solutions, flexible solar panels, food preparation and children’s toys.

Further, entrepreneurially minded Chicago Booth students can apply for funding from the Hyde Park Angels (HPA), a group of Chicago Booth EMBAs who make investments of up to $1M in start-ups. Although the HPA is an arms-length organization and does not exclusively source investments from Chicago Booth, it maintains a connection to the Polsky Center, which supports the HPA’s mission. The HPA offers students the opportunity to intern as associates and gain venture capital experience while at the school. Tom Ancona, assistant director of the HPA, told mbaMission that eight to ten students generally serve as HPA associates during the school year, while two serve over the summer.

Believe it or not, we are just scratching the surface here. Again, Chicago Booth is most definitely not “just a finance school.”

For more information on Chicago Booth and 15 other leading MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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