Entrepreneurship at Northwestern Kellogg and Chicago Booth

How about a quick game of word association? We will start.


Okay, go ahead. “Entrepreneurship,” right? No? Aspiring MBAs may be surprised to learn that Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management offers a number of courses in this discipline and that its Entrepreneurship and Innovation major is among its most popular areas of study—defying the stereotype that Kellogg produces only marketing MBAs.

Overseen by the Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice, the Kellogg Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI) offers numerous opportunities for students to develop their entrepreneurial acumen and currently features a total of 50 professors in its faculty. In addition to business plan competitions, the Levy Institute manages the Kellogg Early-stage Entrepreneurial Internship Program Stipends and the Entrepreneur in Residence Program, an experiential learning option through which, for a day, an experienced entrepreneur hosts half-hour one-on-one sessions with students who aspire to careers in this field or are seeking advice on their already active projects.

The school’s Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital offers the Private Equity Lab, wherein rising second-year students intern with small businesses or private equity firms to facilitate career transitions that would otherwise be challenging for those without experience. MBA student entrepreneurs coming from or planning to enter a family business will likely be interested to learn that the Kellogg John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises not only publishes research and cases on such businesses but also confidentially consults with family-run companies. Indeed, this is all just the tip of the iceberg.

Let us continue the guessing game: Chicago Booth is just a finance school, right? Not at all. We feel that not enough applicants are aware of Chicago Booth’s robust “hands-on” entrepreneurial offerings, which are available through its Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 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 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 provide consulting services to them. Other courses offered by the Polsky Center include “Lab to Launch,” “Building the New Venture,” and “Entrepreneurial Selling.” In addition, the Polsky Center sponsors the annual Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge, a business plan competition that awarded more than $1.4M in funding to its 2023 winners.

Further, entrepreneurially minded Chicago Booth students can apply for funding from the Hyde Park Angels (HPA), a group of former Chicago Booth Executive MBA students who make investments in start-ups—in 2020, for example, the group invested nearly $14M. Although the HPA is an arms-length organization and does not source investments exclusively from Chicago Booth, it maintains a connection to the Polsky Center, which supports the HPA’s mission. So, students hoping to get in front of the HPA’s investment committee will have a built-in networking advantage. Also, the HPA offers students the opportunity to apply for the Hyde Park Angels Venture Capital Award, which is only available to Chicago Booth students.

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 Northwestern Kellogg, Chicago Booth, and other leading MBA programs, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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