For Entrepreneurs, Many Appealing Alternatives to the MBA

August 23, 2012  |  0 comments

Entrepreneurs are known for thinking outside of the box. More and more, they are doing just that when it comes to choosing where to attend graduate school. 

YoungEntrepreneur has reported that among people with entrepreneurial goals are increasingly passing up traditional MBA programs for more interdisciplinary and hands-on alternatives. One popular example is Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, whose curriculum emphasizes “design-think” and constantly pushes students to prototype and test out new ideas. At the College of the Atlantic in Maine, all entrepreneurship students must concurrently receive a degree in human ecology, allowing for a focus on sustainable business.  

Several universities seem to have noted the increasing popularity of more interdisciplinary and experiential entrepreneurship programs, and they are developing new programs that meet this demand. Philadelphia University recently launched an executive program for strategic design, and this fall, Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art will join to launch a new design leadership program.

Of course, some people perceive downfalls in these emerging programs, arguing that they lack the networking opportunities, longstanding reputations, and some of the core business courses characteristics of prestigious MBA programs. But others believe that these differences are exactly what enable untraditional programs to offer great learning opportunities. As Jay Friedlander, chair of green and socially responsible business at College of the Atlantic, argues, “In traditional business school, nobody ever talks about the impact of business on the world. By looking at things from different perspectives, you’re going to see new ways of generating value.”

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