CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson University’s MBA program bolstered Dean Wendy York’s goal of raising national awareness of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business with the announcement this week that the MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MBAe) program was ranked 30th nationally.
Princeton Review surveyed more than 300 colleges and graduate business schools’ entrepreneurial MBA programs in ranking Clemson 30th among its top 50 programs in the country, according to Entrepreneur magazine.
“The ranking by Princeton Review is validation that the entrepreneurial and innovation MBA program offered at Clemson is resonating across the U.S. in providing high-quality education to tomorrow’s innovative leaders,” said Greg Pickett, associate dean and MBA program director. “It also signals that what we have worked so hard to deliver is truly having an impact on our students and alumni.”
Added Dean York, “Princeton Review’s recognition is a testament to the value the program is bringing to our next generation of business leaders. The Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business is showing a pattern of continuing growth and excellence as we work toward raising the national stature of the Clemson brand, and our MBA program is contributing significantly toward that end.”
The Princeton Review recognition is the third recent national ranking agency that has cited the quality of Clemson’s MBA programs. Poets & Quants has the corporate MBA program in its top 100 nationally and College Consensus places Clemson’s recently launched online MBA program as the 12th most valuable in the nation.
“Collectively, these rankings tell a very positive story about our overall MBA program and that it resonates on a national level,” Pickett added.
Jane Layton, MBA academic program director, spearheaded the year-long data collection process for the program’s Princeton Review application, along with senior lecturer Matt Klein. She said Princeton Review identified the best graduate entrepreneurship programs through survey data that included academic and experiential learning opportunities, career outcomes, quality and entrepreneurial experience of faculty and mentors, and student interviews.
“Every course in this program is tailored to meet the needs of an entrepreneur. And, faculty teaching our classes not only have experience in launching their own successful businesses, many are actively doing research in entrepreneurial and innovation areas. Beyond the textbook, our students are getting direction from faculty and mentors who have ‘been there, done that,’ ‘’ Layton said. “Our cohorts’ connections to mentors are based on their specific interests and though these relationships are built during the program, they extend beyond completion of the degree.”
The MBAe part- and full-time programs, which enroll approximately 100 students, have been part of Clemson’s MBA offerings for about nine years.
Layton called the ranking validation of the program’s hands-on, personalized approach to serving each student’s interests and direction.
“Many programs enroll hundreds of students. Our focus is not as much about numbers as it is the value we bring to each student,” she said. “There is nothing general about the program, from the way we individualize each student’s experience to helping them build and launch their businesses, many before graduation.”
This week’s announcement of the Princeton Review ranking came as no surprise to two successful graduates of Clemson’s MBAe program.
“The ranking is long overdue and it’s not a surprise to me at all. This is wonderful recognition for the program and to all of those who work so hard to make it great,” said Brian Stearns ’17, co-founder and CEO of start-up RingoFire, a provider of digital and social media marketing solutions to businesses.
“If I didn’t have the experience with the program’s professors, staff and guest entrepreneurs, I would be a corporate robot today and 37 team members would not have a job here right now. Clemson’s MBAe program energized me and gave me the courage to undertake a journey of this magnitude,” said Stearns, whose agency was recently ranked 6th on Adweek’s Top 100 Fastest-Growing Agencies list.
Seidman ‘16, past president and CEO of Quoizel, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers and distributors of home lighting, said his MBAe experience at Clemson instilled an innovative spirit at the Charleston-area company and helped him to plan for the sale of the company in 2018. Today, he is running Quoizel as well as an additional lighting company as Divisional President of NBG Home.
“Clemson’s MBAe program inspired me to approach business decision making in innovative ways, then taught me how to execute on that outside-the-box thinking,” Seidman said. “The ranking is well deserved, and I credit the program with having a significant net-profit effect on my company, which bodes well for our future.”
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