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Entrepreneurship at MSU ranks in the top 15 nationwide

By Aaryn Richard
Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Michigan State University’s Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has been recognized as a leader in entrepreneurship education by the Princeton Review for a sixth consecutive year. 

According to the Princeton Review‘s new rankings, MSU comes in at No. 13 and is among the nation’s top 15 undergraduate entrepreneurship programs. Significant investment in MSU’s program since its inception in 2012 has fostered a culture of innovation at the University, attracting the attention of talented, motivated students and alumni venturers alike.

“Providing students with real-world opportunities to take action on their ideas is a serious undertaking,” said Lori Fischer, the Burgess Institute’s director of operations. “Since 2012, we’ve helped Spartans build the courage to take calculated risks and provide tangible resources to those willing to take a chance on their ideas. Our programs are designed not only to assist students in launching successful ventures but also aid them in cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.”

MSU’s minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation began in 2016 and continues to be one of the fastest-growing minors in the university’s history. With nearly 800 students currently enrolled, the minor includes undergraduates from every MSU college and area of study.

“When we started the undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship and innovation, our vision focused on nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship at MSU. Being recognized for a sixth consecutive year confirms we’re doing something right,” said Ken Szymusiak, the Burgess Institute’s managing director of academic programs.

“This recognition,” continued Szymusiak, “highlights the depth and breadth of what we offer students — from an undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship and innovation to a student-exclusive incubator to a summer pre-accelerator to a venture capital fund — students will find a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem at Michigan State.”

Year over year, participation in the Burgess Institute’s programming has seen exponential growth. Over the last five years alone, student venturers have launched nearly 1,000 startups and gone on to raise a staggering $160M in follow-on funding.

Beyond the entrepreneurship and innovation minor, which boasts 50 entrepreneurship-related undergraduate courses, MSU’s student offerings include participation in national startup competitions, like South by Southwest and the Consumer Electronics Show; mentoring opportunities with successful entrepreneurial alumni; student organizations and clubs; as well as dynamic spaces where students can create.

“We had over 5,000 students participate in our academic entrepreneurship courses last year, representing 154 unique majors across all colleges. This is what sets Michigan State apart,” Szymusiak said.

In the fall of 2022, the Burgess Institute launched new programming to further support the work of graduating Spartan entrepreneurs and alums launching new ventures. The director of alumni venture support role within the institute offers startup resources to alums who request assistance in establishing and growing their ventures.

“We had over 5,000 students participate in our academic entrepreneurship courses last year, representing 154 unique majors across all colleges. This is what sets Michigan State apart."

Since its inception, the Burgess Institute has provided financial support and mentorship resources to student entrepreneurs at MSU. Through academic programs, funding and mentor engagement, the Burgess Institute provides opportunities to cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset and inspire professional and startup growth.

“Alums are essential to our students’ success,” said Laurel Ofstein, the Burgess Institute’s faculty director. “Their involvement with our students brings industry-specific expertise while connecting aspiring student entrepreneurs with MSU’s extensive alumni network. We’re thrilled to begin offering this same kind of support to alums looking to build and grow their own ventures.”

The Burgess Institute’s team is proud to be ranked among the top undergraduate entrepreneurship education programs. “This year’s ranking affirms that the Burgess Institute team’s hard work has a measurable, positive impact on the students and alumni we serve,” said Ofstein.

“The colleges on our list have truly superb entrepreneurship programs,” said the Princeton Review‘s editor-in-chief Robert Franek. “Their faculty are genuinely engaged in entrepreneurism. Their courses are rich with in-class and out-of-class experiential components, and their students receive extraordinary financial and networking support from donors and alumni.”

To compile the 2023 ranking, the Princeton Review surveyed more than 300 schools offering entrepreneurial studies across data points related to scholarships and grants, successful alumni entrepreneurs and faculty support.

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