UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State is ranked No. 23 schools for undergraduate entrepreneurship studies in the United States by The Princeton Review in its annual ratings that measure the performance of individual schools. Among schools in the Mid-Atlantic region, Penn State came in at No. 3.
The 2023 ratings were announced in partnership with The Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship magazine on Nov. 15.
The organizations are collecting data for entrepreneurship ratings as part of a focused June-August 2022 survey of more than 300 schools with entrepreneurship study and program offerings. The ratings are based on information provided directly by universities on more than 40 unique entrepreneurship-focused data points, including course offerings; entrepreneurial course enrollment percentages; student and alumni ventures; business plan and having a pitch competition; and the availability of scholarships and financial aid.
The new Top 25 ranking is based on a comprehensive set of data drawn from across Penn State’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Smeal College of Business, Smeal’s Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CIENT) major, the intercollege Entrepreneurship & Innovation (ENTI) Minor in the Office of Undergraduate Education, and the Center for Penn State Student Entrepreneurship, in the Office of Undergraduate Education, and the Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. The full procedure can be reviewed here.
“Penn State is proud to host one of the most accessible entrepreneurship programs in the world where every undergraduate student has access to at least three entrepreneurship courses during their academic career ,” said Vice President for Undergraduate Education Yvonne Gaudelius. “Undergraduate entrepreneurship is customized on most Penn State campuses to meet the needs of local students and build networks with regional entrepreneurs and business support services. It is a truly unique and globally recognized model.”
The continued and growing success of the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Penn State aligns with President Neeli Bendapudi’s framework to enable student success in and out of the classroom, as well as her goal to make the most available Penn Staters in the country.
The Smeal College of Business Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIENT) major is one such program at Penn State that has a track record of producing students who have gone on to full-time employment or worked as interns at renowned companies such as of General Electric, EY, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Textron and Transperfect.
The CIENT major is designed for students interested in managing innovation, reinventing existing businesses, supporting a family business, or starting new businesses with the goal of growing the economy and providing work for a diverse workforce.
“Since the CIENT major first launched in 2015, the major has grown significantly,” said Jeanette Miller, associate director of the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship and coordinator of the CIENT major. “We are delighted to see CIENT major alumni being noticed by employers for their problem-solving skills, adaptability and overall business acumen.”
Penn State students also have access to their choice of one of 10 different tracks for an Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI) minor. Over the past 10 years, more than 20,000 students from 174 majors have enrolled in at least one course offered from either the ENTI minor or the CIENT major. Additionally, more than 1,000 alumni have earned the ENTI minor over the past decade. The minor is supported at the heart of Penn State Undergraduate Education but features interdisciplinary expertise and courses through its 10 concentrations, known as clusters.
Courses develop skills, knowledge and values in problem solving, innovation, opportunity recognition, self-efficacy, leadership, ethics, communication and learning from failure. To meet the wide range of students’ entrepreneurship and innovation interests, core courses establish foundational knowledge, and then students choose a concentration cluster aligned with specific areas of study from hospitality and journalism to bio-tech, art and engineering.
“At Penn State, there are entrepreneurial opportunities for every student, and we encourage them to be innovative in all aspects of their personal and professional lives,” said Anne Hoag, director of the Center for Penn State Student Entrepreneurship and associate professor in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. “We believe that if we can teach students to think like entrepreneurs, they will succeed no matter what they do.”
In addition to the CIENT major and ENTI minor on the academic side, the Invent Penn State initiative serves as a driving force for Penn State’s entrepreneurial ecosystem outside the classroom to create a well-rounded, robust learning opportunity for all students.
Invent Penn State provides students with opportunities to learn from entrepreneurial mentors, conduct customer discovery, pitch their ideas and potentially obtain funding to help develop their startup.
As part of Invent Penn State, the LaunchBox & Innovation Network consists of 21 innovation spaces embedded within Penn State’s campus communities across the state, providing a wide range of cost-free resources needed by entrepreneurs and innovators. The network offers startup accelerator programs, coworking spaces, mentorship opportunities and pitch competitions to Penn State students and the broader Pennsylvania community, and engages more than 13,000 faculty, staff and students in only for six years.
“We provide students with hands-on opportunities and experiences where they discover entrepreneurial mindsets, and all in an environment where they are surrounded by mentors and resources meant to help them succeed,” said James Delattre, associate vice president for research and director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization. “The industry knowledge brought by entrepreneurship professors and the mentorship available through LaunchBox & Innovation Network, along with funding opportunities through our various pitch competitions, really sets our mags apart. -students for success in their innovative endeavors.”
Last fall, Invent Penn State opened the doors to the all-new Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub, a six-story, state-of-the-art, multi-use home for innovation in downtown State College . The building houses the Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank and OriginLabs, a rapid prototyping and fabrication space designed to support Penn State students, faculty, and staff and the local State College community more quickly and efficiently build a working minimum viable product. The building features state-of-the-art entrepreneurial and innovation resources designed to accelerate innovation, technology commercialization, and local startup companies through peer learning, knowledge sharing and mentoring.
“We are seeing continued success in growing new startup companies through the Invent Penn State initiative,” said Lora Weiss, senior vice president for research. “We continue to push the envelope of what’s possible with additions to our ecosystem like the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub. What we have seen and continue to prove is how environments that encourage innovation and collaboration not only drive economic development and job creation in Pennsylvania, but also act as a major contributing factor to our national rank.
To view the complete list of top undergraduate programs across the US and learn more about this year’s ranking methodology, visit the Princeton Review web page.
About Invent Penn State
Invent Penn State is a commonwealth-wide initiative to stimulate economic development, job creation and student career success. Invent Penn State combines academic programs focused on entrepreneurship, business start-up and incubation training, funding for commercialization, and university/community/industry partnerships to facilitate the challenging process of making discoveries to research important products and services that can benefit Pennsylvanians and humanity.