U.Va. Darden School's Entrepreneurship Program Ranked Among Best in the Nation

20/09/2013

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business' entrepreneurship program is one of the best in the nation, according to The Princeton Review, which released its annual ranking yesterday. The education services company ranked Darden No. 5 on its list of the "Top 25 Graduate Entrepreneurship Programs for 2014," which is featured in publication Entrepreneur.

"Building and sustaining a world-class educational experience for aspiring entrepreneurs who come to Darden is one of our core goals," said Philippe Sommer, director of Darden's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which is part of the School's Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

In addition, the Princeton Review has previously recognized Darden as No. 1 in the category of "Best Campus Facilities." In 2013, Darden expanded its W.L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory (i.Lab), creating an oasis for entrepreneurship and innovation learning and practice at the University of Virginia.

"Darden's approach to entrepreneurship is deeply multi-disciplinary," said Michael Lenox, the Batten Institute's executive director. "By expanding both the physical space and the institutional reach of the i.Lab, we are maximizing opportunities for cross collaboration across University of Virginia schools, departments and ways of thinking. We've long observed that our students in business benefit immensely from others in the University. Bring together a medical, engineering and business student, and great things can happen."

This year, the i.Lab opened its Business Incubator program to members of the local community, helping to foster a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Charlottesville, which nurtures promising ideas from Darden and U.Va. students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the local community.

Since its founding in 2000, the Incubator has hatched 126 ventures. Half of the companies remain active - a rate well above the national average. Notable ventures include PluroGen,  Global Cell Solutions, Hemoshear and Husk Power Systems.

In addition to expanding the i.Lab, Darden introduced a new strategy for the School's competitions over the past academic year. The startup competitions are based on the principles of design thinking, taught by Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka, and effectuation, a logic of thinking discovered through scientific research by Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy and others.

"By translating Darden's leading-edge research into discrete experiential programs, we are providing our students the knowledge and practical foundation to innovate and build dynamic businesses," added Sommer.

The Princeton Review survey of entrepreneurship programs, published in partnership with Entrepreneur Media since 2006, is based on surveys sent to school administrators at more than 2,000 institutions from April to June 2013. The list, posted on Entrepreneur's website, recognizes 50 programs - 25 undergraduate and 25 graduate - for their excellence in entrepreneurship education. 

About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, top-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop responsible and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact. 

About the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The Batten Institute at the Darden School of Business improves the world through entrepreneurship and innovation. The Institute's academic research center advances knowledge that addresses real-world challenges and shapes Darden's curriculum, and the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership offers one of the world's top entrepreneurship programs. The Batten Institute was established with gifts now totaling over $100 million from U.Va. alumnus Frank Batten, Sr., a media pioneer, visionary, and founder of The Weather Channel.

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