Forbes Names CMC to its New List of the Most Entrepreneurial Colleges in America
Claremont McKenna College has been ranked No. 17 on Forbes’ list of the Most Entrepreneurial Colleges in Americaa new category for the media company’s annual rankings.
Forbes partnered with LinkedIn to compile its listsearching its college graduate database of 20 million to look for people who called themselves founders of companies employing 10 or more staff members. Stanford, MIT, and Princeton were the top three, respectively, but smaller institutions in the chain may offer some measure of surprise, including Harvey Mudd College (#15), CMC, Swarthmore (#16), and Amherst (#18).
Unlike other rankings, which focus on reputation, selectivity, and how much money they spend per student, Forbes writer Michael Noer says the Forbes rankings try to look at colleges as any consumer about to spend a quarter of a million dollars on an education might, asking such questions as: Is the teaching quality great? Are there good life outcomes? What will graduates be earning 10 years later? Is there debt-load low?
Noer says Forbes rankings tend to reward small liberal art schools, partly because teacher qualityas reported by the students is better than it might be at a mega university.
Ron Riggio, the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology, says CMC’s faculty are unlike many other faculty at liberal arts colleges, because they support the applied mission of the college. Rather than just teaching classical theory, Riggio says, CMC professors also know how to use their knowledge in a practical sense. The College’s psychology department is an example, he says.
“Everyone on staff has their basic theoretic research plus practical research,” says Riggio, whether professor emeritus Harvey Wichman’s work with NASA, professor Marjorie Charlop’s direction of the Claremont Autism Center on campus, or professor Mark Costanzo’s research to inform the death penalty policy debate.
He says this applied learning truly serves CMC students, who are always thinking three steps ahead.
“They are practically-oriented,” Riggio says. “It’s a generation that is very engaged and very much wants to solve the world’s problems, and now. They are chomping at the bit to apply what they are learning, which is why I think our internships have really taken off.”
Although Forbes doesn’t list it, CMC is also home to the Innovative Start-Up Award, which pays $25,000 in “seed capital” for a student or student team’s business, directed through the college’s Kravis Leadership Institute.
The cash award was established in fall 2009 by alumni entrepreneurs Sunil Rajaraman ’01 and Adam Altman ’99, and is open to all current CMC students. The cash award gives them the venture capital to pursue entrepreneurial ideas that show merit.
The prize originally paid up to $10,000 (contingent upon the winning entrepreneur reaching several self-defined milestones), but was increased with financial support from alumnus and Trustee Henry R. Kravis 67.