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January 2, 2011

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Are You An Entrepreneur Going Back To School? Attend Stanford University. Here’s Why.

Stanford University And EntrepreneurshipHave you ever heard of Sand Hill Road? Sand Hill Road is the heart of the venture capital world; a good comparison would be Wall Street’s relationship to the financial world. For years, commercial real estate on Sand Hill Road was the most expensive in the world.

If you didn’t know this, Sandhill road is located right next to Stanford University.

In fact, for many years Sand Hill Road ended in the middle of Stanford’s Shopping Center. The proximity of Stanford University provides students with access to the startup and venture capital world that no other university can provide.

Here is an example of this from my experiences: I had been invited to attend an event at Highland Capital Partners, which is a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. As I was driving to the event I noticed that I was heading directly to Stanford University. In fact, the headquarters of Highland Capital Partners is next to the campus.

I walked into the event and befriended the first individual I met. Great person; his name was Shane and he was working for a pharmaceutical company. He had graduated from Stanford in 04’. We continued speaking until another individual introduced himself; coincidentally, he was also a graduate from Stanford University. He was pursuing a startup focused on bio-technology and had recently received funding from a well know venture capital firm.

As the event continued another gentlemen made an introduction. He introduced himself as the Executive Dean of Entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley. He said he was attending the event to cultivate partnerships with the venture capital firms in the area. Ironically, although he held a faculty position at UC Berkeley, he specifically spoke about his experiences as an undergraduate and master’s student at Stanford.

After introducing myself to a number of other entrepreneurs and Stanford graduates, I wondered about the influence that Stanford University had on Silicon Valley. Their alumni network and accessibility to funding is unparalleled. In Silicon Valley, Stanford and Harvard are incomparably the top universities in the country. All other universities follow.

If you ever read the backgrounds of partners at Venture Capital firms, particularly in Silicon Valley, all partners will generally have Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degrees from either Harvard or Stanford.

If you are looking to go back to school and are considering a number of MBA programs, I highly recommend that you apply to Stanford University. If you have any interest in entrepreneurship, there is no stronger program to attend. Unfortunately, Stanford University’s MBA program is the most selective in the world, but we will create a following post to tackle that issue.

  • Steven

    This article assumes people can just get into Stanford. For the mass majority, this is not possible.

    • Hey Steven,

      The article was more meant to discuss the influence Stanford has on Silicon Valley and the opportunities from the program. You are right though; the Stanford MBA program has the lowest acceptance rate for business schools in the world.

  • Oh really? Great article. Thanks
     

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