Want to study alongside the next Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey or Richard Branson? Or perhaps you imagine starting Uber’s biggest rival while tackling an MBA on the side?

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that California should be your chosen destination, with Stanford Graduate School of Business topping both a Financial Times list of MBA courses for entrepreneurs as well as the overall global list.

Image: FT MBA Ranking 2018

The Master of Business Administration has long been loved by employers. While it’s widely accepted as a qualification that can bolster your CV, enhance your earning power and help you expand your network, the top schools are also focused on fostering innovation.

Institutions in the US and UK dominate the list for students looking to turn their ideas into a business, making up 90% of the top 20 MBAs for entrepreneurs. Babson College in Massachusetts ranks second, followed by Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. The top UK schools are Lancaster University Management School and City, and University of London’s Cass Business School.

Encouraging innovation

These courses set about teaching risk-taking, drive, determination and imagination, with a view to breeding the start-up bosses of tomorrow.

Switzerland and Germany are the only other countries that feature, each has one entry in the top 20, with WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management at number six and the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne in seventh.

The survey also looked at how the skills gained on a particular MBA course encouraged the entrepreneurs to start a company. Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business ranked first in this regard, while Stanford slipped to fifth place. Lancaster in north-west England might not spring to mind as quickly as Menlo Park, California as a hotbed for innovation, but the city’s management school ranked third for inspiring students to start their own business.

Female entrepreneurs

For women, the picture is slightly different, with UK courses making up four out of the top five when the proportion of female graduates among the entrepreneurs is taken into account.

Durham University Business School is first, with 50% female entrepreneurs. London Business School, University of Bath School of Management and Cranfield School of Management also feature in the top five, as well as Germany’s ESMT Berlin.

Image: FT top 50 MBA programmes for entrepreneurship in 2018

Babson College in the US boasts the biggest percentage of MBA graduates who founded a company, at 37% and is also ranked top when graduates were asked how much the business school they attended helped to start their company.

Finance is also a key factor, and the US tops the rankings here again. Michigan’s Ross School of Business ranked number one when students were asked how much the alumni network had helped secure financing, followed by Dartmouth and Stanford.

At Cass Business School in London – which ranked fifth in the overall listings – students can tap in to a £10 million ($13.2 million) venture-capital fund for investments ranging in value from £250,000 ($330,800) to £1 million ($1.3 million).