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Growing Numbers of Wharton MBA Graduates Going the Startup Route

An increasing percentage of graduates of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School are choosing to start their own ventures or join fledgling companies, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Wharton reported that 7.4% of 2013 MBA grads are creating their own companies, a dramatic jump from 2.6% in 2008. With regard to sector, financial services and consumer goods and food are among the more popular areas of specialization, accounting for 15% and 8% of new student ventures, respectively.  An increasing number of first-year students are also choosing to spend their summer internships in startup environments, up to 70 this year from 61 last summer.

This change may be due in part to a shifting culture among Wharton students and administrators. Marissa Hu, President of the Wharton Entrepreneur Club, remarked on an increased emphasis in supporting students who are interested in entrepreneurship through the career management process and other institutional resources. Hu also attributed the jump in startup internships to a growing proportion of students entering the program with an interest in entrepreneurship but without a concrete plan or business idea of their own.

The internship provides exposure to the startup environment and imparts skills—which Hu notes are distinct from those required in a traditional corporate environment—that will be transferable to whatever venture students ultimately embark on. This illustrates the value of attending an MBA program with support for a range of career outcomes and corresponding training opportunities.

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