ANN ARBOR — Since 1999, the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies has served as a catalyst in creating a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem on the University of Michigan campus and throughout the Midwest region.

Tuesday, the Institute’s important leadership position was recognized when The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine named The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business the fifth best graduate program for entrepreneurship in its joint “Top 25 Graduate Entrepreneurship Programs” ranking.

Through the Institute’s cross-disciplinary outreach, a firm foothold of entrepreneurship has been planted at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship, the School of Medicine’s Medical Innovation Center and, most recently, the Law School and its newly created ZEAL program funded through a $5 million gift from Sam Zell. The synergy created by the Institute has produced a model for entrepreneurial education that sets the University of Michigan apart from its peers.

Part of the Institute’s success stems from its identification of and focus on six core entrepreneurial skills, which have been highlighted in the Institute’s Fall Report 2011. Those skills — identifying the opportunity; designing, assessing, planning, and resourcing the business; and managing growth — are taught through a matrix of multidisciplinary coursework, action-based learning, staff and faculty seminars and alumni networking. These include a comprehensive and diverse family of student-led venture funds, the annual Michigan Business Challenge business plan competition, Dare to Dream grant program and myriad events, including the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium and Entrepalooza, the annual entrepreneurship symposium that took place this month with a keynote address from UM alumnus and Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell.

“The institute and other entrepreneurial centers on campus are teaching students how to launch multiple businesses rather than simply guiding them through the formation of a single business,” said Tim Faley, managing director of the Zell Lurie Institute. “This ‘learn-do, learn-do’ repetition is ultimately what differentiates our programmatic approach from others in higher education. It is the Michigan difference that we’ve seen work in the field, and I’m proud to consider the Institute a driving force behind our recurring high placement on the list of these top entrepreneurial programs.”

More than 2,000 schools were surveyed by The Princeton Review and evaluated based on key criteria in the areas of teaching entrepreneurship business fundamentals in the classroom, staffing departments with successful entrepreneurs, graduating students who actually create new ventures, excellence in mentorship, providing experiential or entrepreneurial opportunities outside of the classroom, as well as non-traditional, distinguishable aspects of their programs. The complete rankings will appear in the October issue of Entrepreneur, both in print and online.


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