Monday, 31 July 2017

MBA ranking for Entrepreneurship - do they tell the real story?

MBA ranking for Entrepreneurship – Do they tell the real story


I returned to Cranfield School of Management as Director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship. Having been away in other Institutions for a number of years, my abiding memory was that it was a strongly entrepreneurial School, with many distinguished alumni. Afterall this is what drew me back, in order to work with the alumni base to develop a strong set of programmes and activities to engage the rest of the University which is strong in aerospace, transport systems, manufacturing, energy environment and of course defence in new venture creation.

I was in for a shock if the FT ranking table is to be believed. Cranfield are in 43rd place for entrepreneurship. Well numbers don’t lie do they?  Maybe we have not played the ranking game well enough – but what I can say is that the entrepreneurial alumni base is strong. Here is a bit of unashamed trumpeting of some of our MBA alumni.

Robert Wright – started Connectair, eventually sold it as CityFlier to BA – for a nice profit. He invested in Wizzair and helped the founding entrepreneur – Josef Varadi make a huge success of the airline.
Sarah Willingham – Made her fortune in the restaurant business. Her big success was with the Bombay Bicycle company. Most recently she was on Dragons Den and is now a mentor and investor.
Nick Jenkins – most recently on Dragons Den – but is on several boards, is a serial investor and that is because he made a great exit from the firm he founded - Monpig
Patrick Caiger Smith and
Simon Anderson – formed their alliance at the Cranfield Regatta and their company has grown on the back of providing the hardware for smart meters in the home- selling via British Gas.
Steve Joliffe – Has worked tirelessly to develop Top Golf – now a world leader in indoor golf. The company has huge venues in Las Vegas among other places.
Harry Clarke – has founded many companies and is mainly known for pioneering the car parking payment app - RinGo
Glenn Collinson – co-founder and Director of Cambridge Silicon Radio – which brought us Bluetooth
Warren East – grew ARM from a small tech company to a giant before leaving to take up the role as CEO of Rolls Royce

There are ofcourse numerous others and not only has Cranfield been instrumental in the lives of these successful entrepreneurs, we have had the Business Growth Programme running quietly for some 30 years now and the alumni on that came with flat lined business which subsequently accelerated to supergrowth levels of expansion. There are many household brands that we would recognise.

The point about this blog is not so much to list all the successes – simply to indicate that the entrepreneurial DNA is strong at Cranfield and we take pride in it.