Forbes recently published their list of America’s Top Colleges. “Princeton edged Williams College out of first place in the No. 2 spot on this year’s rankings, which focuses on student outcomes, including career prospects, graduation rates and low levels of debt,” according to a recent press release.
However, what caught my attention was Forbes Top 20 Most Entrepreneurial Colleges. “Mining it’s database of 20 million college grads, Linkedin identified alumni of these 20 schools as founders of the most companies with 10-plus employees,” reports Forbes. Stanford, No. 3 on the Top Colleges list comes out on top of this list.
Instagram CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom, a Stanford grad, was recently profiled in a cover story titled, “How Standford Made Instagram an Instant Success.” Unfortunately, it’s not published on the Forbe’s website—you’ll need to purchase the hard-copy of the magazine to read it (the article is on page 56). On page 64 you can also read about Stanford Professor David Cheriton. Forbes suggests that he is likely the wealthiest full-time academic in the world (his net worth is $1.3 billion).
I’m sure Stanford’s location doesn’t hurt, but they have to be doing something right to turn out so many successful entrepreneurs. Does that mean a Stanford education is essential to business success? Of course not. I know a number of very successful entrepreneurs who didn’t even go to college. What’s more, there are even entrepreneurs featured within the covers of Forbes Magazine who didn’t attend or finish college. However the networking and exposure to incredibly successful faculty and alumni like Kevin Systrom and Dr. Cheriton has to be an incredible advantage.
You can read more about Forbes rankings and determine where your school appeared on the list, but I’m convinced the key to making the most of an education involves building relationships, finding a good mentor and taking advantage of every opportunity you have to network with successful people. There are some things that are best learned from someone already in the trenches who can show you the ropes. With professors like Dr. Cheriton on staff, it looks like Stanford has that somehow figured out.