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### Top 50 Graduate Programs for Entrepreneurs: Stony Brook’s Impressive Ranking

Today, approximately 39% of Americans indicate that they have a side job, with 43% of full-time employees falling into this category. As per a recent article by Forbes, over half of the nation’s “side hustlers” are projected to transition into full-time business owners by 2024, driven by ongoing shifts in the economic and workforce landscape. With an increasing number of young professionals contemplating full-time entrepreneurship, it becomes crucial to grasp the forthcoming challenges.

Stony Brook University has consistently championed the entrepreneurial ethos. Recently, in its rankings, Princeton Review/Entrepreneur magazine acknowledged Stony Brook for its [ppp1].

“This recognition underscores the excellence and support available within Stony Brook’s entrepreneurial environment,” mentioned Richard Chan, an associate professor of management at the university. He highlighted the institution’s unwavering dedication to nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset and skill set, emphasizing its pivotal role in shaping the upcoming cohort of entrepreneurs.

For over two decades, the College of Business at Stony Brook has been offering distinctive graduate courses in entrepreneurship, distinguished by their interdisciplinary approach, hands-on learning methods, mentorship programs, and competitions. Both MBA candidates and other postgraduate students benefit from the resources and opportunities provided by the [ppp2], Center for Entrepreneurial Finance, and [ppp3]. Additionally, students have had the privilege of learning directly from accomplished entrepreneurs like Rob Basso, Marc Lore, Dawn Zier, and Richard Gelfond.

Chan underscored the program’s threefold focus on research, education, and service. “Our expertise lies in entrepreneurial finance research,” Chan stated. “That’s our primary area of concentration.”

This emphasis led him to initiate the [ppp4], a collaborative venture with finance professor Danling Jiang, emeritus professor Gerrit Wolf, and other faculty members. The center delves into how entrepreneurs secure, transfer, and manage financial resources.

“Our faculty guide students through either research-based or industry-centric projects,” Chan explained. “Students bring forth their topics of interest, and we pair them with relevant faculty members who assist them in publishing papers, gathering data, and engaging in research endeavors. We also collaborate with students to aid external stakeholders in resolving their business challenges.”

Research endeavors within the program revolve around strategies for innovation, development, and commercialization.

“For instance, in the previous year, we partnered with Stony Brook’s [ppp5], which specializes in functional materials discovery,” Chan elaborated. “They sought to enhance their ecosystem, leading to a joint effort to design a workshop for their researchers and postgraduate students.”

One of the program’s highlights is the [ppp6], a three-day workshop tailored for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers keen on exploring entrepreneurship. Looking ahead to 2024, Chan envisions an expansion through a collaboration with SoMAS, focusing on sustainability entrepreneurship.

“This collaboration will offer scientists in the renewable energy sector insights into the innovation commercialization process,” Chan elaborated. “Moreover, we run an MBA consulting project, an initiative aligned with our core courses. We assemble teams of MBA students to assist business owners and innovators in navigating the innovation and commercialization landscape effectively.”

Edward Fabian, an adjunct lecturer at the College of Business and an alumnus of the program’s inaugural MBA graduating class in ‘08, shared his perspective on the program’s evolution.

“My association with Stony Brook and its entrepreneurship and innovation programs dates back to my student days in 2007. Over the past fifteen years, I’ve witnessed the growth and evolution of the curriculum and department,” Fabian remarked. “Being recognized as a Top 50 program truly reflects the commitment and expertise of the faculty and staff involved.”

Fabian, who also serves as the president of American Eagle Systems, a Long Island-based audit compliance and data security firm, aims to inspire students to think innovatively.

“In today’s era, anyone can embark on an entrepreneurial journey, evident from the myriad individuals achieving success through technology and social platforms daily,” Fabian noted. “This generation dedicates significant time to self-promotion, underscoring the importance of innovation and leveraging these opportunities.”

Chan highlighted that the program has supported 28 businesses in tackling market challenges in the past couple of years.

“This initiative not only equips students with practical industry exposure to apply their knowledge in real-world problem-solving but also enables companies to tap into the expertise of budding entrepreneurs to address their business dilemmas,” Chan emphasized.

Alumnus Jawad Khalfan ‘18, ‘21, the co-founder and CEO of SecureTech Systems specializing in electronic security systems for commercial establishments, credited the program for instilling inspiration and confidence in him.

“The lessons and narratives shared by my professors were a source of immense inspiration and confidence for me,” Khalfan acknowledged. “Guest speakers recounted their challenges when initiating businesses amidst adversity. These individuals dared to challenge the status quo and pursue unconventional paths.”

Khalfan initiated his venture after experiencing a furlough early in the pandemic, driven by a realization regarding job security.

“My partner and I sensed the instability in our job positions and decided to venture into entrepreneurship to safeguard our future,” Khalfan shared. “The vulnerability of having my job eliminated prompted me to contemplate the trajectory I desired for myself.”

Chan emphasized the pivotal role of the program in shaping the future landscape of [ppp7].

“If we fail to establish a robust foundation, we risk missing out on lucrative business prospects,” Chan cautioned. “Currently, we are channeling considerable efforts into fostering technology entrepreneurship and sustainable business practices.”

Fabian echoed this sentiment, underlining the significance of harnessing the burgeoning potential of AI.

“In the contemporary workspace, embracing artificial intelligence and technological innovation is imperative,” Fabian stressed. “The rapid pace of product and idea development facilitated by technology necessitates that we enhance our productivity and leverage these tools effectively. With the plethora of apps and software available today, anyone can kickstart a venture within minutes, allowing entrepreneurs to experiment and learn from failures with minimal risks.”

— Robert Emproto