The Neeley Entrepreneurship Program moved up in ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges for 2010 rankings of undergraduate colleges and specialties for 2009.
The program, which was not ranked last year, is ranked No. 18. The Neeley School of Business also moved up in the rankings, from No. 95 in 2008 to No. 83 out of 567 business schools ranked by U.S. News.
U.S. News surveyed every undergraduate business program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Deans and two senior faculty at each school were asked to rate the quality of all the programs that they were familiar with on a scale of one (marginal) to five (distinguished), according to the U.S. News Web site. Of those surveyed, 42 percent responded. U.S. News also asked for nominations of the best programs in specific business areas such as entrepreneurship.
David Minor, instructor of management and director of Neeley Entrepreneurship Program, said the program is known for having the largest student organization in the country, the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization, or TCUCEO. Members of TCUCEO participate in a national conference each fall where universities around the country network, compete and learn, he said.
The university is good at getting students to think outside of the box, said Minor, who founded the Neeley Entrepreneurship program in 2000. The courses and many experiences available through entrepreneur organizations give students an advantage.
“We put our students in front of successful entrepreneurs on a pretty regular basis,” Minor said.
Jeff Livney, a senior entrepreneurial management major, is a product of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Program. Livney started his own online marketing firm while he was in high school. He is also involved with a promotional products and advertising specialties distributor company.
The greatest things about the Neeley program are the networking and resources that the university is able to provide, Livney said.
“TCU really has carved a niche in the entrepreneurship program,” Livney said.
A former member of the TCUCEO, Justin Anderson is also putting his entrepreneurial experience to use.
Anderson, a alumnus with an English major and business minor, started a granola company called Anderson Trail when he was 16.
After going on a trip with his friend’s family and not being able to eat granola because of his braces, he started cooking soft granola. He shared it with his fellow Boy Scouts, and it went so fast that he started selling it.
“Just being able to go on vacation with them and see what was possible through the America free enterprise system got me motivated to want to start my own business,” Anderson said.
He started selling his granola in December of 2003 by word of mouth and is now selling his product in grocery stores. It’s the only soft granola on the market, Anderson said.
Anderson will be showcasing Anderson Trail granola Tuesday evening during an ice cream social at the campus Barnes & Noble.
Brad Hancock, director of Neeley Entrepreneurship Center, said entrepreneurs don’t always come from the Neeley School of Business. Any major is welcome to the clubs, Hancock said.
“A lot of times people can come and join our clubs and take advantage of the extracurricular events, and they’re not going to be sitting in an entrepreneurship classroom,” Hancock said.
All of this success may bring growth in the future, Hancock said.
“What we have is working great, nothing is broken, nothing needs fixed, but thinking entrepreneurially there (are) always opportunities to do new and better things,” Hancock said.
For example, the Neeley Entrepreneurship Program would like to enhance entrepreneurship in the community, not just on campus, Hancock said.