Suddenly, running with the bulls seems to be gaining in popularity. Even little Mesquite seems to have caught the spirit of this life-threatening activity. Here in Utah, however, we are growing a little tired of running with the Bulls. We'd prefer to run with the Knicks or the Pacers or just about any other team in next year's NBA Finals.
At the BYU Center for Entrepreneurship, we are in our own run with the bulls, and it grows more intense every year.For four years the center has been listed among the top 25 entrepreneurial colleges in a prestigious ranking published by Success magazine. Last week, it was announced that we made the cut again, ranking 18th out of 130 panting and pawing competitors from coast to coast. The results are printed in the magazine's August issue.
In previous years, only the top five colleges were named. The rest were simply listed in a pack of 25 top schools, in no particular order. This year, however, Success turned up the heat when it ranked the winners numerically one through 25. Now the real bull-run begins.
At the center, we are pleased to be ranked 18th. But take a look at some of the bulls running behind us. Does the name Harvard Business School (No. 25) shake you up a bit, knowing they are just seven bulls back? They aren't used to being behind anyone. How about Cornell , MIT and Columbia Business School ? These schools and their alumni consider No. 1 their birthright. What color do you think these bulls are going to see when they read these double-digit numbers in the rankings? Red. Blood red. And it's our blood they'll be after.
Perhaps the biggest bull in the entrepreneur education ring is Babson College in Boston. They are No. 24 this year, down after being No. 1 for four years in a row. Babson recently received a $30 million donation to move its already world-class entrepreneurial program forward. These guys must really be seeing red with these rankings.
One of the real assets that Success recognized in the BYU program - and probably one of the key factors in the center's No. 18 ranking - is our innovative Founders program. Some 80 entrepreneurs have committed to be Founders in our entrepreneurial educational pursuit, giving money, time and energy to share their expertise with our entrepreneurial students and faculty. These men and women are our secret weapon. They are our Energizer Bunny; they just keep going year after year, serving voluntarily as mentors, guest lecturers, benefactors, sponsors of scholarships and in numerous other roles.
Sure, there are luminaries among them: Alan Ashton, Larry H. Miller, Hyrum Smith, Blake Roney and Stephen R. Covey, to name just a few. We love these guys, but they are only 5 percent of the Founders. There are 75 other entrepreneurs who have built fast-growth ventures that make us proud.
These are the guys and gals who week after week are there for us. Not all of them are BYU alumni (on a certain Saturday every fall, some of them have been known to wear - believe it or not - crimson) nor are they all members of the LDS faith. But they all recognize a good thing when they see it, and they are there for the students.
As wonderful as the current group of Founders is, however, they won't be enough to keep us from getting trampled next year by the bulls behind us. We need to find 20 new fast-running Founders who can help us move up in the pack while keeping ahead of the pressure from behind. The way I see it, if we can outrank schools like Harvard, Cornell, MIT, Babson and Columbia this year, with 20 new Founders we can be No. 1 - where we should be.
Personally, I'm tired of eating the dust of those road hogs . . . er, bulls up front. The BYU Center for Entrepreneurship is ready, willing and able to take the lead. Come join us as we thunder past such giants as UCLA, USC, Wharton, Northwestern and Stanford.
We know how good we are. No. 1, here we come.
And that's no bull.