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University Rankings

Four takeaways from the 2022 PitchBook university rankings

The 2022 PitchBook university rankings are out now. Here are some of the key takeaways from the new data.

The PitchBook university rankings attempt to answer the question of which colleges have the best track record in producing entrepreneurs by counting the number of VC-backed founders among their alumni.

For 2022, PitchBook expanded the number of universities featured in the rankings, and for the first time included all postgraduate degree holders in the graduate rankings. PitchBook has also added data on universities to enable more refined analysis, including enrollment, geographic location and whether the school is publicly or privately funded.

While the usual suspects like Stanford University, UC Berkeley and Harvard are among the top schools, the rankings offered a number of other insights.

North American schools are dominant


North American universities continue to top the rankings, with 83 different American and Canadian schools appearing on the undergraduate and graduate lists, according to PitchBook data. European institutions were the second largest geographic group, with 27 universities, and 15 schools based in the Middle East and Asia made the lists. Four Australian universities made the cut.

While North American universities still produce the most entrepreneurs, the rest of the world is catching up.

When it comes to entrepreneurs with graduate degrees, European institutions make up more than a quarter of all schools on the list. Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, and INSEAD, based in France, made the list of top 20 graduate programs.

Middle Eastern and Asian universities also make up a sizable part of the list, with schools based in Israel and China leading the pack.

Israeli universities, led by Ben-Gurion University and Tel Aviv University, make up 6% of all schools in the undergraduate and graduate rankings, trailing only the United States and the UK. Two Chinese schools made the lists: Tsinghua University and Peking University.

Private schools top the lists; public ones make up majority of the rankings


Even though public universities make up the majority of schools that appear in PitchBook’s rankings, private universities including Harvard, Stanford, MIT and Columbia tend to dominate the top of the lists.

Nearly 65% of undergraduate schools on the list are public, compared to 35% for private institutions. However, in the US, the split between public and private universities was more even, and the majority of private institutions that made the list are based in the US.

Public institutions in general produced more founders, and those entrepreneurs garnered more capital than their counterparts from private universities. However, founders who attended a private university raised a disproportionately higher share of capital, according to PitchBook data.

Largest schools lead the way in undergraduate rankings


Universities with more than 30,000 students produced the most entrepreneurs, according to PitchBook data, with larger schools making up about 56% of all spots on the undergraduate list and slightly more than half on the female founders undergraduate list.

Founders who attended an American university with more than 30,000 students as an undergraduate were the largest group and garnered the most capital of any group, according to the data.

For graduate programs, on the other hand, universities with between 15,000 and 30,000 students, like Stanford, Harvard and Cambridge, produced the most founders.

Female founders thrive in North American universities


In terms of geography, North American universities dominate the rankings for female founder undergraduates and graduates, making up the majority of both lists. Stanford and Harvard topped the lists.

The next closest region, Europe, makes up less than a quarter of schools on the graduate list and only 2% of the undergraduate list.

Female founders from North American undergraduate programs have raised the most capital of any geographic group of female founders, according to the data.

This is consistent with the data on PitchBook’s Female Founders Dashboard, which shows that US-based female founders tend to garner more capital than their European counterparts.

Featured image of Stanford University by jejim/Shutterstock

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