USC's Trojans may have lost the No. 1 ranking in football, but in entrepreneurship it's another story.


The University of Southern California scored as the best graduate program in the nation for entrepreneurs, according to a ranking last week by Entrepreneur Magazine and the Princeton Review.


The rankings are based on a survey of mentoring, experiential learning, curriculum, alumni successes and career prospects for students.


Schools ranking highly on the survey develop entrepreneurs both inside and outside the classroom, with faculty, students and alumni actively involved in entrepreneurial companies.


"What makes us different is that our entrepreneurs go out and start amazing businesses," said David Bloom, associate dean at the USC Marshall School of Business, who noted that both MySpace.com and SalesForce.com developed from feasibility studies in USC classrooms.


Two other Los Angeles County schools appear high on the list. UCLA placed sixth and Loyola Marymount finished in 11th place.


Some 900 colleges and universities completed surveys for this year's ranking, 30 percent more than last year. The increase reflects the growing number of schools that teach entrepreneurial courses nationwide, according to Entrepreneur magazine.


Tom O'Malia, director of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC, said the school offers a sequence of classes from an introduction to entrepreneurship to the launch of a company. Most schools just have a core class on business plans and few supplemental courses, he said.


O'Malia also credits the school's location as a factor in its success. "Southern California is unique and there's nowhere that's number two. We are the most vibrant entrepreneurial economy in the world," he said. "Look at what happened when the aerospace industry declined. I don't know any other place in the world that could lose 800,000 jobs and absorb it. The economy quivered but it didn't fall."


Across town, UCLA has developed a specialty for "financial entrepreneurs" that it hopes to further develop so it can be used by other schools across the nation, said Elaine Hagan, executive director of the Harold & Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UCLA.

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