The Best of Colorado Personal Development 2019
This list covers everything from coworking and education to nonprofits and fitness
The University of Denver offers more than 300 academic programs to about 12,000 graduate and undergraduate students. With an average class size of 21 students, the mid-size university has an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The private university partners with businesses and the community to give students the opportunity to solve problems throughout the state, addressing challenges such as homelessness, healthy aging and sustainability. With students from more than 80 countries, the university promotes a culture of inclusiveness, and about 70 percent of its undergraduate students participate in study-abroad programs.
BEST MBA PROGRAM
Last year the number of applications for the MBA program at University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business increased by 10 percent, while nationally the number was down or flat. “We have this unique combination of truly stellar world-class faculty and this amazing ecosystem business community,” Dean Sharon Matusik says. “That’s great for our students who come from the state of Colorado and it also helps us attract talent from out of state.”
One recent development has been the High Growth Ventures fellowship, which helps students gain experience with small to midsize, rapidly growing companies. “These are the kind of jobs students love,” Matusik says. “You can get into rapidly growing organizations, and if you do well, grow along with them.”
BEST EXECUTIVE MBA PROGRAM (TIE)
Colorado State University’s College of Business Executive MBA Program teaches students how to face the complexities of leadership, growth, human capital, information management and many other facets of the fast-paced business world. Designed for busy working professionals, 60 percent of CSU’s program is in-person in classes in downtown Denver, and 40 percent is online. The AACSB-accredited curriculum is tailored to prompt discussions that broaden and develop students’ leadership skills and demonstrate how to achieve greater organizational impact. In addition to the online and downtown Denver classes, students participate in three on-campus residencies in Fort Collins and one international residency.
University of Colorado Executive MBA students learn how to develop a broad business perspective, how to think strategically and how to make confident decisions based on bottom-line results. The program features a collaborative learning environment and real-world, case-based curriculum. The degree, which is designed for working business professionals, can be completed in less than two years and is designed for minimal career disruption. The facilities are designed for the executive-level student, and the classrooms resemble a technologically advanced boardroom more than a classroom.
BEST COWORKING OR COLLABORATIVE WORKSPACE
With nine locations totaling more than 600,000 square feet, WeWork is the largest user of office space in Denver. Companies of all sizes converge at WeWork’s locations. WeWork’s office spaces include amenities like never-ending coffee, a dedicated front desk and modern meeting rooms. Its members also enjoy flexible workspace plans, professional events and assistance from community managers. Businesses can choose from shared workspace, private offices or office suites.
BEST FITNESS CLUB
With more than 400 locations in 13 states, 24 Hour Fitness is open when and where its members need it. The health club provides members the motivation they need to achieve their fitness goals through studio and cycle classes, on-demand workouts through its 24GO Workout App, personal training and 24Life magazine, which is packed with ideas for a healthy mindset, nourishment, movement and recovery. The San Ramon, California-based company has nearly 4 million members across the country.
BEST FUNDRAISER/CHARITY EVENT
Climb for Courage benefits the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation. Entrants compete in a timed stair climb race covering 2,700 stairs (2.7 kilometers) around the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium or participate in a shorter, untimed Fun Wave around the lower portion of Falcon Stadium. Children’s Hospital Colorado is expanding its pediatric health system in Southern Colorado and building a new children’s hospital in Colorado Springs, set to open this year.
The Orbiter Project provides small businesses with knowledge, tools and community. “For us, it’s all about keeping that American dream within reach for women, minority and veteran-owned businesses,” founder Erik Wolf says. “All of our co-founders are entrepreneurs. We all know what it means to work harder than you ever have for something you believe in.”
The nonprofit started as a software company and then pivoted when it discovered the challenges facing small businesses. “For every two small businesses that start today, the odds are good that one will be closed within two years,” Wolf says. “Small business represents most of the jobs and two-thirds of the job creation in this country, and so we all win when entrepreneurs succeed.”
BEST PLACE TO MOVE/START A BUSINESS
According to the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, the state’s second largest city offers new economic development competitiveness initiatives, has seen year-over-year increases in high-quality jobs and has been nationally recognized for its appeal. Colorado Springs opportunity zones include the City of Fountain, which is 10 miles away and is a gateway to the region, Cimarron Hills in unincorporated El Paso County, and the Colorado Springs Airport, which has 900 acres available for retail, industrial, office and more. The City of Colorado Springs Rapid Response Team provides expedited review and approval of land-use applications and building permits for eligible projects.
This article is part of Best of Colorado 2019. Explore all the winners & finalists: