Milestone Map for Future Entrepreneurs
What’s next? That’s always the question for entrepreneurs, who have the freedom to make any number of moves in pursuit of the dream to be their own boss. The following life path is one of many that budding entrepreneurs can pave with the help of an MBA education.
High school fundraiser
Accepts challenge from teacher to organize fundraiser insupport of local charity
Off to college
Two years of community college, then transfers to university to study computer science
Starts first business
Turns tech skills into a successful business building custom-made computers
Back to school
While running the business, elects to pursue online MBA in entrepreneurship
Partners with MBA classmate to launch tech startup, donates extra computers to underserved kids
Named on nationally recognized 50 Under 50 innovators list
Entrepreneurship MBA: Learning Online
Online business programs often offer the same rigorous course load and benefits of their brick-and-mortar counterparts, but with the ability to shape the curriculum around the student’s schedule. Students enrolled in an online MBA can still expect to have direct lines of communication with instructors, and those with families and busy work schedules can take advantage of online MBA programs to receive a degree without interrupting their lives. However, while online students can expect to use a host of technologies – including digital blackboards, Skype, web conferencing and classroom forums – it is also often expected of students to come to campus at least a few times per year.
Program Styles for the Online Entrepreneurship MBA
Receiving an online MBA in entrepreneurship is focused on developing and honing the skills needed to create and sustain business ventures. Studies generally combine real-world practices with entrepreneurial theory to best prepare students for their current and future endeavors. With that overall goal in mind, online MBA programs in entrepreneurship are broken up into specialized concentrations.
- Executive (2 years)
- Full-time (2 years)
- Part-time (3 years)
Individuals with significant experience in their careers, who are working toward senior management positions, may choose executive MBA programs. Students can expect to learn how to become more effective leaders by applying concepts learned in the classroom to their organizations. Often employer-sponsored, these programs are designed for those who can handle a heavy educational workload in addition to the responsibilities already expected in their work and home lives. The program generally requires about 19 credits.
A full-time online MBA in entrepreneurship program is designed for individuals who have the time to commit to a full-time school schedule. Internships are a focal point of the full-time program. It is similar to that of the executive MBA program in length, requiring about 19 credits.
Designed for those who need a flexible schedule while still receiving a quality education, part-time online programs are ideal for professionals who do not have time to take off work or move locations. Programs generally require 19 to 21 credits.
Entrepreneurship Courses for MBA Students
While certain course offerings are specific to the universities that offer them, several themes emerge as ones that are integral to curricula across online MBA in entrepreneurship programs. Here are a few examples of class offerings:
Creativity in Business Decision Making
Developing products and processes requires an open and creative mind. This course allows students to practice innovative thinking through a variety of activities such as role-playing and simulations.
Evaluating Business Ventures
A vital part of the entrepreneurial process is recognizing which breakthrough technologies are worth the investment, and which do not justify the risk. This course offers a practice session in the real-world application of screening and analyzing startups.
Foundations of Entrepreneurship
The different areas of new venture growth; innovation in new business development; and best practices in business are covered in this course, which is geared specifically toward students with an interest in working the new business sector.
Small Business Finance
There are many ways to attain the funding necessary to start a small business ¬– venture capital, crowd funding and SBA loans to name a just a few. However, there is far more to small business finance than simply getting a company off the ground. This course familiarizes students with the nuances of entrepreneurial finance, and how to use that knowledge in their own ventures.
Managing Growing Ventures
Starting small businesses and new ventures are the sole purpose for most entrepreneurs, but it’s common for things to wrong when managing a new and growing operation. This course teaches students best practices in the development of new businesses, including strategy, marketing, finance and leadership.
College Checklist: How to Choose the Best School for Your Online MBA in Entrepreneurship
With so many available options for online MBA programs, it’s vital for prospective students to research the details of each entrepreneurship program to find a good fit. Although the search may seem overwhelming at first, there are some key considerations to help narrow the choices when shopping for the ideal online business school.
- Identify the type and level of degree that will best complement both your career aspirations and your lifestyle. If you want a certain specialization, confirm that the school offers it.
- Check program start dates to ensure they will work with your schedule.
- Academic prerequisites and standards vary by school. Some require students to have taken certain courses, and maintained a minimum GPA. Students may also have to take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test).
- School accreditation is a key factor, as many employers will not consider graduates of non-accredited programs.
- Go in-depth to find out about schools by scouring their websites for information and visiting the physical campus (if there is one).
- Speak with current students or recent alumni about their experiences and perceptions of the program.
- Consult an admissions representative for more details about the program’s content, as well as graduation and placement rates.
- Most online programs offer extensive support services to students, but it’s worth double checking. Look for services such as tutoring and academic advising, library privileges, and career placement services.
- Cost is an important consideration. Ensure tuition and fees are within your budget, and check the financial aid options and availability offered by different schools.
Understanding MBA Accreditation
When comparing online entrepreneurship programs, it’s critical for students to find out the school’s accreditation status, and how that may translate into the overall quality of the MBA program. Non-accredited online programs do not carry the same weight as accredited schools, and could hinder future chances for employment.
More information about online business school accreditation can be found in our comprehensive MBA and accreditation guides.
Enrolling in an Entrepreneurship MBA: Best Practices
Despite the sometimes daunting nature of pursuing an MBA, having a solid game plan in place will allow you to best prepare and stay on track.
||Time Before Program Start Date
Obtain a bachelor’s degree
Gain work experience
Take the GMAT exam (if necessary for the desired online MBA program)
Apply to desired online MBA program(s)
11 months for Round One admissions.
8 months for Round Two admissions.
Apply for and secure financial aid; including grants, loans, FAFSA® and scholarships.
In addition to getting your schedule in place, consider going the extra mile by gaining experiences that can help you stand out in a field of applicants, as well as help you build an invaluable network of connections for the future. Prep work might include:
- Take high school or undergrad classes that allow you to develop and practice skills in business, finance and leadership; doing creative, project-based work allows you to use a variety of skills, and is a good way to determine whether pursuing an MBA in entrepreneurship is the right choice.
- Take a single online business class to test the waters to see what an online MBA in entrepreneurship might be like.
- Volunteer or intern at a startup or small business to get hands-on experience and a closer look at how businesses work on different levels.
- Join a professional organization or club; these can serve as excellent ways to network with other entrepreneurs. Start with this list of the 12 must-join organizations for entrepreneurs according to Entrepreneur.com.
Careers Beyond Entrepreneurship
An online MBA in entrepreneurship confers a mark of distinction on graduates, regardless of their eventual career path. Though many entrepreneurs create their own ventures, the skills learned in this MBA program can translate directly to positions within existing businesses. Some of these include:
Manages the sales teams of a business or organization. Responsibilities include analyzing data, developing training programs for sales representatives, and setting sales goals for the fiscal year. Job growth for the position is steady at 5 percent, slightly less than the national average.
Training and Development Manager
Entrusted with the development of employees’ knowledge and skill sets, these professionals plan, direct and coordinate programs to educate employees and help maximize their potentials. The profession is growing at 7 percent, on pace with national job growth.
Monitors and analyzes the performance of stocks, bonds and other investments for a business, organization or individual. With job growth at 12 percent, above the national average, financial analysts are in high demand throughout the country. A bachelor’s degree will serve for entry-level jobs; advanced positions may require a master’s.
Administrative Services Manager
The responsibilities in this versatile position may vary from business to business; however, in general these individuals are responsible for the supportive services of their workplace. Growth for the position is remaining relatively stable at 8 percent, consistent with the national average.
Although job duties can vary, the overarching aim of an analyst (sometimes called a consultant) is to improve an organization’s efficiency. With job growth at 14 percent, the demand for management analysts is growing significantly faster than the national average.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Next Steps: Certification for Entrepreneurs
An advantage to being an entrepreneur is the ability to help others build their businesses. With a thorough understanding of both day-to-day business operations and the big picture, entrepreneurs are well positioned to offer guidance to businesses on sharpening their focus, expanding into new territory, and improving the bottom line.
An optional, yet respected, qualification for entrepreneur grads is the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation, offered through the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC).
To achieve this certification, recipients must pass rigorous oral and written examinations, as well as undergo a thorough review of their practices in ethics, competence, professional behavior, client and project management, and personal conduct. Though the testing is intense, it is a great boon to a management consultant’s professional career.
Alternative MBA Degrees
While entrepreneurship is an exciting concentration within MBA programs, those with a flair for business who wish to work in other capacities may choose related concentrations such as:
These programs focus on strategic decision making and its application to building a company’s overall brand, as well as its individual products and services. Students gain knowledge in the how various markets work, operating procedures, and gaining a competitive advantage.
A finance specialization allows students to learn about investment banking, corporate finance, real estate finance, and asset management. This specialization is especially useful for someone who is interested in using financial systems within a business or institution.
in Information Technology
Information technology deals with using information and communications technologies in the business world. Not to be confused with computer science, this specialization is concerned with how IT can be used to streamline business operations.
Helpful Resources for Entrepreneurs