Entrepreneurship refers to a subset of business professionals who build and run their own companies in various contexts, from technology start-ups to niche market service providers to consultancy firms in fields like healthcare, legal affairs, and managerial science. There are also entrepreneurial opportunities within existing enterprises, through franchising, venture capital funding, and the development of new brands, products, and services for larger companies.
Entrepreneurs draw on many of the same skills that apply in other types of businesses, including knowledge of accounting practices, financial planning models, marketing strategies, personnel management approaches, and organizational leadership methods. However, there are additional skills that apply uniquely to entrepreneurship, which may include research methods for identifying and developing new markets and business opportunities. And there are additional areas of knowledge that are associated with entrepreneurship, from consultancy practices and franchise laws, to funding strategies and small-business technology management. These are some of the topics that are typically addressed in an MBA program with a specialization in entrepreneurship.
An MBA is a Master of Business Administration degree, which is the formal name for a program that provides professional training and instruction in a range of business practices, strategies, and proficiencies. Core areas of instruction in an MBA program include accountancy, financial analytics, strategic marketing, project and personnel management, and organizational communication and leadership.
An MBA in entrepreneurship is a program that provides this core training and offers additional intermediate and upper-level coursework in topics relevant to small businesses, start-ups, and other entrepreneurial ventures. Students in an MBA program with an entrepreneurship specialization complete the core curricular requirements for a master’s-level business administration degree, and take a designated grouping of two or more classes that address issues pertaining to entrepreneurship, usually in lieu of general elective coursework.
In addition to traditional campus-based MBA programs, there are a wide range of online MBA programs that provide the same training and instruction as their campus-based counterparts using distance-learning technologies, including online MBA programs with an entrepreneurship track. Online MBA programs utilize learning management systems (LMSs) to delivery all or most of the required coursework to students anywhere with a secure Internet connection. The LMS also functions as a means for students to interact with instructors and classmates. An online MBA program with a designated track in entrepreneurship allows students who cannot or would prefer not to relocate or commute to a college or university with a more convenient and flexible alternative to attending on-campus classes.
OnlineEducation.com researches and analyzes online MBA programs to ensure that they meet several criteria, and classifies qualifying programs based on the specialized coursework they offer. MBA programs on the site must be offered by regionally accredited, non-profit colleges and universities with a business school or department that has additional accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). These programs must provide all or most of their coursework online. MBA programs that require students to attend more than two on-campus sessions per year are currently not listed on the site. In order for a program to be classified as an MBA in entrepreneurship program, it must have a designated track in entrepreneurship consisting of two or more courses in topics relevant to the specialization.
Students who enroll in an online MBA program with an entrepreneurship specialization take all of the core courses that are part of a general MBA curriculum. This includes introductory and intermediate classes in accounting, finance, managerial leadership, marketing, business operations, and personnel and project management. They also complete a specialized curriculum of courses that cover topics in entrepreneurship, such as product and organizational development; small business planning and seed financing; new concept development and marketing; and social media strategies for entrepreneurs. Finally, most MBA programs include a capstone project, which challenges students to apply what they have learned to a real-world issue in a particular area of business administration. Students who choose an entrepreneurship concentration typically focus their capstone work on an issue within that specialization.
While curricular details and course names vary by program, specialized coursework in entrepreneurship generally focuses on the application of general business principles and strategies to small businesses, start-ups, and other entrepreneurial ventures. The table below provides an overview of courses that might typically be completed as part of an MBA track in entrepreneurship.
|Small Business Management||An survey of the practical considerations for small business managers, including market research, venture capital, tax liabilities, and leadership strategies.|
|Integrated Marketing for Entrepreneurs||Digital marketing and web-based communication strategies for marketing new ventures and entrepreneurial businesses.|
|Business Innovation & Technology Management||Tools and strategies for identifying emerging trends, responding to market forces, and managing change and innovation.|
|Entrepreneurial Businesses||Business planning for entrepreneurs, including organizational structures for small businesses, funding plans for start-ups, and sales strategies for new products and services.|
|Business Consultancy||The fundamentals of starting a consulting company, from initial funding to developing a client base to managing growth.|
The basic requirement for MBA program eligibility is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. In addition to undergraduate transcripts, applicants to MBA programs may be asked to furnish two or more letters of recommendation, a personal goals statement, formal answers to one or more essay questions, and/or GMAT test scores. There are also many online MBA programs that do not require the GMAT, a personal goals statement, or letters of recommendation. Other criteria for admissions vary by program. Some programs have a minimum cumulative GPA requirement or preference, while others may prefer candidates with one or more years of professional experience. Applicants should also take note of any undergraduate prerequisites they may have to complete before enrolling in an MBA program. These may include college-level statistics, mathematics, and/or business/economics courses.
While online MBA programs are generally designed to accommodate a range of students who may have work or other commitments outside of school, there are variations in online program formats than can impact their relative convenience and flexibility. The three factors to consider in this regard are: the mode of online instruction (synchronous vs. asynchronous instruction); part-time vs. full-time enrollment options; and whether or not a program requires students to attend on-campus sessions as part of the curriculum. For more details on these variations, see our Online MBA Programs page.