Best suited to talented, ambitious, and motivated self-starters, entrepreneurship MBA programs typically require 36-54 credits of advanced business management coursework. Degree length depends on program pace, requiring 1-4 years of focused, full- or part-time attendance.
MBA students typically complete about 21-33 credits of core coursework in business areas such as management and microeconomics, plus 9-15 credits of entrepreneurship-focused electives. Many MBA core curricula include capstone projects in which learners create business plans for an organization.
Earning an online MBA in entrepreneurship can qualify graduates for various lucrative occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that business and financial professionals earned a median annual salary of $68,350 in 2018 and projects these occupations to grow 7% from 2018-2028.
An MBA in entrepreneurship qualifies graduates for salary advancement in their current positions or promotions to higher-paying jobs. PayScale salary data indicates a $100,000 average annual salary for MBAs in entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurs who start successful businesses stand to earn considerably higher salaries.
Careers in Entrepreneurship
Every business began as a new venture, so the entrepreneurship field can include businesses of all sizes in all industries. Entrepreneurial professionals may found or manage companies in diverse industries, including construction, finance, manufacturing, and health services.
Not all entrepreneurship MBAs start businesses. Some professionals use their degrees to pursue other consulting or leadership roles. Companies may hire MBAs to innovate or expand business areas or projects, and some MBAs become social entrepreneurs who start or lead nonprofit or for-profit ventures dedicated to social equity and opportunity. See below for descriptions of popular roles for graduates with an MBA in entrepreneurship.
Graduates with an entrepreneurship MBA may work as top executives. These executives design plans, strategies, and policies for a business and oversee their implementation. Duties depend on the nature and size of each business, but major duties usually include staffing, budgeting, supervising operations, and accounting. These professionals make investment decisions and negotiate businesses and contracts with clients and suppliers. Top executives also oversee quality control and make decisions about compensation.
General and Operations Manager
Job descriptions for these managers vary by company and industry, but many managers create policies, monitor operations, and make decisions regarding distribution of resources. General and operations managers often perform administrative tasks, such as scheduling, assigning work, and managing projects. Like top executives, these professionals sometimes create policies, goals, and plans for their companies.
These professionals oversee all aspects of organizational finances, including financial planning, budgeting, investing, and reporting. Financial managers possess advanced quantitative, leadership, and interpersonal skills. Many financial managers analyze financial data and market trends, using these findings to guide business decisions. Financial manager job titles include controller, treasurer, finance officer, and credit/cash/risk manager.
Small Business Owner
Many MBAs in entrepreneurship aspire to start or enhance their own businesses. These professionals oversee all business aspects of their companies, including planning, structuring, hiring, and training. Small business owners typically conduct company budgeting, accounting, and payroll. These professionals often work long hours during their early years, but they eventually enjoy schedule flexibility and autonomy. Some small business owners work as independent contractors, taking contract work as consultants, designers, or other service providers for individuals or companies.
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager
These managers design and manage marketing campaigns to attract buyers. They usually supervise other marketing staff and collaborate with clients, designers, and financial departments to produce creative content and campaign budgets. Related titles for these professionals include media director and account executive.
How to Choose a Program in Entrepreneurship
Choosing an MBA in entrepreneurship program can prove a daunting task, but the list below can help aspiring learners inform their choices. Usually more costly than other master's programs, MBA programs tend to boast high returns on investment, which makes them worth the price.
Online MBA in entrepreneurship programs vary widely in curricula, pace, and requirements, so aspiring MBA students should make sure to pick programs that align with their career goals and schedules.
Ask for information on how lessons are delivered in the program
Many online programs allow students to learn asynchronously, watching lectures and participating in discussions at their convenience. However, some programs require online students to attend live virtual class sessions at specific times, so students should consider their schedule constraints when choosing a program format.
Additionally, some programs feature cohort- and/or team-based learning, while others involve more independent work. Students who enjoy collaborative learning often choose cohort-based MBA programs involving interactive discussions and group projects.
Get details on what support is available to students
Some schools and MBA programs offer more technical, academic, and career support resources than others. Students often benefit from individualized advising, as informed guidance and planning can save learners time and money on a degree. Online IT support, tutoring, and career counseling may also help online learners at various stages of their program.
Estimate your expected program costs
Tuition prices vary widely by program, but high-quality MBA programs often charge about $60,000 in tuition. Distance learners tend to pay lower tuition rates than on-campus students while saving money on residency and commuting costs.
Aspiring learners should examine prospective programs' data on student outcomes and return on investment (ROI) to ensure they choose a program that supports positive career and salary outcomes. Good MBA programs typically pay for themselves by increasing graduates' salary potential.
Ensure the school's admission requirements align with your expectations
Most MBA in entrepreneurship programs only consider applicants with bachelor's degrees from accredited colleges or universities. Applicants usually submit recommendation letters, application essays, and resumes demonstrating two or more years of professional experience. Many schools also require GMAT/GRE test scores, with waivers available to applicants with relevant professional and/or academic experience.
Many MBA programs call for business-related prerequisites in accounting, finance, or economics. MBA students lacking prior coursework from business-related bachelor's degrees may potentially complete prerequisites through foundation courses at the beginning of their MBA program.
Compare student outcomes data
Student outcome data offers an excellent measure of MBA program quality. Indicators of high academic quality include high graduation rates, high post-graduation employment and/or graduate school enrollment rates, low loan default rates, and high net present value or ROI. Other quality indicators include small class sizes and diversified program offerings.
Many online MBA program websites highlight their top statistics, and some provide links to more detailed student outcome data. Studying and comparing this data across programs can help prospective learners identify high-quality programs.
Look for partnerships with local businesses and communities
Established, reputable MBA programs often maintain successful partnerships with local businesses and communities. These connections often offer MBA students internship opportunities, which provide on-the-job learning and networking. Some internships lead to employment opportunities after graduation.
Make sure the program is accredited
High-quality MBA programs boast programmatic accreditation from one of three top MBA program accreditors: the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Additionally, top MBA programs appear at schools with regional accreditation. These schools meet high academic standards according to accrediting agencies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Speak with current students and alumni
Current students and alumni often know the most about a program's advantages and disadvantages, so applicants should speak with these experienced individuals, if possible. They can provide information not included on program websites, such as the best approaches and courses to take during an MBA program.
MBA program curricula vary considerably. For example, some entrepreneurship MBA programs focus heavily on cultivating general management skills, while others feature more specialized tracks and/or elective flexibility. Many programs also require students to complete capstone projects or internships, so applicants should make sure they can meet such requirements.
See below for sample course descriptions, which may appear in MBA entrepreneurship programs. Keep in mind that course offerings vary by program.
- Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship Management
This course explores the evolution of venture capital and the technology sector, starting from the late 1990s and continuing through the present. Students examine how internet-based business models have reduced infrastructure costs for startups and increased competition as business has globalized. Industries and companies discussed include biotechnology, sustainable energy, social media and entertainment, and IT. The course also touches upon contemporary changes in phenomena like high valuations and exit opportunities.
- Technology Strategy and Business Innovation
This course examines how technology and innovation management strategies influence company outcomes, focusing on market opportunities and responses. Students learn to manage processes and investments related to technology, research and development, and innovation. The course emphasizes the importance of anticipating new technologies in staying competitive. Learners gain exposure to tools and methods for understanding trends, risks, and threats and responding creatively.
- Managing a Sustainable Small Business
This practical course provides applied strategies for the establishment, organization, and management of sustainable small businesses. Enrollees acquire skills and best practices for small business planning, marketing, financing, and accounting. This course introduces helpful business technologies, which assist in operations management and sustainability. Students also learn about governmental compliance at federal, state, and local levels.
Comparison of Entrepreneurship Degrees and Specializations
MBA programs cultivate skills and expertise in management and business growth, preparing graduates to become founders or leaders of startups or other entrepreneurial ventures. A master's in entrepreneurship resembles an MBA, but core management coursework tends to focus more on small business contexts. Master's in leadership programs take a more general approach, covering management knowledge and skills relevant to many kinds of organizations.
|Degree Type||Description||Potential Career Paths|
|MBA in Entrepreneurship||These degrees give candidates the skills they need to start new businesses and manage companies as they grow. Core MBA courses include marketing, finance, leadership, and organizational behavior. Specialization courses give graduates skills in venture capital, lean management, and business growth strategies.||Leadership roles in startup organizations like chief operating officer, founder, and venture capitalist. These professionals get new business ideas off the ground.|
|Master's in Entrepreneurship||These degrees teach many of the same skills as MBAs with this concentration. However, core business courses focus more on how business functions work in small companies. For example, students learn about marketing in cash-strapped startups rather than global corporations.||Founders of local, small businesses. These entrepreneurs wear many hats to keep their companies afloat.|
|Master's in Leadership||These degrees focus on management for all types of organizations, including corporations, small businesses, government organizations, and nonprofits. Students take courses in promoting collaboration, implementing change, and building company cultures. These courses give them the skills they need to manage large groups of employees and affect change within institutions.||Managers and top executives in all types of organizations.|
Cost and Length of an Entrepreneurship Degree
Like most high-quality MBA programs, top entrepreneurship MBAs usually feature high tuition rates, typically costing $30,000-$80,000. Additional costs may include books, living expenses, and university fees. However, online programs often boast lower tuition rates than on-campus programs. The career and salary advancement that accompanies an MBA often compensates for the program's cost within a few years.
An MBA in entrepreneurship typically comprises 36-70 credits, though this range depends on whether programs treat foundational business courses as prerequisites or as part of the MBA. Students boasting successful performance in an undergraduate business program can typically transfer these credits toward the MBA.
Programs following a traditional academic calendar with 15-week semesters usually take full-time students about two years to complete. Part-time learners may take 3-4 years to graduate. However, accelerated programs featuring intensive eight-week courses allow students to graduate faster. Full-time students in an accelerated program may graduate in as little as one year.
Cohort-based programs, such as James Madison University's part-time, blended MBA program in innovation, often require students to move through the MBA on a set schedule. Busy working adults should consider their schedule constraints carefully before enrolling in programs with restrictive timelines.
- Is an MBA useful for an entrepreneur?
- Earning an MBA in entrepreneurship can help current and future entrepreneurs cultivate advanced business skills in the most important areas of entrepreneurship. Core topics include accounting, leadership, business strategy, and human resource management.
- What MBA program is best for entrepreneurs?
- Small business owners may benefit from a master's in entrepreneurship, while aspiring innovators working in larger companies often opt for MBA degrees. Entrepreneurs typically benefit the most from programs featuring courses relevant to their industry, but general MBA core courses also create opportunities for advanced skills development.
- What can you do with a degree in entrepreneurship?
- Degrees in entrepreneurship offer the diverse skill set that business founders need to succeed. These degrees also make graduates attractive to companies seeking innovative, creative professionals with versatile skills.
Looka Student Entrepreneur Scholarship
Looka offers a $1,000 scholarship, plus a free enterprise logo package and marketing opportunity, to a small business owner enrolled full time in a bachelor's or graduate program in marketing, design, or business. Applicants must boast a minimum 2.5 GPA and submit transcripts, a business plan, and a 500-750-word essay.
HostGator Website Scholarship
HostGator awards three $1,500 scholarships to aspiring entrepreneurs and tech professionals in accredited academic programs. HostGator selects winners based on applicants' essay responses to the following question: “What is the biggest tech challenge facing small businesses today, and what is your proposed solution?” Scholarship funds must go directly to school expenses.
Market Inspector Scholarship for Women in Business
Market Inspector grants 1,000 pounds to one aspiring woman entrepreneur each year. Participants must demonstrate enrollment in or admission to an undergraduate or graduate business program at an accredited school. Scholarship applicants submit a 1,000-word description of an entrepreneurial business idea.
iSeeCars Future Entrepreneurs Scholarship
This annual scholarship provides $1,000 to one undergraduate or graduate student with demonstrated interest in entrepreneurship. Applicants must enroll full time at an accredited school. Application materials include an unofficial college transcript and a 500-600-word essay detailing the applicant's entrepreneurial passion and/or plans.
C200 Scholar Awards
C200 grants these need- and merit-based awards of up to $10,000 to qualifying women enrollees in MBA programs hosting C200 Reachouts. Winners demonstrate exceptional entrepreneurial spirit and leadership potential, plus a commitment to supporting communities and/or women. Application materials include essays and a recommendation letter.