Best Online MBA in Entrepreneurship Programs
March 10, 2021
Not everyone has a billion-dollar idea, but attending a top online MBA program in entrepreneurship can give you the necessary skills to develop one—even if it isn't your own.
In many ways, the entrepreneur is the embodiment of the American dream. They are their own bosses, for one (never mind that they may answer to a board of directors and an army of VCs). They are innovators and risk-takers, creating wealth from seemingly nothing (never mind that the vast majority fail, ending with the same nothing they started with). Most of all, they are business owners who do it all by themselves with nothing but grit and instinct.
This last one may be the biggest misconception of all. Business lore is populated with legendary entrepreneurial mavericks, but they are the rare exceptions. Most start-ups fail, and most entrepreneurs realize they need every advantage they can accrue. An MBA in Entrepreneurship is a good place to start. For many, an online Master of Business Administration with an entrepreneurship concentration is the optimum choice, allowing online students to continue working while they pursue their business ventures.
More than merely attending an online degree program, you will want to pursue a business education with an excellent track record and that also serves your needs. It is vital that your school search results in a positive outcome for your business ventures and not just a lot of debt. Consider this article as a resource guide for finding the best MBA entrepreneurship online. In it, we cover:
- What is an MBA degree in entrepreneurship?
- Who completes an online MBA in entrepreneurship?
- What are the best online MBAs in entrepreneurship?
- What can you do with an online MBA in entrepreneurship?
What is an MBA degree in entrepreneurship?
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree provides an overview of all business functions from a management perspective. The entrepreneurship degree is designed to help students improve their decision-making abilities and create effective business plans. Regardless of whether you pursue a general or specialized MBA, you will almost certainly complete core courses in:
- Business communication
- Data and information systems
- Human resources and personnel management
- Marketing management
- Operations management
- Supply chain management
- Technology management
Full-time students typically complete core coursework during their first year. Online students, who typically attend part-time, usually take longer. Full-time students focus on electives—through which they can develop a concentration—during their second year. Online students usually start elective work after they have completed their core courses. During the elective period, many schools require the completion of a capstone project or a written thesis.
Entrepreneurship electives may include some of the following:
- Business Modeling
- Business Strategy
- Entrepreneurship and New Ventures
- Innovation Management
- Lean Entrepreneurship
- Negotiation Skills
- Plan, Pitch, and Fund an Entrepreneurial Start-up
- Product Development
- Venture Capital
Who completes an online MBA in entrepreneurship?
You don't need to have a bachelor's degree from a top business school to get into an entrepreneurship program. However, it certainly doesn't hurt—especially if you're applying to a top program. You almost certainly will need good Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, strong personal essays, and positive letters of recommendations.
Most top online programs prefer candidates with relevant work experience. The actual amount depends on where you want to go. The University of Indiana's Kelley School of Business, for instance, says that the average student in their MBA program has just under six years of experience. In contrast, the University of Arizona program says their students have more than nine.
Some programs are less demanding when it comes to work experience. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill program, for example, requires only two years of experience.
Students with master's degrees in related fields—analytics, for example, or finance—may be able to bypass work requirements.
What are the best online MBAs in entrepreneurship?
While getting into a top online MBA program is challenging, completing one is even more difficult. The three-year graduation rate for students in top online MBAs was 63 percent, according to 2017 numbers. It's essential to find a program that fits your needs and schedule.
According to US News & World Report school rankings list, the top online MBA programs offering an entrepreneurship concentration include:
- Ball State University's Miller College of Business
- Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business
- Indiana University - Bloomington Kelley School of Business
- Pennsylvania State University - World Campus' Smeal School of Business
- The University of Texas at Dallas' School of Management
- University of Arizona
- University of Massachusetts - Amherst's Isenberg School of Management
- University of North Carolina
- University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business
- University of Washington - Seattle Campus' Michael G. Foster School of Business
Affordability and course offerings are significant factors for prospective MBA students. You will likely also want to attend a program that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business AACSB.
We've provided a little more detail about the top online MBAs in entrepreneurship below. We have not included tuition rate, which changes from year to year; visit the school's website to learn what it currently charges.
Ball State University
Ball State's online program is available both full-time and part-time. The school's website states that students without a business background need to complete extra credits to supplement their education.
Concentration courses include:
- Entrepreneurial Innovation and the Discovery of Opportunity
- Entrepreneurial Planning and Feasibility
- Entrepreneurial Strategy
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon's online MBA program, which includes six in-person weekend networking events, is part-time; it takes 32 months to complete.
Concentration courses include::
- Entrepreneurial Alternatives
- Funding Early Stage Ventures
- Lean Entrepreneurship
This 54-credit program at the Kelley School of Business usually takes between two and four years to complete. IU also offers a dual degree program, so students can earn a Master of Science in addition to their MBA.
- Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- International Competitive Strategy
- Venture Concept Development
Penn State University
Penn State offers a nine-credit Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship concentration. All students are required to complete an in-person residency. While the length of the program is flexible, it generally takes between two and two and a half years to complete.
The courses constituting Penn State's nine-credit Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship concentration are:
- Business Modeling and New Venture Creation
- Corporate Innovation Strategies and Entrepreneurial Methods
- Emerging Trends, Technology, and Corporate Innovation
University of Arizona
Students take between 14 and 30 months to complete the University of Arizona's 45 credit hour online MBA program. The school offers six starting dates, which makes it extremely flexible. The school only accepts students with at least three years of work experience.
Entrepreneurship-focused classes include:
- Customer-Focused Entrepreneurship
- Global Social Entrepreneurship: Introduction to Financial Accounting
- Healthcare Entrepreneurship
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The UNC online MBA, which includes live weekly classes, takes students between 18 and 36 months to complete.
Entrepreneurship-focused courses include:
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies
- Managing Modern Customers and Markets
- Technology Strategy and Business Innovation
University of Southern California
USC's online MBA program takes 21 months to complete. It includes a week-long residency in Los Angeles at the beginning. It's designed for current professionals who are either in the early or mid-stages of their careers.
USC entrepreneurship courses include:
- Acquiring Your Own Business or Opportunity
- Cases in New Venture Management
- Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipate and Avoid Start-up Pitfalls
University of Texas at Dallas
The University of Texas' online professional MBA program encourages students to utilize shared coursework opportunities to complete a Master of Science degree at the same time. It can take as many as six years to complete this program or less than two.
Entrepreneurship classes include:
- Entrepreneurial Finance
- Managing Innovation Within the Corporation
- Technology and New Product Development
University of Washington
The University of Washington's MBA program does not offer a clearly defined concentration, but it is still one of the top schools for entrepreneurship in the country. It offers one- and two-year online MBA options, which include quarterly immersion programs on campus.
The school's entrepreneurial offerings include:
- Angel Investing
- Software Entrepreneurship
- Venture Capital Investment Practicum
What can you do with an online MBA in entrepreneurship?
Earning an entrepreneurship MBA will not prepare you for any single job. Rather, you will be able to pursue several different career paths. The three main options for entrepreneurship MBA graduates are:
- Corporate innovation: help a company branch out into new industries or develop new products
- Venture capital: help a small company grow with new funding
- Independent venture creation: start your own company
According to the University of North Carolina, "Skilled entrepreneurs can tweak, reform or wholly reinvent staid business models, practices, services and products." Carnegie Mellon claims its graduates have created over 260 companies since 2008 and secured a total of over a billion dollars of capital since 2011.
High-profile graduates of UNC's program include a Hulu founder and an early executive at Uber. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top ten percent of executives earn more than $200,000 per year—with the very most prominent executives earning even more. However, that does not mean that every entrepreneur makes enough money to have a "net worth" page.
According to the UNC statistics, those who are self-employed made just over $50,000 in 2017, which is a far cry from the millions, or even billions, you could make striking it big on a product that everybody needs. Many factors determine who makes a ton of money and who doesn't, including risk, luck, and, of course, strength of concept. Attending a top online MBA program doesn't guarantee that you'll strike it big working for yourself or as an executive in a hot new start-up. It can, however, improve your chances by providing you with the knowledge to exploit opportunities to the fullest.
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