The master of business administration, or MBA, is the most popular graduate program in the country. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 190,000 students earned MBAs in 2013-14; this number represents more than 25% of all master's degrees conferred during that academic year. MBA programs usually follow a comprehensive curriculum to prepare students for the various roles and responsibilities in corporate environments, but many allow students to earn a degree specialization in niche areas of business administration.
What are the best MBA in entrepreneurship programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, NC|
|2||The University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson, TX|
|3||Babson College||Wellesley, MA|
|4||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL|
|5||Syracuse University||Syracuse, NY|
|6||Azusa Pacific University||Azusa, CA|
|7||Samford University||Birmingham, AL|
|8||Oklahoma State University||Stillwater, OK|
|9||Ball State University||Muncie, IN|
|10||University of West Florida||Pensacola, FL|
An MBA in entrepreneurship will help you channel your creativity into effective business strategy.
A popular specialization option for MBA students is entrepreneurship. This multidisciplinary field delves into the legal, ethical, financial, and logistical considerations for small business and startup creators. These programs also tackle strategies for attracting investors, securing suitable workspaces and facilities, recruiting talented employees, and working with other leaders in the local business community. Most entrepreneurship programs culminate with a capstone project, which allows students to create mock companies and address different areas of potential concern.
Today, many students are choosing to earn their MBA in entrepreneurship online. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of job opportunities after graduation. The asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule and study-from-home format are also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare obligations, and other responsibilities that interfere with campus-based learning.
Learn more about what you can do with an online MBA in entrepreneurship and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to in the field with this comprehensive guide.
Choosing a Program
WILL AN ONLINE MBA IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
Entrepreneurship programs equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in small business and/or startup management. The comprehensive coursework tackles key topics like budgeting and finance, human resources, supply chain management, and information technology. The best MBA in entrepreneurship programs also connect students with the local business community, allowing them to glean strategies and tricks of the trade from experienced small business and startup leaders.
WILL AN ONLINE MBA IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?
MBA online programs offer a flexible, easily accessible alternative to traditional college education. Students are able to download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. Current technology also allows them to study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other portable Wi-Fi device.
WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MBA IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
Most entrepreneurs enter the workforce prepared to launch small businesses or startups and serve in administrative or executive roles. Many MBA in entrepreneurship programs allow students to focus their studies on a particular industry, such as technology, marketing, business solutions, or healthcare services. Students who pursue these concentrations will be well-positioned for success in their specific niche of the job market.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MBA IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMS?
Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online MBA in entrepreneurship programs in the United States. If you are considering earning an online MBA in entrepreneurship, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.
2020 Best Accredited Online MBA in Entrepreneurship Programs
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
|Chapel Hill, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 89%||
Established in 1795 as the nation's first public university, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosts an online master of business administration program with an entrepreneurship concentration. Designed for working professionals with a passion for innovation, this fully online program prepares graduates for careers in competitive business markets. Distance learners in this MBA program take core courses in business strategy and explore a variety of electives, such as managing innovation, technology strategy and business innovation, and new ventures discovery. Students who choose the entrepreneurship focus often pursue careers as innovation consultants, early executives, and founders.UNC-Chapel Hill offers priority deadlines for each of the program's four start dates. Applicants who apply by these deadlines receive benefits like additional time to plan finances, early class registration, and priority registration for orientation.
The University of Texas at Dallas
|Richardson, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
The University of Texas at Dallas offers a fully online professional MBA program with a concentration in innovation and entrepreneurship. Students must complete two prerequisites courses in communications for management and quantitative foundation of business before they can enroll in this program.This 53-credit MBA includes 32 core credits and 21 elective credits. The curriculum features core topics like international business management, strategic management, and entrepreneurial finance.The average student enters this program with about eight years of work experience and a 3.6 GPA. Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores that are no more than five years old. High-performing candidates who meet certain GPA requirements may request a GMAT/GRE waiver.
|Wellesley, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 91%||
Babson College — a private business school located in Wellesley, Massachusetts — offers an online master of business administration program with an entrepreneurship concentration. The program focuses on the social and economic value of business ventures, preparing learners to develop and assess entrepreneurial opportunities.The 45-credit curriculum includes 15 credits of core coursework and a client-based consulting project. Distance learners can customize their remaining coursework with market-aligned electives and intensity tracks.The nine-credit entrepreneurship concentration includes areas of studies in new venture creation, entrepreneurial finance, and tools for entrepreneurs and managers. Babson College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, and its MBA program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Champaign, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
The state's flagship institution of higher education, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers an online MBA program with a specialization in innovation: from creativity to entrepreneurship. Designed for aspiring entrepreneurs and working professionals, this program helps develop a creative and entrepreneurial mindset.This MBA program requires 72 credits and culminates in a capstone project where students develop and analyze a new business enterprise. To fulfill the innovation specialization, students take courses in strategic innovation, creativing thinking, and entrepreneurship.Distance learners can complete this program in 2-3 years. Online students at U of I can access many resources through iMBA's Guide to Digital Business Research, which includes links to job boards, career search tools, and industry information.
|Syracuse, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 83%||
Based in New York, Syracuse University provides an online MBA program with an entrepreneurship specialization that can be completed in 24 months. This 54-credit program focuses on corporate innovation and product development, and it prepares graduates for positions with startups, nonprofits, and established organizations.The entrepreneurship specialization requires distance learners to complete three courses. All students take foundations of entrepreneurship and select two of the following guided elective courses: corporate entrepreneurship, venture capital, managing new products, and/or development. The program culminates with a three-credit capstone course in global entrepreneurship management.Though all courses can be completed at a distance, this MBA program requires three in-person residencies. These formal sessions simulate business conferences and allow students to network with peers and professors in cities across the globe.
Azusa Pacific University
|Azusa, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
Located in Southern California, Azusa Pacific University offers an online MBA program with a concentration in entrepreneurship. This non-thesis program prepares learners to transform their entrepreneurial visions into prosperous business ventures. The 42-credit curriculum includes business simulations, case studies, and team activities where students apply entrepreneurial concepts. To fulfill assignment and participation expectations, distance learners should expect to be online 6-10 hours each week.Hosted by APU's School of Business and Management, courses are offered throughout the year and divided into eight-week sessions. Distance learners generally take one or two classes per session and complete their degree within two years. All online students take a two-week orientation prior to the start of their term to engage with peers and pick courses.
|Birmingham, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 76%||
Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Samford University offers an online MBA program with a concentration in entrepreneurship that prepares graduates for leadership and management positions. Distance learners must complete three prerequisite courses in accounting, economics, and finance prior to enrolling in this program.The curriculum places an emphasis on corporate and social responsibility and features topics like managing corporate integrity, economics of competitive strategy, and operations management. This program core includes 36-39 credits, and students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate.Samford accepts applications on a rolling basis and requires applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Online students at Samford pay the same per-credit tuition rate as on-campus learners, regardless of state residency.
Oklahoma State University
|Stillwater, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
Distance learners can pursue a fully online MBA program with a concentration in entrepreneurship from Oklahoma State University. The state's flagship institution holds land-grant status and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This MBA program is designed for aspiring entrepreneurs and working professionals alike, and it integrates all aspects of business, including marketing, finance, business analytics, and accounting. The 33-credit curriculum covers a variety of core topics, such as business finance, organizational behavior and leadership, and managerial economics.Prospective students must submit three letters of recommendation, GRE or GMAT scores, and official transcripts. Applicants should also hold a bachelor's or professional degree from an accredited college or university.
Ball State University
|Muncie, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
Ball State University offers an online MBA program with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Distance learners can earn this degree entirely online while accessing the same technical support and student services as on-campus students.The curriculum includes 24 credits of core courses and nine credits of entrepreneurial electives. Students pursuing the entrepreneurship concentration are required to take classes in entrepreneurial innovation, planning and feasibility, and strategy. Participants without an academic background in business may need to take up to 18 credits of foundation classes.The online format combines asynchronous and synchronous instruction, which allows students to participate in live lectures and classroom discussions. Graduates of this program acquire the skills needed to launch their own business, secure executive leadership positions, or pursue a new entrepreneurial career path.
University of West Florida
|Pensacola, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
Located in Pensacola, the University of West Florida hosts an online master of business administration program with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. The program teaches learners practical skills that can help them build and manage a business, and it incorporates topics like the principles of marketing, finance, and organizational management.Courses are taught from the perspective of the CEO to develop student understanding of market dynamics and business relations. The 36-credit curriculum can be completed in 16 months and features courses such as business analytics, information resources and industry analysis, and venture development.All online students pay the same tuition rate. Application requirements include two letters of recommendation, a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, and foundational proficiencies in major areas of business.
WHAT ELSE CAN I EXPECT FROM AN ONLINE MBA IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM?
|Timeline||18 months to 2 years|
|Program Costs (when available)||$25,000 to $50,000|
|Concentrations||Management, Communications, Leadership, Small Business/Nonprofit Management, Project Management, Finance, Economics, Marketing, Human Resources, Recruiting and Staffing|
|Accreditation||Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)|
Employment Outlook for MBA in Entrepreneurship Graduates
Job Placement: MBA in Entrepreneurship
The employment outlook for entrepreneurs has greatly improved since the recent recession came to an end. During the recession's lowest point in 2010, 560,588 businesses were less than one year old; five years later, this number has risen to 679,072 — an increase of more than 21%, including an 8% spike since 2013. Entrepreneurs created roughly 2.5 million jobs in 2010; in 2015 they created more than three million.
In terms of job placement, the unemployment rate for entrepreneurs depends largely on their specific job title. The following table features unemployment rates for 10 of the top careers for professional entrepreneurs. All 10 professions listed on the table were included on the Best Business Jobs list published by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.
|Occupation||Unemployment Rate (2016)|
|Market Research Analyst||2.4%|
|Human Resources Specialist||3.1%|
|Business Operations Manager||3.7%|
Source: U.S. News & World Report
As the table shows, the best positions for entrepreneurs in terms of job outlook include roles in fundraising, financial, market research and management analysis, financial management and human resources. Comparatively, the unemployment rate for all but one of these occupations is lower than the national unemployment rate for all industries, which is currently 4.6%.
Earning a Living
In addition to more favorable job placement rates, graduates with an MBA in entrepreneurship also enjoy relatively high earning potential. According to the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, those who graduate with an MBA in entrepreneurship earn median annual salaries of $70,300 during their first five years and $139,000 after a decade in the workforce. The table below compares these salary figures against the expected earnings of MBA recipients in other managerial fields.
|MBA Field/Concentration||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)|
|General and Strategic Management||$96,200||$149,000|
|Marketing and Management||$64,600||$126,000|
|Management Information Systems (MIS)||$64,600||$118,000|
|Information Technology Management||$68,600||$116,000|
As the table indicates, entrepreneurship ranked second behind 'general and strategic management' in terms of mid-career MBA earnings. Entrepreneurship also ranked first among these fields of study in terms of salary growth, with a 97.7% increase during the first 10 years alone.
Your specific field of study in an MBA program can also have an impact on your career earnings, although salary growth rates will primarily depend on your job title and role within your company. The next table uses PayScale data to explore career salary projections for five of the most common occupational roles for MBA in entrepreneurship degree-holders.
|Profession||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years)||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years)||Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 years)||Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)|
|Chief Financial Officer (CFO)||$90,830||$104,444||$129,356||$142,427|
|Business Development Director||$73,714||$94,157||$116,919||$126,446|
|Project Management Director||$113,377||$128,479||$141,719||$144,096|
As the table indicates, salary projections vary considerably for different entrepreneurial job titles. All five occupations on the table experienced at least 27% salary growth. Marketing directors, who earn the fourth-highest salary at all four benchmarks, actually reported the highest rate of salary growth, a 97% increase between entry-level and late-career positions. Business development directors placed second with 71.5% growth, followed by chief financial officers (CFOs) with 56.8% growth.
Students who graduate with an MBA in entrepreneurship will be qualified for dozens of top-level positions, although your eligibility for specific roles will depend on additional factors like a company's size and your location. Below, we've covered four of the most common career pathways in healthcare management.
Top Executives: This broad category includes chief executive officers (CEOs), chief financial officers (CFOs), general and operations managers, and other top-level personnel. Together these individuals develop budgets, organizational goals, hiring needs, and other key company strategies. They then use a range of metrics to evaluate overall productivity and performance.
Administrative Services Managers: These managers oversee the various administrative services at their company or organization, including logistics, technology support and workplace compliance. In many small businesses and startups, all administrative services may be handled by a single manager.
Human Resources Managers: Human resources managers (also known as HR managers) oversee the staffing and recruitment needs of their company or organization. Their day-to-day job duties may include writing job vacancy descriptions, interviewing and screening candidates, hiring new employees, and coordinating orientation programs. HR managers play a key role in small businesses and startups that have moved beyond the initial development phase and are in need of talented, reliable employees.
Sales Managers: These managers lead the sales teams at their company or organization. The work with executives to create sales objectives and then monitor employees to ensure these objectives are reached. They also develop sales training programs and coordinate professional development opportunities for sales personnel.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary||Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)|
|Top Executives||$102,690||6% (+147,000 jobs)|
|Administrative Services Managers||$86,110||8% (+23,500 jobs)|
|Sales Managers||$113,860||5% (+19,000 jobs)|
|Human Resources Managers||$104,440||9% (+10,800 jobs)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Making professional connections and learning as much as you can about entrepreneurship is crucial to your professional success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below, you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for entrepreneurs. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.
- Entrepreneurs' Organization: Established in 1987, EO is considered “the world's only peer-to-peer network exclusively for entrepreneurs.” The network includes more than 12,000 entrepreneurs and business owners, and members receive one-on-one mentoring services from established professionals.
- National Management Association: Headquartered in Ohio, this nonprofit organization currently maintains six regional U.S. chapters. The NMA is home to the certified manager (CM) credential, and members can also take part in professional development courses and contests.
- Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization: CEO serves members in 250 different collegiate chapters in all 50 states. Three affordable membership options are available, and member benefits include invitations to student-only entrepreneur competitions, reduced entrance fees for CEO events, and free webinars and professional development courses.
Financing Your Online MBA in Entrepreneurship Program
Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about your financial aid options.
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