For many years, the MBA has significantly altered the landscape of graduate business education. Graduate students flock to online programs across the nation to hone their leadership skills and increase their opportunity for an expedited journey up the organizational ladder. This degree has grown in numbers over the years while developing in breadth and depth as well. What once existed as a simple business degree has transformed into a steadily growing program featuring numerous majors, specializations, concentrations, and certificates covering specialized topics in business. Distance learners can earn an online MBA program with a specialized curriculum in an increasing number of areas, including Supply Chain Management, Finance, Business Analytics, International Business, Accounting, and Marketing. This Guide to an Entrepreneurship Online MBA will explore the Entrepreneurship concentration within online MBA degrees to equip prospective students with information on this exciting business field.
What is Entrepreneurship?
Harvard Professor Emeritus Howard Stevenson defines entrepreneurship as the pursuit of opportunity beyond controlled resources. Based on this definition, entrepreneurs pursue new opportunities without the required resources and are affected by substantial amounts of risk. The entrepreneur’s responsibility is to manage all of the uncertainty to bring a venture to life.
In some ways, an entrepreneur is the embodiment of the American dream. For one, she is her own boss (never mind that she may answer to a board of directors or a team of VCs). Entrepreneurs are risk-takers and innovators who create wealth from seemingly nothing and many times fail. Most of all, these driven professionals are business owners who get it done by themselves with nothing but instinct and grit.
The Importance of an Online MBA in Entrepreneurship
The biggest misconception of all when trying to understand entrepreneurship is that to be a successful entrepreneur means leading as an audacious maverick who has no formal business training but instead a million-dollar idea. While this may exist, it is rare. Most start-ups don’t succeed. Most entrepreneurs realize they need all the advantages they can get. An Online MBA in entrepreneurship is the perfect place to start. An entrepreneurship-focused online Master of Business Administration is the optimum choice, as it allows online students to continue working while they invest in their business ventures.
The multidisciplinary Online MBA in Entrepreneurship is an excellent way to help business professionals channel their creative ideas into a robust business strategy. Many people agree that this type of degree is the perfect option for leaders in business looking to start their own business. Still, fewer may realize that it’s an excellent choice for professionals who manage or lead various aspects of an organization and individuals looking to breathe new life and energy into an already established company.
As you already know, an MBA degree equips students with an overview of all business fields from a management perspective. An advanced degree in entrepreneurship is designed to help graduate students improve their problem-solving and leadership skills while creating effective business plans.
What are the Different Components of the degree?
An Entrepreneurship Online MBA covers everything from legal, financial, and logistical issues to ethical deliberations for start-up founders and business owners. These distance degrees fuse traditional MBA courses with relevant lessons in venture creation. Since the world of entrepreneurship is vast, graduate students can expect classes on everything from leadership and data management to social media strategy and wealth management. These students also learn to locate workspace, find investors, recruit, and build relationships with other business leaders in their specific fields.
Whether they pursue a general or specialized online MBA, business students complete core courses like Business Communication, Finance, Data and Information Systems, Economics, Human Resources and Personnel Management, Technology Management, Marketing, Operations Management, and Supply Chain Management. Full-time students complete core coursework within their first year, while online students, often considered part-time, usually take longer to work through the curriculum.
Full-time and online students then focus on elective courses during their second year. These electives will often determine a student’s specialization. Within the elective period, many b-schools require students to complete their capstone projects or write a thesis.
Entrepreneurship-centered courses may include Business Modeling, Innovation Management, Business Strategy, Entrepreneurship and New Ventures, Lean Entrepreneurship, Negotiation Skills, Product Development, and Venture Capital.
Most online MBA programs in entrepreneurship also include capstone projects, where graduate students create companies and work through problems and opportunities during the process. In addition to capstone projects, distance learners should look for a program that connects them to the local business community. These connections are excellent opportunities to learn tricks and tips while gleaning insights from active professionals already working in the industry.
Today, more students are choosing to earn their online MBA in entrepreneurship. Graduate degrees through distance learning are ideal for business students who would otherwise have to relocate during their education or whose current position requires a lot of travel. Those who have childcare responsibilities or other obligations make on-campus learning a challenge.
These distance degrees are well-known for flexibility, allowing students to perform their academic tasks anywhere – at home with the kids, in a hotel room on a business trip, or a lunch break. Online graduate students can download readings and lectures, turn in assignments, attend virtual class discussions, and complete exams on a flexible schedule. Distance learners must be sure to have reliable internet access and a full-functioning laptop or tablet.
Potential On-Campus Requirements
Another factor when considering online programs is knowing if they require any physical classroom time on a college campus. While many are 100% remote, others will feature short residencies on campus that students are responsible for throughout a program’s duration. These in-person sessions provide excellent networking opportunities with classmates and allow high-quality interaction with instructors.
How Do I Choose the Right Entrepreneurship Online MBA?
Instead of merely attending an online graduate program, distance learners will want to pursue a business education that features an excellent track record and one that serves their needs. It is essential that an entrepreneur’s business school search results in a positive outcome for her business ventures and not just a ton of tuition debt.
It can be overwhelming the number of Entrepreneurship Online MBAs out there. Check out our How Do I Choose an Online MBA article, where we cover several vital factors to consider while researching possible programs. Make sure you look at the accreditation status of each of your programs of interest. Accreditation is essential in finding a high-quality degree. It is also crucial to find a program with the proper format for you, whether 100% online or hybrid, has the correct completion timeline, and fits your budget.
What Kind of Students Get into an Entrepreneurship Online MBA?
Students often enter the programs with ideas of business ventures they would like to see become realities. Good Online MBA in entrepreneurship programs should help them along every step of the way in that endeavor.
While having an undergraduate degree from a top business school is unnecessary for getting into a high-quality entrepreneurship program – it certainly doesn’t hurt. This is especially true for business school candidates applying to top graduate programs. Business school applicants should provide:
- An excellent Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score.
- Solid personal essays.
- Positive letters of recommendation.
Most top business programs prefer candidates who have achieved relevant work experience. For example, the University of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business reports that the average student in their MBA program has five-plus years of experience. The University of Arizona’s business students have accrued nearly ten years of active managerial expertise. Some top programs feature less of a work experience prerequisite. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill business school requires applicants to have two years of experience. Graduate students with advanced degrees in related fields like analytics or finance may waive work requirements.
What Does it Take to Get Accepted into an Entrepreneurship Online MBA?
All business schools require different application and acceptance materials. Here are some of the more common prerequisites graduate students may experience within the application process.
An Undergraduate Degree in Business
All prospective business students need to establish themselves as qualifying candidates before initiating the application process. While earning an undergraduate degree in business is not typically required, many admissions offices expect students to have a foundational knowledge of standard business issues before starting their core curriculum. Some schools see the value in their students pursuing unrelated topics at the bachelor’s level to acquire a well-rounded knowledge base. The business knowledge prerequisite ensures that all incoming students understand each subject featured throughout the MBA curriculum.
For instance, Thomas Edison State University requires its candidates to have completed coursework in statistics, microeconomics, and financial accounting. Incoming applicants to The University of Kentucky’s business school must have obtained knowledge in managerial accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and financial accounting. These prerequisites are featured throughout many programs around the country, but it is a prospective student’s responsibility to check with each school to determine its requirements. Students lacking these courses on their transcripts can potentially complete them before moving on to core courses starting an MBA program. Some will enroll as non-degree-seeking students at a local university or community college, thereby completing the studies at a lower cost before applying to an online MBA program.
The Relationship Between Work Experience and an MBA Program
Some students enroll in a graduate program soon after completing their bachelor’s degree. Still, most MBA programs are directed to experienced working professionals who have already acquired several years of experience. Admissions representatives often consider previous work experience before allowing applicants admission into an MBA entrance. These schools usually prefer applicants to have at least two years of experience. That duration varies considerably based on a specific school’s preference, what type of MBA program it is, and what area of business specialization the degree involves.
All programs prefer business students who can demonstrate a working knowledge of the various business sectors. Other programs may include additional requirements. It is common for an MBA program with a management specialization to require applicants to have at least three years of managerial experience. An advanced program like an Executive Master of Business Administration may require candidates to have at least seven years of administrative work experience.
What’s a Good Timeline of Applying to an Entrepreneurship Online MBA Program?
One Year Out
Twelve months before formally applying to a business school, it is crucial to know its application deadline. There are excellent resources available for program candidates on school websites with links that paint an accurate picture of the many features the program has to offer. There are also trusted ranking entities like the Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report, which exist to help potential business school students figure out how MBA programs stack up against each other.
With over 1,200 MBA programs in the United States alone, graduate students must find schools that best meet their needs. Students should consider format, location, size, and the reputation of a school, as well as determining if entrepreneurship is the concentration they want to pursue, in addition to what job prospects they will search out after graduation.
Six Months Out
Half a year before the application deadline, students should register for all supplemental and prerequisite courses. Many of the nation’s top online MBA programs require those incoming students lacking a business education to complete coursework that levels them with their peers who pursued bachelor’s degrees in business. Students should be adamant about beginning this process immediately to avoid quickly falling behind in coursework.
Business school candidates also need to decide if they will register for the GMAT/GRE. While more business schools offer waivers for placement tests, they remain a valuable component for many business schools attempting to forecast a candidate’s chances for success and longevity within their programs. While the GMAT stands as the standard exam for business schools, the GRE continues to gain prominence. Spaces for these exams fill up quickly each term, so students should sign up for these exams in advance. Candidates will also want to be sure of their testing date, as the rescheduling fee is substantial. Students rescheduling more than a week in advance pay $60, while those needing to reschedule within seven days must pay $250.
Getting ready for a successful GMAT or GRE experience requires substantial time and effort. Most exam preparation programs last at least three months. Test takers will want to get started on the process as soon as possible to avoid cramming or forgetting essential information. There are many free resources online, and some test software programs have proven themselves as practical tools.
Six Weeks Out
It’s time to whittle the long list of prospective schools down to the most promising ones. To best determine the merits of each program, researchers should create a finalized list that reflects their abilities, interests, and goals. Students need to find programs that offer excellent networking opportunities.
Tuition price remains to be a prevalent factor among business school students. Although MBAs can be pricey, some excellent business schools offer premium programs at attractive rates. During the final month before applications are due, candidates should create impressive, individualized applications for schools they prefer instead of spending time considering schools that may not meet expectations.
It usually takes between ten and twenty calendar days to receive GMAT and GRE scores. Some students find they need to take the placement exam multiple times. Therefore, it is best to schedule the first test early and leave plenty of time to retake the test should the need for an improved score arise.
One Month Out
Every MBA program in the U.S. requires applicants to submit multiple letters of recommendation from instructors, supervisors, other professionals, and colleagues who can speak to their potential success in graduate study. Applicants should give their recommenders two weeks minimum to write these letters to allow them to offer thoughtful and well-reasoned information.
After reviewing all application requirements, business school applicants should give themselves enough time to gather all application materials and check them thoroughly. The norm for most programs includes a resume, which candidates should ensure is updated with their latest work information and revamped to remove any errors. The number of online articles and resources about creating and maintaining an effective professional resume is plentiful.
Business schools use personal statements to aid admissions representatives in understanding how students contribute to their program culture and why they want into a specific institution. Personal statements are also known as statements of intent. These documents can take longer than expected to write, so applicants should allow enough time for edits and proofreading.
Many schools advertise and enforce strict application deadlines. In contrast, others (especially those with solid online programs) have rolling admissions deadlines or other policies that allow applicants to submit materials early and receive a quicker response.
The Business School Interview
The interview makes or breaks an application (and often, the applicant.) Given the importance of the admissions board interview, it’s best to research what to expect to be best prepared. Bentley University, for example, provides a list of common MBA interview questions to help applicants prepare for their interview. There are also general rules of thumb one can apply to this element of the acceptance process.
1. Preparing for Success Means Speaking with Key Contacts While Researching Degrees
Interviewing an Entrepreneurship Online MBA student or recent graduate helps researchers get a realistic view they may not hear from the business school. After doing this, some applicants reprioritize their to-do lists. Understanding that many online MBA students also work full-time can make the idea of a graduate program less daunting. Connecting with a school’s technology department can also take time, but having internal communication tools before class starts can be priceless. Reaching out to business school reps to make sure they understand how important school is to you can make your name memorable to people in high places.
2. Become Flexible When it Comes to Your Degree
Online courses tend to be shorter, requiring a more focused and intensive mindset and schedule. Eight-week terms can move quickly, and a curriculum can force students to adjust their learning styles after finding that memorizing alone doesn’t work. An online MBA features more intuitive learning. Applying the principles to real life can help students retain information.
3. Prioritize Time Management
Fast readers may think they will need less time to complete homework. But business schools that offer distance education often stress that students need to take class guidelines seriously. By crafting time management plans using helpful tools like course schedules, students have a better chance at staying on track. Otherwise, students run the risk of underestimating the time commitment.
A time management plan helps balance school, work, and family time. Calculating the hours spent doing classwork, assessing deadlines, and committing to focusing on assignments and lectures at least three days a week can allow graduate students to stay connected to family members and social life through an academic term.
5. Network Online and Offline
When connecting with instructors and business school leaders in person is not an option, remembering their online office hours is essential. Taking multiple courses with instructors who are relevant to your career can help foster future networking opportunities.
Graduate students can find this network especially helpful. Many undergrads find themselves working alone. Business schools need to foster a “we’re here to guide and assist your professional and personal success.” Being strategic with teamwork is vital. Some business students research classmates on LinkedIn when selecting group partners. Many MBA students will maintain connections with their classmates by meeting for meals or even toasting each other’s successes through FaceTime. These friends will attend class graduations in person to meet with supportive professors who were in their corner.
An Online MBA in Entrepreneurship offers more than just a line item on a stock business resume; it presents a valuable opportunity for career advancement, networking, and comprehensive self-improvement. The flexibility and convenience of an online program are the perfect fit for ambitious professionals seeking to improve their marketability and capability in the workplace while managing full-time commitments to work and family.