Today’s business world is one defined by competition. With the development of the internet and other technologies, new businesses are popping up faster than you can say, “MBA,” and that’s exactly what you’ll need to stand out amidst the competitors in the entrepreneurial job market. Everyone’s got great ideas, but unfortunately not everyone has the education to put them into action. Startup incubators, employers, and potential investors are all looking for entrepreneurs who can put their ideas into action, have a demonstrable work ethic, and proven skillset. Unfortunately the value of the undergraduate degree has dropped in recent decades, so your best bet for jumping into the entrepreneurial market prepared is an advanced degree like the MBA. It is for this very reason that many of the country’s strongest MBA programs have started offering Entrepreneurship degree options, which in turn has created enormous opportunity for new populations of entrepreneurs.
Because of their independent and creative minds, many established entrepreneurs have a hard time justifying the years of schooling and tuition costs required to earn a degree that’s not geared towards their unique pursuits. The best MBA Entrepreneurship programs, however, have designed their curriculums to help students hone their ideas, optimize existing projects, or start new ones all together. So in this article we explore 10 of the best online MBA programs for earning your Entrepreneurship degree, focusing on those that can accommodate both new and established entrepreneurs. We’ve limited the schools on this list to those that offer online degree options, because more often than not those that are pursuing an entrepreneurial degree already have a startup or idea they’re working on, hold a job in the industry, or even own an established business that requires a great deal of attention. For this reason, the online degree option is the ideal choice. It provides students, who would otherwise be unable, the flexibility to earn a degree, which can function as a turnkey solution to business develop challenges, career limitations, and grant access to crucial professional networking. You can find a more thorough explanation of the metrics used to create this ranking below.
- Affordability (1/3): Combined analysis of overall tuition of the program, financial aid or scholarship assistance programs, and estimated cost per credit hour for out-of-state students.
- Flexibility (1/3): The number of flexibility-enhancing elements specific to the degree program including teaching philosophy concentrations, degree specialties, prior learning or life experience crediting options, accelerated or self-paced courses, personalized student advisement/guidance, and competency-based credit options.
- Academic Prestige (1/3): The academic prestige of the parent institution operationally defined through the score of combined rankings and/or reviews of prominent education review entities such as US News & World Report and The Princeton Review.
Benedictine University is a school known for its innovation and creative philosophies, and is proud of its reputation for “pushing the education envelope.” Benedictine was one of the first schools on the planet to launch a fully online degree program, and also one of the first to adopt the latest in learning management technology. This is likely a major selling point to entrepreneurial students. Benedictine doesn’t just teach entrepreneurism, it teaches by example. While Benedictine encourages students from all belief systems to enroll, it does at heart remain true to its Roman Catholic heritage. As such students will notice that at Benedictine degree programs focus on both professional and spiritual development, though the spiritual component can likely be interpreted as ‘personal development’ for any students who wish to steer clear of the spiritual. Benedictine designs its degree programs around the real world demands of the job market and the evolving challenges within specific industries.
Benedictine University offers a Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship and Managing Innovation that can be completed entirely online. This program emphasizes various strategies for an entrepreneur to employ to give his or her project the highest levels of success. These strategies are deliberately designed to accommodate startups at beginning or advanced levels, so as to accommodate a broader group of students. Mini capstone experiences mirror real world challenges that entrepreneurs will unvaryingly meet. Each of this mini projects can be personalized to more closely mirror the aspects of an individual student’s project or career goals. These projects are also overseen directly by a supervisor with real-world experience, so that students receive valuable guidance and feedback every step of the way. This program has everything we were looking for and provides it all at a competitive price, and so it was an easy choice for the #1 spot.
- Average Tuition Cost: $550
- Flexibility enhancing features:
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a relatively young university. Today, however, it services more than 3,000 students on-campus and over 60,000 students online, making it one of the fastest growing universities in the country. SNHU is consistently ranked as a “Best Buy” by GetEducated.com, a ‘Best Return on Investment,’ and also consistently ranks as a top Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs. SNHU prides itself on offering both flexible and affordable degree programs to its massively expanding online student body. The University’s regional centers allow for students to engage in hybrid degree programs, where students can get the best of both distance education and on-campus events for professional networking and trainings.
SNHU offers a fully online MBA in Entrepreneurship that is delivers a career-oriented teaching philosophy. Faculty of the program are industry leaders and business leaders, who have demonstrated real success in the job market. So entrepreneurial students can take pride in the quality of their instructors, and learn from their successes in the field. The program’s curriculum is research driven and requires students to master the analytical skills of isolating variables of risk and success in business endeavors. Students will learn to assess capital and venture capital opportunities, research and analyze franchising plans, and evaluate consulting arrangements. This wide array of skillsets is valuable to any entrepreneur at any level of professional development. Students with existing businesses or ideas will be able to choose coursework that best applies to their areas of interest, which is a major selling point of the program.
- Average Tuition Cost: $627
- Flexibility enhancing features: Accelerated or self-paced learning formats, 24/7 course access, and Capstone projects.
Ashford University is a well-known name in online education, and has been a pioneer in distance education best practices and learning technology. Ashford’s focus on providing the utmost in distance learning technology. Over 60 of Ashford’s degrees are delivered through short, dynamic course schedules where degree programs are comprised of 5 to 6 week courses, depending on the student’s chosen pacing. In servicing nontraditional students and working adults, Ashford offers an exceedingly generous credit-transfer policy. This policy credits entrepreneurs for previous schooling, occupational experience, and even life experience. This a potential life-saver for talented individuals whose major accomplishments may not translate into traditional crediting policies.
Ashford offers a fully online MBA in Entrepreneurship Specialization through its Forbes School of Business and Technology™. This degree program is taught by faculty with real-world entrepreneurial experience, who wish to pass on their knowledge to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. The program’s curriculum is flexible and dynamic, allowing 24/7 access to coursework, consistent interaction with instructors, and encouraging peer collaboration on group projects. Students will progress through a set curriculum where students will master the key skillsets and methods for forming and assessing business ventures. The curriculum concludes, however, with ‘specialization courses’ where students can choose comprehensive courses that best suit their individual needs and career goals. Students may choose from these specialization courses: New Business Venture Management, Venture Capital & Private Equity, and Strategic Thinking for Entrepreneurs.
Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.
- Average Tuition Cost: $657.00/credit
- Flexibility enhancing features: Specialized courses, 24/7 Access to coursework, and course pacing options.
Since 1993, Capella University has at the forefront of developments in online education. Capella is well-known for its innovation in distance education practices, and was one of the first schools to ever incorporate 100% competency-based education in an online degree program. A competency-based education is where students progress more slowly through content that they find especially challenging, while progressing more quickly through content that they’re more familiar with. Competency-based education is likely an ideal option for many entrepreneurs, who value efficiency and will likely take advantage of the option to spend more time on relevant coursework. Capella also offers two learning formats, the GuidedPath and the FlexPath. The GuidedPath is designed to provide students with structure and a consistent curriculum delivery, and the FlexPath is designed for students who want full reign of their coursework scheduling.
Capella University offers an MBA in Entrepreneurship The FlexPath and GuidedPath options are also likely to be particularly appreciated by entrepreneurs who will see the value in decreasing tuition costs by accelerating coursework. The program offers an MBA Central program which functions as a virtual gateway where students can access educational resources, faculty lectures, and engage professional networking 24/7. The program also provides simulation scenarios and personalized capstone projects so that students can work on projects that are most meaningful to their career goals. This program literally allows students to choose when, where, and how they progress through the program, making it one of the most flexible degree paths listed in this article.
- Average Tuition Cost: $780
- Flexibility enhancing features: Competency-based education, FlexPath and GuidedPath learning options, and Personalized capstone projects.
5.) Ball State University
Ball State University is a school that defines itself by its entrepreneurial spirit, making it a natural fit for entrepreneur students. Ball State offers 190 undergraduate and pre-professional degrees, as well more than 140 graduate programs. Many of Ball State’s degree programs have received considerable national attention. Among these are its architecture, entrepreneurship, telecommunications, education, and landscape architecture. Ball State’s entrepreneurial spirit is tied to its mission of empowering students to take risks and create the careers they most desire. The University describes itself as always “pushing the educational envelope” to accomplish this mission. Ball State’s 185,000 alumni are some of the country’s finest representations of a university’s success, and they remain highly engaged with new classes year after year. So incoming entrepreneurs can count on an immersive and extensive professional network to tap into once becoming a part of the “Ball State Family.”.
Ball State offers a fully online Master’s of Business Administration in Entrepreneurism that has consistently ranked among the nation’s best according to U.S. News & World Report. While hands-on learning experiences are often a weak point of online programs, Ball State’s Entrepreneur program provides students with numerous opportunities to gain real-world experience. From community engagement projects to local business outreach, Ball State has no shortage of creative options for engaging its students. This degree is offered through Ball State’s Entrepreneurship Center which has been at the forefront of entrepreneurial education since 1983. With such a proven history of excellence, and an incredible professional network, entrepreneur students will find this program to be an excellent springboard for launching their unique careers.
- Average Tuition Cost: $590
- Flexibility enhancing features: Asynchronous learning format, and Offered through Entrepreneurship Center which features scholarships, research options, and grant opportunities.
Drexel University is a distinguished institution that specializes in options for nontraditional students, or any student who has strong motivation and desire for knowledge but for whatever reason is unable to attend traditional degree programs. Drexel’s philosophy on the value of its education programs are rooted in business principles and should be appealing to students with the entrepreneurial mind. Drexel recognizes that the investment you make in your degree is also an investment in the rest of your future, both personally and professionally. As such the University employs a three point career-centered teaching philosophy. First, programs are designed to make you stand out to employers upon graduation. Second, Drexel employs energetic scholars and recognized experts to personally teach online courses. And third, Drexel aims to provide a vast network of support, both through avenues of professional networking and also through 24/7 tech support, academic advisement, and enrollment counseling.
Drexel University offers a fully online MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship where students will focus on employing a dynamic set of interdisciplinary skills to accomplish the complex tasks associated with business development and entrepreneurism. The university has pioneered technology-enhanced learning for working adults, and as such is known as an academic center of excellence, entrepreneurship, and innovation. And the university has demonstrated increasing commitment to this reputation, offering entrepreneurial students a wide array of unique options for building foundations in their careers. This program was ranked in the world’s top 15 by Financial Times for the return on investment that students find in their careers after graduation. So while Drexel’s program comes with a higher price tag, students can take confidence in the fact that it is a sound and proven investment.
- Average Tuition Cost: $1,255
- Flexibility enhancing features:
William Howard Taft University has offered distance learning graduate programs to students all over the world for decades. The University was one of the first in the country to earn accreditation by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, and today it has established itself as a leader in online graduate education particularly in the areas of business and education. Recent labor analytics research by the Boston-based company, Burning Glass Technologies, has noted that “up-credentialing is affecting a wide range of jobs from executive assistants to construction supervisors.” In other words, the professional world is requiring more of students with undergraduate degrees, and expecting even more from students with higher credentials. A primary directive of William Howard Taft University is to produce graduates with strong critical thinking skills and a concrete work ethic, so that they can meet the expectations of any employer.
The University offers a Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. While characteristically most entrepreneurs are similar, there are some categorical differences between the types of responsibilities they may encounter in their careers depending on their goals and focus. The two most notable differences are entrepreneurs who wish to work at the national or corporate level, and those wishing to work within a specific state or city to run one or more small businesses. While this degree program certainly provides students with the tools to be find success on either path, it does devote more of its curriculum towards small business management. This makes it an ideal program for students with a small business or aspirations to create one, because–simply put–you could waste a lot of time studying the complex dynamics of franchising when all you want to do is run a small business.
- Average Tuition Cost: $225
- Flexibility enhancing features: Cohort learning format, Mentorship faculty involvement, and Research projects.
8.) Aspen University
Aspen University is a school that has dedicated recent decades to expanding its distance education offerings and improving the return on investment its graduates are able to achieve. Aspen is a school that can truly be said to put its students first, evidencing this is the research initiative the university funded to determine their graduates’ exact return on investment and the satisfaction of alumni across numerous categories. Students who graduated more than five years ago are earn on average a 216% return on investment, and Aspens goal is to keep this ROI at 150% for students within 5 years or more of graduation. 95% of Aspen alumni would recommend the University to a friend, 97% of alumni are satisfied with their experience, and 93% reported that they achieved the goals they set out to when they started their degree programs.
Entrepreneurial students with a business-oriented mind will likely appreciate the evidence of value and the return on investment that these studies have provided. Aspen’s MBA program offers degree specialization in Entrepreneurship that employs a comprehensive curriculum to cover all the central concepts and skillsets of the entrepreneurial market through these fundamental business courses: Business Finance, Managerial Economics, and Sales Force Management. And beyond this standard curriculum, students pursue deeper study in cutting-edge courses that focus on subjects such as innovative finance, venture capital, and technology development. This program is one of the most affordable on this list, and with proven satisfaction levels and return on investment, it is definitely hard to beat.
- Average Tuition Cost: $325
- Flexibility enhancing features: Foundational courses with specialized courses, Higher affordability, and Asynchronous learning options.
Northcentral University is a regionally accredited university that takes pride serving its decidedly international student body. Students from all over the world are taking Northcentralonline degree programs because they offer features than many similar programs do not. At Northcentral, the day of “general degree programs” is over, and the school posits that students will find the most success when they start working towards increased expertise and specialization in a specific area. This does not mean, however, that students do not have options or flexibility in their curriculums, and in fact it’s quite the opposite. While the actual degree choices are limited to fields of Business, Education, and Psychology, students can enrich and specialize their degrees through the addition of robust concentration options, independent research projects, and graduate thesis projects where students can literally create their own “concentration.”
Students with the entrepreneurial spirit will definitely appreciate the freedom and flexibility that these options provide. Northcentral specifically offers an MBA in entrepreneurship through the University’s School of Business and Technology Management. This program exclusively employs faculty with doctoral degrees and real-world experience in the entrepreneurial industries. Students will get to make the most of this excellent faculty through the program’s one-to-one mentoring. In this mentoring program, students choose faculty members with whom their career interests most align, so that from that day forward the student’s mentor provides personalized coursework and research projects to best accommodate the individual student’s interests. This sort of one-on-one mentoring is highly uncommon in graduate level online study, so students, who appreciate working more closely with their instructors, may find this program is a one-of-a-kind option.
- Average Tuition Cost: $901
- Flexibility enhancing features: Self-paced asynchronous learning formats, One-on-one mentoring, and Personalized coursework options.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is the largest public research university in New England and is one of the country’s premier public research universities, and is consistently ranked among the nation’s best in this category. Ranking institutions cite the University’s rich cultural environment and academic excellence as the basis for such rankings. UMass Amherst is a research powerhouse, and in 2015 research expenditures totaled $213 million. The University maintains a standard of rigor and excellence with over 41,000 students applying for seats in the class of 2020 where averages in both SAT scores and GPA were far and above national averages in similar public research universities. UMass Amherst offers a host of nationally renowned business degrees through its Isenberg SChool of Management. This school ranked as the #1 public business school in the northeast, and was recognized for offering one one best online MBA programs in the world.
Isenberg’s internationally ranked MBA program offers a degree concentration in Entrepreneurship. This program mixes a curriculum comprised of general business topics and advanced courses in entrepreneurism with elective-style courses which allow students to build knowledge and skillsets in the areas most relevant to their professional pursuits and business interests. These unique areas of study include: Advanced Negotiations for Managers, Customer Relation Management, Data Management for Business Leaders, Digital Business Models: Creating Transformative Online Business Ideas, Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Beyond, Negotiations Theory & Practice, Personal Finance for Business and Professional Leaders, Private Wealth Management, Project Wealth Management, and much more. As such this program is an ideal option for entrepreneurs at any level of experience or professional expertise.
- Average Tuition Cost: $825
- Flexibility enhancing features: General business course curriculum, Personalized elective-style course load, and Self-paced learning schedules.