Study Entrepreneurship: Graduate Certificate, MBA & Online Course Info

About this article
What kind of job can you get with a graduate certificate or Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in entrepreneurship? Find out program requirements, online options, and info on courses and entrepreneurship study programs.
View available schools

Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate and MBA: Degrees at a Glance

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses provide about 50% of the nation's private sector jobs. However, only half of these companies are still in business five years after they open. If you are interested in starting your own company, one way you might be able to improve your odds of success is to educate yourself about business financing, operations, marketing and strategy by earning a post-graduate degree or certificate in entrepreneurship. This education can also be useful if you are in line to take management of a family business or if you want to bring new product lines to market for an existing company.

Certificate Master's
Who is this degree for? People who want to own their own small business or manage a family business People who are interested in creating, funding and managing a new company, or who want to advocate for innovation at established companies
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) -Small business owner (salary unavailable) -Chief executive ($167,000)*
-General or operations manager ($95,000)*
-Business owner (salary unavailable)
Time to Completion Generally 1-2 years part-time, but can be faster About 1-2 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 4-6 courses related to general business and entrepreneurial topics
- About 12-16 graduate level courses
- Capstone project, possibly associated with completing a business plan
- Entrepreneurial advisory relationship
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent. Bachelor's degree and several years of work experience usually required
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship

If you already have a bachelor's degree and want to learn the basics of starting your own business, completing a graduate certificate in entrepreneurship can teach you the skills and information you need in a short timeframe. Certificate programs typically have less burdensome application processes, lower fees and fewer requirements than master's degree programs. They also focus more specifically on entrepreneurship, so if your undergraduate degree or work experience has given you a foundation in business concepts, a certificate can provide the particular knowledge you may need, like business plan writing, to launch a venture.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Graduate certificates take less time to earn than master's degrees and typically cost less
  • Hands-on experience and a chance to incubate your business idea with the help of experienced advisors providing feedback
  • Offers networking opportunities with aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs

Cons

  • Graduate certificate programs cover much less material than master's degree programs
  • Potential partners or investors in your business could be attracted by the prestige that comes along with a master's degree; if so, a certificate might not be satisfactory
  • Working for a small business might provide the same type of knowledge that a certificate program covers

Courses and Requirements

A graduate certificate program in entrepreneurship typically requires 4-6 courses. You may take some general business courses, like accounting and marketing, though even those can be tailored to topics related to small businesses. You'll also take classes in small business strategy and management, as well as an entrepreneurship class. A technology course may also be a requirement. Depending on the program, you may work on a field project - for example, you might create a business plan for a client.

Online Degree Options

Numerous schools offer online graduate certificate in entrepreneurship programs. The course offerings are similar to a traditional classroom program. Coursework might include readings, video lectures, case studies and online discussions with classmates. The rigor of the program can depend upon the school you choose - you may be able to complete your certificate program in as little as 20 hours, but some programs will require significantly more time. However, programs are often structured so that you can complete the work on your own schedule, and you may not need to attend any on-campus sessions.

Getting Ahead with This Certificate

If you are hoping to launch a start-up company, technology will likely play a role in at least some, if not a significant portion of your business plan. You might want to take additional technology classes - even if you're not starting a tech company, you'll want to be comfortable with e-commerce concepts, database management and business intelligence skills.

The Small Business Administration recommends that find a mentor if you plan to start your own business. You can start looking for a mentor while you are completing your certificate program. This will be especially important if you are completing your certificate online, since your networking opportunities may have been limited. The SBA provides a list of resources to help you on its website.

MBA in Entrepreneurship

If you have an undergraduate degree in business or if you have a non-business degree but are interested in starting a business, an MBA in Entrepreneurship can help you launch your company. You'll learn the basic concepts crucial to starting and running a new business, and you'll likely be exposed to mentors, real-life experiences, and potential partners and investors as you progress through the program.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • An MBA in Entrepreneurship program can help you complete a business plan and introduce you to investors
  • If you have a non-business undergraduate degree you'll gain basic knowledge in accounting, marketing and business law
  • Business owners and CEOs can earn high salaries*

Cons

  • MBA programs can be expensive, and full-time study will take you away from the marketplace for up to two years
  • Running your own company can be stressful - employee turnover, funding worries, and long hours can all be part of the experience
  • Small businesses have a significant failure rate*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Courses and Requirements

Your requirements for this program will depend on whether you are earning a Master of Entrepreneurship or an MBA with a specialization in entrepreneurship. If you are entering an MBA program, you'll take some core MBA courses such as accounting, finance, data analysis, marketing and information systems. Your entrepreneurship coursework might include classes in entrepreneurial finance and managing small businesses. You may have a capstone project that involves consulting with an existing business on an entrepreneurial business plan and strategy.

If you already have some core business knowledge and are instead looking to obtain a master's in entrepreneurship, your classes will be more focused on business launch concepts. Your classes will be centered on entrepreneurial issues, and you may also take classes in business plan creation, funding a business and negotiation. Again, you'll probably work on a final project that may involve creating a business plan and even going through the steps of launching your own business.

Online Degree Options

There are many online degree programs for students who wish to pursue an MBA in Entrepreneurship. While much of the coursework is similar to on-campus programs, you might have some flexibility in your class schedule. This can help if you are trying to continue working while you are in the program. However, there will probably be some requirements that will need to be addressed in-person. These can include an applied lab where you'll work with advisors and businesses.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Joining an organization of fellow entrepreneurs can help you work through the challenges of starting a new business. While you are earning your degree, you might join your school's entrepreneurship or business club. These clubs often have networking events, guest speakers and leadership opportunities. Additionally, there are local business groups that have these opportunities where you'll be able to do face-to-face networking at social events and structured discussion groups where members share their experiences in launching new companies.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • International MBA in Entrepreneurship
      • MBA in Entrepeneurship
      • MBA in Leadership
      • International MBA in Leadership
      • MS in Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Entrepeneurship
      • MBA - Media Management
      • MBA - Business Economics
      • MBA
      • MBA - Human Resources Management
      • M.A. - Organizational Management: Human Resources Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master : Business Admin
      • MBA: Project Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    4. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Innovation and Entrepreneurship
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship
      • Master of Arts in Law - Business
      • Master of Business Administration - Small Business Data Analytics
      • Master of Business Administration - Small Business Information Technology
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Interdisciplinary Business
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MA in Public Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin - Entrepreneurship
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • Master of Business Administration - Building Creativity
      • Master of Business Administration - Change and Innovation
      • MBA - Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Management

Featured Schools

Southern New Hampshire University

  • International MBA in Entrepreneurship
  • MBA in Entrepeneurship
  • MBA in Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Ashford University

  • MBA - Entrepeneurship
  • MBA - Media Management
  • MBA - Business Economics

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Master : Business Admin
  • MBA: Project Management

Which subject are you interested in?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • M.S. - Internet Marketing

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
  • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • MBA

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship
  • Master of Arts in Law - Business
  • Master of Business Administration - Small Business Data Analytics

What is your highest level of education completed?

Johns Hopkins University

  • MA in Public Management

What is your highest level of education?