Entrepreneurs have always been known for their innovation and gumption, but a good idea and a dollop of confidence isn’t the recipe for success it once was. The business world today is so ingrained in technology, finance, and marketing, that one needs to be well-educated in several vital areas to carry a concept into a product and business. Fortunately, no one has to do it all on his or her own anymore.
According to the Harvard Business Review, higher education in entrepreneurship is expensive, but it can save an entrepreneur time and money by giving graduates a strong foundational background in business, finance, and strategic management. Today’s 21st-century approach to entrepreneurship includes data-driven strategies that are key to success in a digitized landscape.
The network of peers and professionals provided by a university, business school, or online program can foster the kind of collaborations across sectors that startups need to be successful. Furthermore, the faculty in many entrepreneurship programs do not only teach but they also mentor—equipping and shepherding aspiring innovators into a harsh profession with fierce competition and immense opportunity.
Entrepreneurs are increasingly seeking out specified education in their chosen field, whether through an undergraduate degree, a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), a certificate program, or even a low- to no-cost learning opportunity available online.
Read on to learn about the education available to boost one’s chances of success as an entrepreneur in the modern world.
Launched in 2014, the entrepreneurship program at the Yale School of Management seeks to bolster the school’s entrepreneurship offerings in its MBA programs through strengthening connections across Yale’s entrepreneurship community and adding a global dimension through affiliation with the school’s global network for advanced management.
The integrated curriculum emphasizes a team-taught and holistic approach to problem-solving, focusing on the entirety of enterprise instead of individual business functions. Additional classes are offered in venture capital and private equity investments, entrepreneurship through acquisition, strategic communication, startup founder studies, and impact investing. The school provides standard, part-time, and executive MBAs. The standard MBA program consists of 72 credits. GMAT or GRE scores are required in the admissions process.
Founded in 1989, the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon combines foundational business theory, experiential learning, and supporting research to provide top-tier entrepreneurial education. The school offers real-world exercises to its students, shepherds them through the entrepreneurial process, and connects them with a network of powerful corporate allies in the region.
After completing core business requirements, students take courses in subjects such as venture startups, corporate finance and valuation, recognizing business opportunities, entrepreneurial accounting, and e-business. The school’s MBA with a specialization in innovation and entrepreneurship consists of 70 credits. Accelerated and flex options are also available. GMAT or GRE scores are required in the admissions process.
The Haas School of Business is rated as having one of the best entrepreneurship programs in the nation. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, where half of American venture capital and one-third of global venture capital is invested. The school’s stated mission is to redefine how business is done, and their graduates have an excellent track record of securing VC funding.
The curriculum’s Lean Launch approach focuses on three phases of the entrepreneurial journey: ideation and team formation, customer discovery and validation, and startup acceleration. After completing foundational core courses, students take specialization classes in subjects like social entrepreneurship, venture capital and private equity, new venture finance, business model innovation, and social impact. The school offers standard and executive MBA programs. The standard MBA program consists of approximately 51 credits. GMAT or GRE scores are required in the admissions process.
ASU’s online bachelor of science degree in technological entrepreneurship and management bridges the gap between technology and business. It pairs a foundational understanding of technology-based innovation with the fundamentals of leadership, management, and entrepreneurship. The curriculum’s collaborative team projects bring together students from several disciplines to cross-pollinate spheres of knowledge and mimic the entrepreneurial environment of the real world.
After meeting core requirements, students take courses such as technology ventures, promotion of the enterprise, innovation management, technology entrepreneurship, and enterprise strategy. The program consists of 120 credits and may be completed online.
The MBA in entrepreneurship at SNHU is one of the most affordable programs of its kind, and it can be completed in one year. The curriculum pairs leadership exercises with real-world scenarios to give graduates a practical skills they can put into practice immediately. After completing the core requirements, students will take electives in entrepreneurship and small business management, consulting, and franchising. The program consists of 36 credits and may be completed entirely online. No GMAT or GRE is required.
Stanford’s innovation and entrepreneurship certificate program focuses on giving students the essential skills and strategies for either managing innovative organizations or starting wholly new ones. The program, designed by the Stanford Center for Professional Development, consists of eight courses, each made up of online lecture videos, self-paced assignments, discussion board interaction and feedback, and a final exam.
The courses focus on innovating through value chains, building business models, demand creation, scaling excellence, leading innovation, leading collaborative teams, and cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset. The program is eligible to count towards professional development units that will maintain one’s project management professional certification. It is self-paced and may be completed entirely online.
Entrepreneurs, at times, still have to rub their hands together and make something out of nothing. While it often takes money to make money, that is not always the case when it comes to education. Free or low-cost online learning options exist, and they often include materials and faculty from top-ranked universities. Those looking to get ahead through sheer dedication and talent can check out some of the bootstrap options below.
Coursera’s online classes act as virtual and interactive textbooks, complete with an assortment of quizzes, videos, and projects meant to both deliver basic education and test for understanding. Often developed in conjunction with universities across the globe, they provide high-level learning for a fraction of the usual cost, and sometimes entirely for free.
Many of the programs are short in length and high in intensity. They are meant to slot into a busy schedule and deliver immediate impact into one’s career. Prospective entrepreneurs can select from a wide variety of courses, from introductory level topics to more narrow specializations like entrepreneurship in transitioning economies, renewable energy, and green building entrepreneurship, or social entrepreneurship opportunities.
What started through an exclusive partnership between MIT and Harvard has now become a vast online learning platform. edX collaborates with the world’s leading educational companies to deliver top quality content that can be accessed from practically anywhere in the world. The “Becoming an Entrepreneur” course, in partnership with MIT’s program for entrepreneurs, gives students a primer into the world of entrepreneurship, teaching them what it takes to be a successful startup business owner. The six-week course is primarily geared for those without a business background, and through its completion, one may add a certificate for a nominal fee.