One of the best ways to remain competitive in today’s management workforce is to pursue an MBA with a concentration in a field of entrepreneurship. Small firms are the drivers of the American economy, and an education in managing these firms can help entrepreneurs overcome the tremendous, 1-in-2 failure rate for startup companies. To maximize flexibility, many MBA programs have moved online and embraced a highly flexible format. Among these programs, there are a few that stand out. The best programs are those that are AACSB-accredited as well as regionally accredited, highly affordable, prestigious, and known from coast to coast.
In the world of graduate business education, prestige and networking outweigh most other factors, aside from affordability, when choosing a program. For this reason, the ranking of schools below focuses primarily on a name recognition and academic prestige, with affordability and flexibility as secondary factors. Each program provides students with a powerful brand name and a vast network of professionals that will help them grow their career in a dynamic way.
When it comes to finding great value and a prestigious name, the regional campuses of Texas A&M University lead the way. The Commerce campus, located a bit north of Dallas, offers one of America’s most affordable online MBA programs. Whether in-state or out-of-state, students pay about half the average price of an MBA for 36 credits of instruction. TAMU-Commerce offers an entrepreneurship concentration that teaches students the economics of starting a firm, the nature of positioning a product competitively in an economy dominated by larger corporations, and both the ethics and procedures for growing the business and managing its increasing number of employees.
19. Ohio University
Often overshadowed by Ohio State University, this state-funded institution offers a top-ranked MBA that refreshingly required no GMAT scores during the admissions process. Ohio University, located in the small Ohio town of Athens, offers an online MBA with several concentrations in fields like healthcare and leadership. Students in the leadership concentration can opt to take courses that focus on leading a new firm, giving them the skills they need to be successful entrepreneurs after graduation.
Easily one of the most affordable online MBAs in the nation, Ohio University’s program requires 36 total credits. Of those credits, 9 credit hours must be in a concentration. Students also complete a capstone course at the end of the program and have the opportunity to travel to Athens for an in-person residency with fellow members of their online cohort. The program takes two years to complete on a part-time basis.
Located just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Robert Morris has an AACSB-accredited online MBA that’s among the most affordable online programs in the Keystone State. A concentration in entrepreneurship allows students in the 36-credit program to focus on what it takes to create a new product, bring it to market, and guide a firm toward sustainable success. The 9-credit concentration leads to a final capstone course, where students create business plans and proposals based on what they’ve learned in their prior coursework.
Robert Morris University is one of the largest institutions of higher education in western Pennsylvania, ranked as a best value by U.S. News and World Report as well as top-ranked in business and regional higher education. The MBA’s AACSB accreditation puts it in the top 5 percent of online programs worldwide.
One of North Carolina’s largest and most affordable public universities, Fayetteville State is a top-ranked school for veterans. The school is located near a military base and offers a robust set of tools for veterans that makes it easier to schedule and afford the cost of the online MBA. An entrepreneurship concentration is available for students in this program, encompassing up to 12 credits of coursework in entrepreneurial finance, innovation management, small firm marketing, and ethical leadership.
Fayetteville State University students complete a required capstone course during their final semester of enrollment, consisting of a business management and consulting simulation. This capstone is designed to both pull together the core concepts of the program and to teach students how to make effective decisions that benefit their firm. On a part-time basis, the online MBA can be completed in approximately two years. Thanks to its flexible, veteran-centric focus, however, the program can run for as long as three years to meet student needs.
The University of South Florida has emerged as a leader in regional higher education for online students in recent years, with an online MBA that is both highly affordable and AACSB-accredited. The school offers a discount to in-state students with Florida residency, even in its online program, which allows many graduates to leave the university without a significant student loan debt load. The 9-credit concentration in entrepreneurship focuses on general themes of “going it alone” in the world of business, including securing funding, setting a marketing strategy, and growing the firm through both employment and increased sales.
Ranked in the top 100 regional universities in the Midwest, and among the top 30 public universities, Eastern Michigan University’s online MBA program is both new and growing rapidly. The school benefits from highly affordable tuition, at least for in-state students, who pay one of the lowest per-credit rates offered by any business school in the region. Additionally, EMU ranks as one of the best schools for veterans, primarily due to the highly flexible nature of course scheduling in the online program.
Entrepreneurship at the school is both a core curriculum focus of the online MBA program as well as an optional concentration for students with an interest in the field. The program is primarily informed by Eastern Michigan University research and the major industries of this Midwestern state, including automotive, arts, and technology industries.
Affordability is a key concern of this state-funded Florida University, which offers a generous, $10,000 scholarship to entering online MBA students. The school allows for a full waiver of the GMAT, further enhancing access to students of all backgrounds. Upon admission, students can choose from a concentration in entrepreneurship that spans between 9 and 12 credits. Focused on tech innovation and managing a startup firm, the concentration prepares students to become innovators and managers of exceedingly small firms. Ranked one of the best online MBAs in the south, FIU also earns top marks as an affordable program for all admitted students in the most recent edition of U.S. News and World Report.
The University of Houston System is the leading, urban provider of public higher education in the city of Houston. The school’s state funding allows it to offer exceedingly affordable tuition to Houston and Texas residents, making it one of the most affordable online programs for these individuals. Out-of-state residents pay more, but still get a great value.
The 36-credit MBA program at the University of Houston offers a concentration in entrepreneurship based on the university’s extensive academic research into innovation management and startups. Students focus primarily on the technology industry in case studies that teach the basics of starting, growing, marketing, and diversifying a new firm. Internships and high-tech simulations also teach students how their actions directly affect a growing firm.
Originally founded as a teacher’s college, Ball State has evolved into one of the nation’s flagship public universities. The school is also one of the most affordable providers of online education, and has earned top ranks for educational quality within its online programs from U.S. News and World Report. The school’s top ranking as a great value is a boon to business students who don’t want to rely excessively on student loans to fund their educational expenses.
The entrepreneurship concentration within the MBA requires at least 9 credits, and as many as 12 credits, in areas like innovation management, entrepreneurial finance, scaling a small firm to meet demand, and much more. Students also complete a capstone course, resulting either in a virtual simulation or a scholarly thesis that ties their academic experience together as they finish the program.
UMass Amherst offers one of the largest online MBA programs, boosted by an extensive marketing effort as well as an excellent reputation in the world of higher education. Operating for more than a decade, the online MBA program at Amherst offers a concentration in entrepreneurship and general leadership. Between 9 and 12 credits are required, which will introduce students to ethical leadership, the details of starting and growing a firm, and how to navigate a highly competitive marketplace of ideas and high-tech products. The school’s online program is ranked in the top 15 online MBAs nationwide, according to U.S. News and World Report, and is also named a best value and a leader among national universities.
At Saint Joseph’s University, in Philadelphia, students are encouraged to live the “magis,” a Jesuit term that invokes giving back to others and living a fulfilled life. Throughout the MBA program at the university, students are instructed in business ethics and taught how to make decisions that are both fiscally responsible and beneficial to the community at large.
Within the entrepreneurship concentration, the school’s students learn about the ethical dilemmas facing business owners and innovators, giving them a solid foundation on which to build and grow a new firm. Consistently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as well as the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society, the school typically ranks among the best nationwide for online MBAs.
Suffolk University is notably the only university in Greater Boston that has earned AACSB accreditation for both its accounting and business programs, positioning it in the top 1 percent of business schools globally. Though better known for its law school, Suffolk offers a top-30 MBA with an a highly successful entrepreneurship concentration.
The business school, a prolific producer of management research, has a broad core curriculum that pairs with 9 credits of elective study. Within the entrepreneurship concentration, students will study the economics of starting a firm, the ethics of securing funding and working with “angel” investors, and the process of growing the firm’s products, familiarity, and employment base.
Once a commuter school for regional students, Northeastern University has grown in recent decades to become a top-ranked national university for students from coast to coast. The D’Amore-McKim School of Business is one of the top business research centers in the country, offers a separate Department of Entrepreneurship that focuses centrally on the creation and growth of new firms, and has earned a top-50 ranking among all online MBA programs in the country.
Northeastern’s MBA emphasizes hands-on learning, encouraging online students to work in groups, study cases, and engage in high-tech simulations that teach the basics of starting a firm, securing funding, and bringing a product to market. The MBA also benefits from a 235 percent explosion in employer partners who actively recruit Northeastern graduates.
One of two flagship public universities in Oklahoma, OSU offers a highly affordable online MBA that’s ranked in the top 40 programs nationwide in U.S. News and World Report. In addition to offering a robust entrepreneurship concentration within its MBA curriculum, Oklahoma State has a separate School of Entrepreneurship that is centrally focused on both instruction and research in the field.
The School of Entrepreneurship has helped the university earn a reputation as a top school for starting new firms. Its research has also been central to the explosion of tech startups nationwide over the last two decades. The online program can be completed in two years, on a part-time basis.
Philadelphia’s Drexel University has built its reputation on offering an innovative cooperative learning program. Co-op, as the program is known, allows students to both learn in the classroom and apply those skills in a full-time job off-campus. For MBA students, co-op opportunities include placements alongside executives for high-achieving students, giving them insight into top-level decision making as well as an unparalleled opportunity to network and build a career in management.
The entrepreneurship program at Drexel is offered in the form of an online MBA concentration. Students take 9 credits that focus on both entrepreneurship and innovation management, making the program a natural fit for today’s tech-minded entrepreneurs who are looking to incorporate both their business education and a product that innovates its way into the marketplace. The program can be completed in a 2-year cohort, or stretched to more than three years, depending on student preference.
Known as one of the flagship public universities in both Florida and the southeastern region of the United States, it should come as no surprise that the University of Florida offers one of the top-ranked online MBA programs in the country. Excellent rankings in Forbes, BusinessWeek, and U.S. News and World Report give the University of Florida’s AACSB-accredited program an edge with in-state students, who benefit from lower tuition, as well as students across the country who are looking for a top-tier degree.
At the University of Florida, the study of entrepreneurship is combined with a study of both leadership and innovation. Students are taught how to think critically about a new product, how to pursue funding, and how to ethically market and publicize a firm over time. The school’s capstone course focuses on either consulting or leadership, giving soon-to-be graduates a chance to develop hands-on experience in business decision-making.
Washington State University offered one of the earliest online MBA programs. Today, the school is widely known for offering one of the most affordable online MBA programs in the country. Washington State University also benefits from proximity to major tech companies, like Microsoft and Amazon, which informs its entrepreneurship curriculum and makes its MBA one of the best choices for students who aspire to either own a tech firm or join one of the country’s largest technology companies after commencement.
WSU’s entrepreneurship concentration is tech-focused, with an emphasis on bringing innovative new technologies to market and navigating the process of securing funding, making marketing decisions, growing employment, and maturing a successful firm. Graduates will be prepared to join the tech entrepreneurs of Greater Seattle, the Silicon Valley, and other tech hubs throughout the country and the world.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has seen its MBA evolve from a fledgling program to one that’s tied for first place with the more established online MBA at Temple University in Philadelphia. While the schools are on par in terms of quality, it’s worth noting that UNC Chapel Hill’s MBA is more than three times the price of Temple’s program. While prestigious, that means this school could be out of reach for students on a budget. Even so, it has earned a place in the top three programs for its high degree of prestige and its track record for getting MBA graduates into lucrative positions and long-term careers.
Within the program, UNC Chapel Hill offers a robust, 9-credit concentration in entrepreneurship that teaches students the economics of starting a new venture, the process of growing the venture and adding employees, and the ethical concerns of entrepreneurs in today’s marketplace. General business courses focus on a broad variety of topics, ranging from economics and statistics to integrated marketing, finance, and managerial accounting. The program can be completed in about two years on a part-time basis and offers robust career services for online program graduates.
Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business was one of the first online MBAs from a major, public university in the United States. Over the course of more than a decade, IU’s AACSB-accredited online MBA program has become one of the largest and most prestigious options available nationwide. With more affordable tuition than the program at UNC Chapel Hill, the school seems a better fit for entrepreneurs who are looking to start their careers with as little debt as possible. The overall reputation and instructional quality of the school, which often ranks in the top 5 online MBA programs in U.S. News and World Report, is also top-notch.
The Kelley MBA can be completed in as little as two years, though part-time students might take as long as three years to finish the required coursework. In addition to the typically broad MBA core curriculum, Kelley students can opt for an entrepreneurship concentration that spans 9 or 12 credit hours. The program’s central focus is on the mechanics of actually starting and growing a business, with a significant focus on the economic, strategic, and human resources implications of a growing firm.
Consistently ranked as the best online MBA program in the United States, Temple University’s MBA program is also highly regarded by U.S. News and World Report for its track record of producing successful entrepreneurs. The university offers a specialization in entrepreneurship as part of its MBA program and operates an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute at the main campus in Philadelphia. This institute is focused on both guiding students toward entrepreneurial success and researching entrepreneurship itself.
Temple’s program, which benefits from partial state funding and keeps tuition low, lasts just over two years on a part-time basis. Full-time students can complete the 48-credit-hour program in just 18 months. The program is broken down into several components: leadership, accounting, statistics, and a “carousel” of general business classes and elective credits. A capstone course in enterprise consulting gives students either hands-on or simulated experience in an executive role. All told, Temple’s focus on research, cutting-edge online instruction, prestige, and value, make it easily the best choice for entrepreneurs and all other MBA applicants.
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