How an MBA Helps Entrepreneurship

Female business owner smiling in her office

The number of Americans leaving traditional employment for self-employment will be close to 27 million by 2020 — nearly double the current number of self-employed in the U.S. workforce — according to a recent report by FreshBooks, a cloud accounting company.

This wave of future self-employed professionals are preparing for their shift to a new work environment. These workers can learn new skills by taking courses in-person or online. With coursework in building businesses, making professional connections, and leading successful teams, those leaving the traditional workforce should understand how a Master of Business Administration helps entrepreneurship, enabling graduates to begin an independent venture.

What Is Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is defined by as “the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” Most businesses are born out of an idea to fill a gap in the market or to solve a problem.

Those who decide to start and run their own business assume considerable risk, which is the heart of entrepreneurship. Business failure is a constant possibility, and 7 out of 10 businesses fail within 10 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Having the skills necessary for long-term success such as the ability to think strategically and communicate effectively are critical for business owners who want to see their new business venture thrive.

Essential Entrepreneurship Skills

Entrepreneurs who have a few essential skills can find long-term success in their business. Here are three skills that can help them reach their business goals.

  • Strategic thinking. Entrepreneurs frequently face ups and downs in business. Those who develop a strong business strategy that is in alignment with their goals can maintain focus during turbulent times.
  • Capable of learning. Entrepreneurs need to be able to quickly learn new skills, such as accounting or sales, to keep their business running. They should also learn from their mistakes, turning errors into opportunities for improvement.
  • Effective communication. Entrepreneurs must be able to sell the value of their business to different audiences: customers, investors, and employees. If they cannot articulate their ideas to these audiences, it will be difficult for their business to succeed.

MBA in Entrepreneurship Coursework

As self-employment continues to rise, new postgraduate programs, such as an MBA in business venturing and entrepreneurship from Ohio University, have also increased. The following courses from the program show how students can assess their business ideas and develop skills for long-term success in an academic setting.

  • Ideation, Concept Development, and Business Models. Many entrepreneurs have more than one great idea, but not all their ideas will bring them success. A reason that an idea may fail is that it is not suited for the target audience. By using tools and techniques to generate, assess, and validate new concepts, students learn how to either make their ideas a reality or save them for a later time.
  • New Venture Creation. After screening and validating an idea, an entrepreneur can turn the idea into a business. Many entrepreneurs struggle with capital and cost control. Coursework covers business planning with a focus on financial and investment due diligence as well as sales and marketing forecasting.
  • Managerial finance. Entrepreneurs must make smart decisions about business operations to make a profit. Thus, those who can interpret and analyze financial information will have an advantage. Coursework covers how investments are valued and used to fund a company, as well as information to include in financial decision-making.

Beyond MBA Coursework

An MBA can help entrepreneurship by being a testing ground for new ideas. Students set up a business, and their challenges or failures in the process provide an avenue for learning without serious financial consequences. The students also learn about running the business after launch. Knowledge of sales, accounting, and human resources are necessary for the early stages of starting a business to prevent it from growing too fast or running out of capital.

Entrepreneurs may struggle to find dedicated mentors and coaches during the life of their business. However, MBA students have professors who can offer valuable feedback on ideas, business plans, and roadblocks. Developing these relationships with faculty also provides students with a useful network for coaching and support after graduation.

Building a network can benefit an entrepreneur looking for a new perspective on a problem or looking to hire high-quality team members. In the report from FreshBooks, those who were self-employed found that finding talented job applicants was the most substantial challenge to running their business. Entrepreneurs who are starting out will often leverage their current network to find investors and employees.

Starting an MBA in Entrepreneurship

Taking risks, learning from mistakes, developing the skills essential to succeed — an MBA helps prepare entrepreneurs for it all through education. Those with an MBA may find it easier to manage the risks of self-employment and realize their goals.

Learn More:

Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Online MBA” program, Ohio University’s online master’s in business administration now offers a concentration in Business Venturing and Entrepreneurship to prepare future business leaders to navigate innovation and venture capital investments.

Recommended Reading

Ohio University Blog, “The Benefits of an MBA in Business Venturing and Entrepreneurship”
Ohio University Blog, “How Leading Companies Are Embracing the Experience Economy”
Ohio University Blog, “The Building Blocks of a Great Sales Leader”


Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Survival of Private Sector Establishments by Opening Year”
Entrepreneur, “10 Reasons Why 7 Out of 10 Businesses Fail Within 10 Years”
Entrepreneur, “5 Reasons Why Businesses Fail”
Forbes, “Seven Business Coaching Tips For New Entrepreneurs”
Forbes, “Should Entrepreneurs Get an MBA? An Inside Perspective From an MBA Entrepreneur”
FreshBooks, “Second Annual Self-Employment Report, PDF”
Investopedia, “The 5 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs”
Lexico, “Meaning of entrepreneurship in English”
U.S. News & World Report, “3 Reasons Future Entrepreneurs Need an MBA, and 1 Exception”