Aruni Gunasegaram is an experienced entrepreneur in Austin, TX. She has been heavily involved with Austin’s startup scene since she was a college student pursuing her MBA in entrepreneurship. Among her credits are the director of operations for Austin Technology Incubator, the VP of client services at Querium (an educational test-prep software company), and the senior strategic customer success manager for SailPoint (an identity governance company).
“As a leader, always keep your hand in — an eye on — the market and industry you are targeting,” explains Gunasegaram in “25 Years, 25 Profiles — Aruni Gunasegaram” on Austin Technology Incubator’s website. “… It’s important to surround yourself with people who support and honor you. Trust the people who tell it to you straight and have your back. Trust your instincts and always seek advice from those who’ve been down the startup road before you.”
Gunasegaram advises would-be entrepreneurs that not every venture will be successful, but not all of them have to be. Learning entrepreneurship, in her opinion, is a lot like learning philosophy. The main concepts must be mastered, but from then on, each entrepreneur must compose his or her own story.
Of all the MBA career paths available, none are quite as exciting or as suspenseful as business venturing and entrepreneurship. Gunasegaram warns of constant hazards standing between the entrepreneur and success. However, those who enjoy fast-paced work, networking with other business professionals, and building a business from the ground up could benefit from enrolling in an online master’s in business administration program with an entrepreneurship concentration.
MBA in Entrepreneurship Coursework
One thing that sets an entrepreneurship MBA apart from other concentrations is the coursework. Classes in managing innovation, ideation, concept development, business models, and new venture creation are typically required to obtain a master’s in business entrepreneurship.
“In your studies as an entrepreneurship major, you will develop your business instincts,” explains management consultant Renee Ann Butler in “Is Majoring in Entrepreneurship a Good Idea?” on Investopedia.
“If you have not managed a business before, developing your business reasoning in this way is really valuable,” Butler continues. “Likewise, if you have run a business but not had much freedom in how you approached your management style, entrepreneurship helps you learn to identify opportunities and think critically about how to take advantage of them.”
Graduates of an Entrepreneurship MBA program will be expected to explore concepts such as incubation, research and development, corporate venture capital, and technology commercialization through engaging practical projects with their classmates.
Students also should be exposed to the process of screening, validating, and building new concepts. They will learn how to pitch their ideas, research and analyze markets, and make the most out of limited resources (bootstrapping). But perhaps the most valuable part of an Entrepreneurship MBA program is the ability to learn new concepts and test ideas in a “practice” setting.
“Earning an advanced degree in this concentration [entrepreneurship] provides a safe environment in which you can test your ideas — and fail with less-harsh consequences — thus helping you to hone your decision-making skills and build confidence,” says BestCollegeReviews.org in its article, “MBA in Entrepreneurship Advantages.”
The Many Benefits of Earning an MBA in Entrepreneurship
One of the most valuable benefits of an Entrepreneurship MBA program is networking. Students who work together on complex business projects and communicate regularly over forums and in online classrooms can develop a strong sense of camaraderie. When they graduate and move on, they frequently become resources for each other.
“An important goal of the MBA in Entrepreneurship is to introduce students to others who are also either starting their own companies or running their own successful businesses,” according to BestCollegeReviews.org.
“Many degree programs run seminars, and students have access to notable people in their fields. In addition, the project-based, collaborative nature of many MBA programs allows students to connect with others and develop long-term professional relationships with their peers. In fact, after graduation, many students go into business with individuals they have met through the programs.”
The value of college networking opportunities in MBA programs, especially in entrepreneurship concentrations, cannot be overstated. When graduates eventually find an innovative idea they decide to run with and turn into a thriving startup business, they will need to exploit all of the resources at their disposal.
Graduates of MBA programs with concentrations in entrepreneurship and business venturing may go on to work in research and development departments, with sales teams, in mid-level management, or as a business consultant, according to business journalist Mike Michalowicz’s AmericanExpress.com article, “8 Jobs You Can Get with an Entrepreneurship Degree.” And, of course, graduates can start their own businesses and serve in their own startup’s C-suite.
The beauty of MBA school is that one graduate who works in R&D and another who works in the sales department at another company can (and often do) go to each other to establish a mutually beneficial and profitable arrangement. Entrepreneurs can use relationships like these to help launch startup companies.
Graduates of Entrepreneurship MBA programs can expect to earn an average of about $65,000 per year, according to OnlineMBA.com’s, “What is an MBA in Entrepreneurship.” Data is difficult to calculate, however, because of the wide array of career options open to business venture MBAs. Some seasoned entrepreneurs may earn upward of six figures at a Fortune 500 company, while others may earn significantly less lending their talents and instincts to a nonprofit organization.
An MBA in entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Business venture opportunities involve a lot of risk and unknown variables. Those who attempt to launch their own companies should understand that failures are possible, and income is not guaranteed. But fortunes have been made this way.
Graduates also can leverage an MBA in entrepreneurship into promotions with their current employer, particularly within R&D or Innovation departments.
Ohio University’s Master of Business Administration Degree
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.
Self-Made Business People – How They Did It
Seven Skills for Social Entrepreneurs
The Benefits & Challenges of Business Innovation
LinkedIn.com, Aruni Gunasegaram Profile
Investopedia.com, “Is Majoring in Entrepreneurship a Good Idea?”
BestCollegeReviews.org, “Five Advantages to Having an MBA in Entrepreneurship”
American Express, “8 Jobs You Can Get With An Entrepreneurship Degree”
OnlineMBA.com, “Online MBA in Entrepreneurship”