Entrepreneur Degree Programs

Colleges and universities across the country offer a wide range of banking-related programs, from certificate programs covering the basics of banking to Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs preparing graduates for financial management opportunities.

Essential Information

Entrepreneurs take on the risks associated with owning, organizing and managing their own business enterprises. Entrepreneur degree programs prepare students for careers as business owners or managers by teaching them about the financial, analytical and operational aspects of business ownership. Programs in entrepreneurship can often be found at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels.

  • Program Levels in Entrepreneurship: Associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees
  • Prerequisites: Associate's degree programs typically require at least 100 credit hours in related business coursework; bachelor's degrees most often only require a high school diploma; master's degree programs expect new students to have a bachelor's degree, high scores on their GMAT and possibly relevant work experience

Entrepreneurship Associate's Degrees

Students enrolled in associate's degree programs in entrepreneurship learn valuable foundational skills in small business management and operations. Most degree programs place a strong focus on providing students with the theoretical and applied knowledge necessary to start their own small businesses after graduation. Associate's degree programs typically require completion of approximately 100 credit hours in required business courses, related electives and general education classes.

Entrepreneurial associate's degree programs teach students fundamental concepts in key areas of business management such as technology, communication and finance. Many curricula carry requirements for completion of practical experience of some sort, including internships and mock business plans. Course topics typically include:

  • Principles of small businesses
  • Strategic management
  • Small business accounting and communications
  • Computer applications for entrepreneurs
  • Microeconomics
  • Business law

Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship

Bachelor's degree programs in entrepreneurship educate students in the key components of starting new businesses, such as risk analysis, manufacturing and marketing. Business plan development is a crucial element of degree programs, with most curricula requiring both theoretical courses and hands-on practice in this area. Some institutions offer Bachelor of Science degrees in entrepreneurship, while others allow students to declare an entrepreneurship minor or concentration within general business or business management programs. Many bachelor's degree programs carry no educational prerequisites beyond a high school diploma. Several programs may require students to apply to both the university and the individual college or school housing the entrepreneurship program. Some schools will not admit students into their business colleges or entrepreneurship bachelor's degree programs until they have completed core educational requirements and achieved sophomore or junior status.

On top of the key business concepts taught in associate's degree programs, students enrolled in entrepreneurial bachelor's degree programs learn about the following topics:

  • Employee compensation
  • Investment analysis
  • Business plan and product development
  • Purchasing
  • Operations management
  • Business ethics

Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship

Students interested in pursuing graduate educations in entrepreneurship can apply for admission to MBA degree programs. As with the bachelor's degree programs described above, many institutions offer only general MBA degrees, but students can select entrepreneurship or entrepreneurial studies as areas of concentration. Also, like bachelor's degree programs, entrepreneurship master's degree programs prepare students to open their own businesses after graduation. However, master's degree programs place increased emphasis on the management of day-to-day operations. Master's degree-seeking students must meet several admission requirements in addition to holding a bachelor's degree in business or entrepreneurship from an accredited university. Applicants must take their Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) exams and submit their scores with their applications. Admissions to MBA programs in entrepreneurship are often selective, with decision-makers placing great emphasis upon applicants' GPAs, personal references and work experience.

Master's degree programs in entrepreneurship educate students fully in the startup and management of new businesses, as well as providing instruction in the analytic processes of new business consulting. Topics commonly covered in courses include:

  • Entrepreneurship technology
  • Managerial accounting
  • Human resource management
  • Product development
  • Quantitative investment analysis
  • Corporate economics

Popular Career Options

An associate's degree in entrepreneurship can lead to entry-level employment in many areas of business, including sales, marketing and manufacturing. Graduates of associate's degree programs may also open their own small businesses upon earning their degrees. New small business owners generally wear many hats and assume responsibility for all areas of business operations, including:

  • Investment acquisition
  • Product development
  • Accounting
  • Human resources
  • Employee leadership and motivation
  • Customer service

Although entrepreneur programs are primarily designed to prepare students to launch new businesses, many students pursue employment with existing corporations immediately after graduation in order to gain industry knowledge and experience. A bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship is generally sufficient training for managerial positions in the following areas:

  • Consulting
  • Operations
  • Sales or marketing
  • Accounting
  • Product development

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Entrepreneurs who own small businesses can seek continuing education opportunities by joining professional associations like the National Small Business Association or the Association of Small Business Development Centers. These and numerous other national, regional and demographic-oriented organizations cater to the interests of small business owners by providing continuing education conferences and networking opportunities.

As with entrepreneurial undergraduate degree programs, students could be equipped with the skill sets necessary to open their own businesses upon graduation. Master's degree-holders can also pursue careers as business management analysts or consultants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, management analysts made a yearly median salary of $80,880 in May 2014.

Continuing Education Information

In addition to joining small business owner's professional associations, master's degree-holders working as business consultants or analysts may join national or regional groups to further their industry knowledge. One such association is the Institute of Management Consultants USA.

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