What you can learn about entrepreneurship in an online MBA program

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An entrepreneur in the entrance of her business

Whether you’re in the early stages of your career or have owned a business for a while, the Online MBA program from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland serves as an ideal opportunity to build upon what you’ve already learned, thereby expanding your business acumen. The program’s curriculum consists of relevant lessons for today’s businesspeople, such as those imparted in the Entrepreneurship course.

In a world with more than 7 billion people, approximately 400 million of them are entrepreneurs, according to the most recent estimates from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. By definition, entrepreneurs are business owners, but more specifically, they seize opportunities by taking calculated risks and capitalizing on independent-minded, ambitious ideas and practices. Some of the world’s most successful people understand that entrepreneurship can be a long process that demands patience and focus.

What is the state of entrepreneurship today, both in the U.S. and around the world? How do entrepreneurs differ from other business owners? What skills do successful entrepreneurs need to thrive? How do entrepreneurs fund their business initiatives? These are some of the topics Smith’s Entrepreneurship course covers. The Smith Online MBA can develop and sharpen your capabilities by helping you to think and behave like an entrepreneur.

What is the state of entrepreneurship today?

Entrepreneurial spirit is strong in today’s business climate, with an estimated 1 in 18 people across the world being entrepreneurs, according to GEM. Although the U.S. is known as the land of opportunity, developing countries like Angola, Thailand, Lebanon and Guatemala are considered to be most entrepreneurial nations. This is because developing countries typically don’t have the institutional framework of industrialized nations, so entrepreneurs must have the self-sufficiency to take risks. Also, in these less-saturated economic conditions, more opportunities to introduce new products or services to a customer base present themselves.

How do potential entrepreneurs view their chances?

At 66%, the majority of individuals around the globe consider entrepreneurship to be a smart career move, the GEM study found. In the U.S., however, entrepreneurial ambition isn’t quite as apparent as in yesteryear, particularly among young people. Indeed, approximately 1 in 4 students in grades 9 through 12 intend to start a business once they complete their schooling, according to a 2017 survey conducted by Gallup. That’s down from a ratio of roughly 1 in 3 in 2015.

As to why this is the case, there are numerous possibilities. Young people’s changing priorities may derive from teens’ fear of failure or assumptions that they won’t have the necessary resources to establish their own businesses.

How did notably successful professionals start?

Students harboring doubts about their prospects can take solace in the fact that there are multiple paths to impressive business careers. Some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs began their careers without institutional support, perhaps none better-known than Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, which today is the largest employer in the world. As noted by Entrepreneur.com, Walton built his first store in Rogers, Arkansas, with the help of a $25,000 loan from his father-in-law.

Kevin Plank, Smith MBA graduate and CEO of footwear and workout apparel company Under Armor, made a similar journey from limited funding to worldwide success. Plank devoted the entirety of his savings ― all $20,000 worth ― to launching the casual clothing line, coupled with an additional $40,000 in credit card spending.

In these and many other instances, entrepreneurs took calculated risks, drawing on their experiences and capabilities, and those chances resulted in successes. The Entrepreneurship course incorporates real-world examples like these stories to help students make practical sense of analytical concepts.

How do today’s entrepreneurs fund their business ventures?

In today’s consumer-driven economy, millions of businesses provide an endless variety of goods and services to the public. The manner in which the founders of these companies funded their enterprises is similarly wide-ranging, be it via small-business loans, lines of credit, crowdfunding or friends and family. The most common source of capital is hard work. According to data collected by Fundable, more than 80% of startups are self-funded, with founders relying on their savings and other personal funding methods.

The Entrepreneurship course integrates some of the concepts taught in other coursework, such as venture finance, to help students chart out a plan for how to fund their initiatives and what to do when they encounter potential setbacks. Strategic management, sociology, economics and psychology are a few of the intellectual perspectives that the course draws from to help students more effectively develop their problem-solving capabilities.

How does entrepreneurship fit into the MBA curriculum?

Although the Entrepreneurship course is comprehensive, it represents a small portion of the Online Master of Business Administration curriculum. In the Foundation I portion of the curriculum, students learn essential hard skills, such as Financial Accounting and Data Analysis, alongside indispensable intrapersonal abilities, including Leadership and Teamwork. From there, they move on to the Foundation II courses that build on the proficiencies they’ve mastered. The program also contains two residencies that add practical application of new skills to current business situations.

Prosperity in today’s business world hinges on the ability to adapt and identify opportunities. Whether you’re looking to improve your resume or develop your leadership capabilities, the entrepreneurship-focused courses in the Online MBA program at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business can empower you with the skills you need to lead fearlessly. Connect with an academic advisor to learn more about what the online MBA program has in store.


Recommended reading:

Internship, management, entrepreneur? Deciding what to do after graduation

What you need to know about an online MBA degree



Online Master School of Business Administration – University of Maryland

Entrepreneur, 46 Facts You Should Know About Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneur, 5 Entrepreneurs Who Started with Nothing – and 3 Lessons to Learn

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 2018/2019 Global Report

Gallup, Entrepreneurial Ambition at New Low

Fundable, Startup Funding Infographic