Home Online Business Blog Entrepreneurship and the Online MBA: Building Business Acumen and Entrepreneurial Skills

Entrepreneurship and the Online MBA: Building Business Acumen and Entrepreneurial Skills

17 Apr
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Why should aspiring entrepreneurs consider an MBA? Nike is a billion-dollar company and a business idea that was born during a project in an MBA program. That’s right. Nike’s founder Phil Knight developed the idea while enrolled in an MBA program at Stanford.1

Entrepreneurship has emerged as a driving force behind innovation, economic growth and societal impact. Pursuing an online MBA has become an increasingly popular pathway for individuals looking to develop the skills, knowledge and network needed to succeed as entrepreneurs.

In this blog post, we will explore how online MBA programs provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools, leadership skills, resources and opportunities to launch, manage and grow their own businesses.

Introduction to Entrepreneurship and the Online MBA

Entrepreneurship is the process of identifying opportunities, taking risks, and organizing resources to create value and pursue new business ventures. Entrepreneurs demonstrate creativity, initiative, and resilience in starting and managing businesses, often with the goal of generating profits, driving innovation and addressing unmet needs in the marketplace.

Entrepreneurship involves a combination of skills including the following:2

  • Innovation and Creativity: Entrepreneurs drive innovation by developing new products, services and business models that challenge the status quo and address evolving consumer demands. They bring fresh ideas, perspectives and approaches to problem-solving, fostering creativity and pushing boundaries
  • Economic Growth and Job Creation: Entrepreneurship can drive economic growth and prosperity, fueling job creation, wealth generation and income opportunities. Successful entrepreneurs create value not only for themselves but also for employees, investors, suppliers, and communities. Startups and small businesses play a vital role in driving innovation and competitiveness in the economy
  • Market Competition and Disruption: Entrepreneurs introduce competition and disrupt established industries, leading to increased efficiency, lower prices and greater consumer choice. By challenging traditional business models, entrepreneurs stimulate market dynamics, encourage entrepreneurship and foster a culture of continuous improvement and adaptation
  • Problem-Solving and Social Impact: Entrepreneurs identify a problem and work to solve that problem by developing innovative solutions and business models that create social, environmental, and economic value. Social entrepreneurs, in particular, leverage business principles to tackle pressing issues such as poverty, inequality, healthcare, education and environmental sustainability, driving positive change and social impact3

Benefits of Combining Entrepreneurship and an Online MBA

An online MBA can provide aspiring entrepreneurs with valuable skills, knowledge and resources to succeed in launching and managing their own businesses. Combining academic learning with practical experience, networking, and support, MBA programs provide a solid foundation for aspiring entrepreneurs.4

Pursuing an online MBA can offer numerous advantages, including:4

  • Access to Resources and Support: MBA students have access to a wealth of resources and support services, including online libraries, research databases, career services and academic advisors. These resources can provide valuable guidance, information and assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneurial Education and Training: Many MBA programs offer specialized courses, concentrations, or electives in entrepreneurship and innovation, providing targeted education and training in entrepreneurial concepts, strategies and best practices. These courses cover topics such as opportunity recognition, business modeling, venture financing and growth strategies

Online MBA Program Overview

MBA programs offer a flexible and accessible way for working professionals to pursue advanced education, enhance their skills, and pursue career advancement while balancing their career, personal commitments and other responsibilities. MBA programs offer a comprehensive curriculum, interactive learning experiences and personalized support. Students can achieve their goals without sacrificing their work-life balance.4

Interactive Learning

MBA programs utilize advanced interactive learning tools and technologies to engage students in active learning experiences. This technology enhances the educational experience for online students and prepares students for a world that requires them to be tech-savvy. Online MBA courses can include virtual discussions, group projects, and problem-solving activities. Interactive learning fosters collaboration, communication and teamwork skills, which are essential in the business world.


Flexibility is a hallmark of online MBA programs, with asynchronous learning options that enable students to study at their own pace and schedule, rather than adhering to rigid class times. This flexibility is especially beneficial for working professionals who may have irregular work hours, travel requirements or family obligations. Additionally, MBA programs often offer part-time or accelerated study options, allowing students to tailor their course load to fit their individual needs and preferences.4


Accessibility is another key advantage of online MBA programs, as they allow students to access high-quality education from anywhere in the world. Students can enroll in top-ranked programs without having to relocate or commute to campus. MBA programs also offer a wide variety of specializations and concentrations, allowing students to customize their education to align with their career goals and interests.4

Entrepreneurial Skill Development

MBA programs offer opportunities to develop critical entrepreneurial skills. An online MBA curriculum covers a broad range of business topics, including finance, marketing, operations, strategy and leadership. Through case studies, group projects and real-world simulations, students learn to analyze complex business situations, identify opportunities, evaluate risks and make informed decisions to address challenges and capitalize on opportunities in dynamic business environments. Entrepreneurs gain a well-rounded foundation to launch and grow their ventures successfully.4

Case Studies

Incorporating case studies into the online MBA curriculum can expose students to real dilemmas and decisions that businesses face. Research has shown that students are more successful at recalling concepts when they are presented in a case.5

Case studies can cover a range of topics within an entrepreneurship program: testing an idea, researching the market, creating a prototype, market strategy or brand, managing people and culture and more. Case studies in entrepreneurship typically focus on the challenges faced by the entrepreneur. Students use the case facts to analyze a dilemma and justify their decisions. Analyzing case studies allows students to enhance problem-solving and decision-making skills. Using case studies can facilitate collaboration and expose students to different perspectives in business.6

Mentoring and Networking Opportunities

MBA programs provide networking opportunities and offer executive coaching or mentoring programs.

Networking Opportunities

MBA programs provide opportunities for networking with fellow students, alumni, faculty, and industry professionals from diverse backgrounds and industries. Building a strong professional network can offer valuable connections, mentorship, partnerships and opportunities for collaboration, funding, and business development for a large or small business.

Mentorship Programs

Through MBA mentorship programs, experienced professionals or faculty members can provide guidance, feedback, and mentorship to students, helping them identify their strengths and areas for development.7 Mentorship offers a personalized approach to learning. MBA mentorship programs can provide a structured framework and provide guidance on communication, decision-making, conflict resolution, strategic management and other skills. Students are given a safe space to make mistakes and experiment.5

Want to Own Your Own Business? Build Your Skills With William & Mary

Pursuing an MBA can enhance your business skills and advance your career as an entrepreneur. William & Mary’s Online MBA program offers numerous advantages for aspiring entrepreneurs. Prepare to lead in today’s challenging, rapidly changing business environment.

As you study on your own schedule, you'll sharpen your design thinking and problem-solving skills so that you can successfully apply them in fast-paced business environments. Through our innovative learning platform, you can engage with a support network of world-class faculty and peers and expand your network to include accomplished colleagues online and around the world.

Want to learn more? Schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor today.