The field of entrepreneurship is about developing new businesses and then managing and nurturing them until they make a profit. It is a high risk profession and only suitable for those who want to start new businesses and are ready to fail, several times. The field itself is vital to a successful economy, ensuring that both national and global marketplaces develop and strengthen. Entrepreneurs work independently and are innovators. They are creative and have very strong leadership skills.

In today’s world, entrepreneurship has gone beyond the establishment of new ventures. In fact, it has become quite an elastic term with a range of different interpretations. Generally, however, it refers to creating new startups, or to managing small businesses. Entrepreneurs also have full control of what they do, but do so with the aim not to remain at the helm of one business for ever, but rather to sell it for a profit later on and then start a new business and go through the same process again.

There is an increased demand for those who have studied entrepreneurship, and colleges and universities the world over are adapting their degree programs to add it as a business concentration. Young people in particularly are increasingly interested in becoming entrepreneurs. This has given rise to new degree pathways, which focus on this relatively new, but fast-growing discipline.

Opportunity

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released an interesting report on the importance of entrepreneurship to the economy. What they found was that the number of jobs made available through young establishments (businesses that are less than one year old) has decreased significantly since 1994. At the same time, they have noted a reduction in the number of new companies of one year old or less in that same time period.

Meanwhile, since the recession, there has once again been an increase in new startups. This has been linked to the technology boom, with small startups in the tech fields quickly taking over the business world. A company like Facebook, for instance, went from startup to global leader in a very short period of time. Additionally, a key focus for new startups now seems to be to create something that is then acquired by larger companies. An example of this can be seen in Uber.

Career Paths

Payscale.com has reported on common career paths for those who have completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an Entrepreneurship concentration. Those paths and their associated salaries are:

  • Software Product Managers, with an annual salary of between $65,889 and $137,943.
  • Senior Product Managers, with an annual salary of between $98,136 and $159,250.
  • Marketing Directors, with an annual salary of between $42,282 and $234,914.
  • Business Development Directors, with an annual salary of between $30,201 and $198,659.
  • Business Development Managers, with an average annual salary of $82,424.
  • Presidents, with an average annual salary of $125,000.
  • Management Consultants, with an average annual salary of $117,407.

Salaries

The Payscale.com report has also looked at average salaries in terms of geographical location. This showed that entrepreneurs in:

  • Boston, Massachusetts, earned an average annual salary of $118,626.
  • San Francisco, California, earned an average annual salary of $144,222.
  • New York, New York, earned an average annual salary of $110,021.
  • Chicago, Illinois, earned an average annual salary of $100,949.
  • Los Angeles, California, earned an average annual salary of $106,730.
  • Louisville, Kentucky, earned an average annual salary of $69,943.
  • Austin, Texas, earned an average annual salary of $81,389.

Employers

Indeed.com has created a report on the most popular employers for entrepreneurs in the country, as well as the associated salaries. This showed that:

  • TopAds paid an average salary of $212,133 per year.
  • TOPAD paid an average salary of $208,126 per year.
  • The Wayland Group paid an average salary of $200,000 per year.
  • The C12 Group, LLC paid an average salary of $160,850 per year.
  • At-Tech paid an average salary of $145,216 per year.
  • Alice’s table paid an average salary of $500 per day.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services paid an average salary of $120,144 per year.
  • Kern Community College District paid an average salary of $60.00 per hour.
  • Franchise Career Advisors paid an average salary of $100,000 per year.
  • LegalShield paid an average salary of $100,000 per year.

Bachelor’s Degree

In order to gain a lucrative career in the field of entrepreneurship, of course, you will need a good education. This starts with a bachelor’s degree. For the convenience of students and to remain relevant with the developing digital world, many colleges and universities now offer their courses online, although campus studies continue to be available. One example of a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship is offered by Florida State University, which has developed the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Major in Entrepreneurship. The curriculum of this degree program includes courses, such as:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Commercialization
  • Strategy Formulation
  • Organizational Design
  • Venture Finance
  • Team Project Planning
  • Launching, Managing, and Harvesting a Venture

Master’s Degree

For those who really want to reach new heights in their career, a master’s degree is recommended. This will give you the opportunity to gain advanced skills and knowledge in your field, and set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd. Just like with the bachelor’s degrees, many master’s programs are now also available online, which makes it easier than ever to obtain a graduate degree without much disruption to one’s work.

Meanwhile, it is increasingly common for colleges and universities to offer entrepreneurship as a concentration within the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Nevertheless, there continue to be some schools that offer graduate degrees specific to entrepreneurship, including the Master of Entrepreneurship offered at the University in Michigan, which is a joint degree from the College of Engineering & the Ross School of Business.

Admission Requirements

Each college or university can set its own admission requirements. However, these are usually quite similar due to the fact that these are supposed to determine whether or not someone has the academic capacity to complete a program at graduate degree level. The admissions requirements for a master’s degree at the University of Michigan are:

  • A minimum GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A statement of purpose
  • A personal statement
  • GRE
  • TOEFL/IELTS for non-native English speakers

Curriculum

Just as with the admission requirements, schools have the freedom to specify the curriculum for a particular degree program as they see fit. This is why it is very important to study with an accredited university, because it ensures prospective employers that your degree included courses that meet the minimum requirements for the profession. For instance, the curriculum of the program at the University of Michigan includes:

  • A business and technology bootcamp
  • Opportunity Exploration
  • Entrepreneurial Accounting
  • IP Strategy
  • Entrepreneurial Economics
  • Systems Innovation
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Technology Business Models
  • Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • Entrepreneurial Ownership
  • Leading Startups
  • Technology Elective
  • Entrepreneurial Operations
  • Ethics
  • Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship
  • Technology Elective
  • Entrepreneurial Strategy
  • Three practicum experiences (problem identification, product development, and startup experience)

Financial Assistance

It is common knowledge that obtaining a higher education, especially a master’s degree, is very expensive. Fortunately, most colleges or universities will usually be able to signpost you to financial aid, and they may also have scholarships and grants that they can provide to you if you are eligible. At the same time, there are a number of external scholarships that you may want to consider. These include the:

  • National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) offering up to $24,000 in scholarships.
  • National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), offering up to $10,000 in scholarships.
  • McKelvey Foundation, offering over $40,000 in scholarships.
  • Xavier University, Williams College of Business Scholarship, to the value of $18,000.
  • California State University (San Bernardino), Spirit of the Entrepreneur Scholarship Fund, to the value of $2,500.
  • University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business’s scholarship program, with varying values.
  • University of North Dakota, Center for Innovation’s scholarship program, to the value of $500 per semester.
  • Jack Wright Entrepreneur Award, to the value of $1,000 per semester.

It should be noted that when you apply for scholarships, this means that you have to meet certain requirements. These include studying at a certain school, enrolling for a specified course or concentration, aiming to work in a particular field, demonstrating financial need, holding a minimum GPA, belonging to a certain minority group, being a member of a professional organization, or being of a certain gender.

Certifications

It is not really required to become certified in the field of entrepreneurship, but it is recommended. This is because it tends to show that the certified individual has specialized knowledge in a particular field and therefore deemed to be an expert. That said, completing certification does require a further investment of time and money, and you often have to maintain certification through continuous education credits. Nevertheless, most people regard the time and money spent on obtaining a certification as a worthy investment, because of career possibilities that open up. Some certifications that you may want to consider in the field of entrepreneurship are the:

  • UCLA Extension: Online Series in Entrepreneurship
  • Daymond John Certificate in Entrepreneurship for Adults
  • Tarkenton Certificate in Entrepreneurship
  • Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate
  • John F. Kennedy University Advanced Certificate in Entrepreneurship

Associations

It is a good idea to become a member of certain professional organizations as soon as you decide to study towards an entrepreneurship degree, even at the bachelor’s degree level. First of all, these organizations often have scholarships and grants that you could be eligible for. Second, by being a member of these associations, you will always be at the forefront of new developments within your field. Third, they can also provide much needed help in obtaining certifications and continuous education credits. Finally, with these organizations you would be able to build a professional network that will greatly help in advancing your career. Some of the organizations to consider in the field of entrepreneurship are the:

  • Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which is recognized as the global leader on entrepreneurship.
  • Young Entrepreneur Council, for anyone under the age of 40.
  • FoundersCard, which focuses on those interested in networking with like-minded individuals.
  • Social Enterprise Alliance, which organizes yearly events.
  • Startup Grind, seen as the global leader in startup events.
  • Edward Lowe Foundation, which champions entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Vistage, which helps businesses grow through information sharing.
  • Association of Private Enterprise Education, which educates and informs about funding, teaching, programming, and research.
  • Young President’s Organization, with a presence in 125 different countries.
  • United States Association Small Business and Entrepreneurship, an entrepreneurship community.
  • Ashoka, which focuses on social entrepreneurship.
  • Entrepreneur’s Club, which offers various yearly networking and information sharing events.

One thing this list of organizations and associations shows, is that entrepreneurship is incredibly broad. This is why it is difficult to find a single association that encompasses it all. Various differences in entrepreneurship, such as being young, being a woman, or being ethical, are celebrated through different organizations. Nevertheless, all of these organizations focus at least to a certain degree on networking and on the importance of information sharing. By being a member of such an organization, therefore, you will build a strong network of like-minded professionals with the same entrepreneurial spirit that you have. In fact, it is through these types of networks and relationships that new startups are formed regularly. Hence, most entrepreneurs will consider membership to more than one organization, as they are all opportunities for their next business venture.

References

Henry Steele
Henry Steele
Henry is Editor-in-Chief of Business Student.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

BusinessStudent.com provides students of business with the opportunities to get ahead in their career.