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Postgraduate (MSc, MA, MBA, PhD) Programs in Entrepreneurship

Find postgraduate programs in ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Entrepreneurship is key to the UK, and world, economy. SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) generate half of the UK’s national income and two-thirds of all employment. In fact, small businesses constitute 99.6% of all UK private sector businesses – large companies and corporations only account for 0.4% of all businesses in the UK private sector. So it is no wonder that increasing numbers of students are choosing to set up their own business, join small start-ups or take on their family business post-graduation instead of following the well-trodden path into a graduate trainee scheme with a large corporate.

Some savvy universities have been quick with the uptake and are adapting their curriculum to meet these needs. Aston Business School offers a tailored MSc Marketing & Entrepreneurship with modules such as Entrepreneurial Strategies, Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies and International Entrepreneurship, as well as a solid grounding in business knowledge such as International Business, Business Finance, Marketing Management and Operations Management, to give budding entrepreneurs the perfect set of skills to get started in setting up a successful business.

  A degree in entrepreneurship can provide you with:

 • The opportunity to develop highly relevant skills, from business basics to entrepreneur-specific skills (such as how best to write a business plan targeted to venture capitalists).
• Credibility as someone interested in, dedicated to, and knowledgeable about business and entrepreneurship.
• A perfect venue for trying out entrepreneurial ideas (such as by writing a business plan for a seminar, with a critique to be offered by fellow students as well as professors).
• A fine hunting ground for assembling a management team for your venture; whether during your studies or long after, the people you meet in your program are likely to be those you will tap to help you get your venture up and running.
• A good test of your entrepreneurial enthusiasm.


In fact, this degree may be valuable to a wide range of participants, not just those who intend to start (and grow) their own businesses. It can also appeal to those who intend to:

• Act as professional service providers to entrepreneurs.
• Work in high-growth firms.
• Invest in entrepreneurial ventures.
• Pursue social entrepreneurship.
• Help society develop more entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial activity.

entrepreneurs Trends

The growth in entrepreneurial activity has been driven by many factors, including:

• Increased visibility of wealthy entrepreneurs, particularly in the tech sector.
• Increased awareness of entrepreneurs’ positive impact upon the economy.
• The development of social (not just business) entrepreneurship.
• Numerous opportunities in a time of technological, social, and political change (not to say disruption).
• plentiful venture capital.

Choosing a masters program

Most entrepreneurship masters programs are one year in length. Similarly, most have proven entrepreneurs on the faculty (albeit sometimes as adjunct faculty members) or as entrepreneurs-in-residence. There are, however, major differences among them. Some are ‘lockstep’ programs – everyone takes the same courses at the same time, without any elective/specialised course options, whereas others offer a range of options. Some welcome those without prior degrees in business, whereas others are designed for those with a solid foundation in core business subjects. The major difference, however, is between programs that focus exclusively upon developing technology-driven businesses and those that do not consider tech businesses to be the only ones worthy of consideration.

The typical topics covered in an entrepreneurship program include:

• Recognising opportunities
• Developing a business plan
• Financial projections
• Entry strategies
• Growing the business
• Financing the business: venture capital, debt, other forms of financing
• External advice
• Legal and tax issues
• Intellectual property
• Exit strategies
• The entrepreneurial mindset. 

Some programs require a first degree in business, whereas others simply look for prior coursework in accounting, finance, and statistics. Others are open to those with essentially any first degree.

  Many entrepreneurship masters programs also look for:

• A technological orientation, if not coursework related to technology
• Evidence of prior entrepreneurial effort
• A combination of leadership and team play (given that successful entrepreneurs need to be able to assemble a team of skilled people to operationalise an idea).


MBA in Entrepreneurship

It's very beneficial for would-be entrepreneurs to study an MBA, especially if it specialises in entrepreneurship. An MBA in Entrepreneurship explores the necessary skills and knowledge needed for a student to be successful in a new venture or service. As an MBA course this will also instruct the student in coping with this field within a business and management framework to enable them to become successful entrepreneurs as well as being able to manage the business.

The European University Business School offers an Entrepreneurship MBA with three start dates throughout the year (January, March and October). This year-long MBA program can be studied in a choice of four locations - Barcelona, Munich, Geneva or Montreux.

PhD in Entrepreneurship

A PhD in Entrepreneurship gives students the chance to study this fascinating area in even greater depth. When studying a doctorate in Entrepreneurship students are likely to research into innovation and entrepreneurship in both large firms and small businesses. There is also likely to be the chance to explore the impact of technological changes and advances in company practices and how to deal with these in a successful way when developing a business or product.

The Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) at Goldsmiths, University of London offers an MPhil and PhD in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship which can be studied full time over 3/4 years and part time over 4/6 years. There are two start dates a year – January and September – and students have the chance to study in this unique institute specifically created for those interested in entrepreneurship. Meanwhile London Business School has a PhD in Strategy and Entrepreneurship which is designed for those interested in pursuing an academic career in this field.

Career opportunities

Entrepreneurs may or may not manage to start a venture upon their graduation. Many, while attempting to assemble the resources (or come up with the idea) for a venture, take up positions that give them relevant experience. Some choose to work in the industry that they have targeted for their would-be startup; others look to get relevant operating experience in an appropriate functional area keyed to their skills (such as marketing); and still others work in a service capacity for startups, often in hopes of developing a network that they will be able to tap in the future. 

entrepreneurs Typical job titles

• Company founder
• Project manager (for a startup)
• Corporate intrapreneur (in-house venture project manager)
• Consultant
• Venture capital analyst

Professional associations (UK and US)

British Venture Capital Association
International Entrepreneurs Association (UK)
National Venture Capital Association (US)
National Association for Seed and Venture Funds (US)

Introductory readings

In a field littered with idiosyncratic texts and hero-worshipping tales of successful entrepreneurs, Robert D Hisrich et al, Entrepreneurship (McGraw-Hill/Irwin), provides a balanced and sensible treatment of how to create and start a venture, how to finance it, and how to manage, grow, and cash out of it. In addition, it discusses the perspective necessary for successful entrepreneurship. Its thorough treatment is marred only by its relentlessly American examples.

Those who have not mastered some of the business basics, however, are advised to consult the recommended readings for fields such as accounting, finance, marketing, and the like before embarking on this text.

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