Aspiring Entrepreneurs See Multiple Paths to Success at Business School

Candidates who want to start their own business (or already have) consider several b-school program types.

May 26, 2016

Prospective Students

Aspiring entrepreneur leads group meeting at business school Over the past several years, there has been an overall rise in the number of business school candidates who aspire to own a business. Worldwide in 2015, 26 percent of prospective students said they will pursue entrepreneurial careers post-graduation—up from 21 percent in 2011. 

The appeal of entrepreneurship for many is the ability to focus on their passions (90% of aspiring entrepreneurs), autonomy (86%), revenue potential (81%), flexibility (79%), and control (78%). Where these candidates are in their career development when they make the decision to go to business school varies. Some have already started their own businesses, while others plan to do so while enrolled; others don’t plan on getting started until after earning their degree. 

These future and current entrepreneurs are considering different paths at business schools to assemble their toolkit of knowledge, skills, and abilities to lay the groundwork for building—or expanding—their start-ups. GMAC survey data indicates that the largest share of these candidates are considering MBA programs (80% of respondents) compared with non-MBA business master’s programs (46%). Specific program types most frequently considered by aspiring entrepreneurs are full-time two-year MBA (45%), full-time one-year MBA (44%), Master of Finance (20%), Master of Entrepreneurship (17%), and Flexible MBA (17%). 

The path to entrepreneurship

Regardless of the path taken, most aspiring entrepreneurs who graduated from business school in 2015 felt their education provided them with the tools they need to help lead their company, including the ability to grow their business, develop their ideas and financial projects, conduct market research, write business and marketing plans, connect with customers, secure financial resources, and create an HR plan.  

For more on the program preferences of business school candidates, download the 2016 Prospective Students Survey Report. For more on the outcomes of the business school class of 2015, download the 2015 Global Management Education Graduate Survey Report