Webster tells us that an entrepreneur is one who manages, organizes, and assumes the risk of a venture or business. “Entrepreneurship” is a sixteen-letter-word that few may know how to define, or even spell for that matter, but it cannot be denied that everyone’s life throughout modern history has been touched and even changed by an entrepreneur.
When asked to name a modern entrepreneur, most in America might mention tech wizards Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, while some might remember a contestant they were rooting for on the television program, Shark Tank. America is a country fascinated by the idea of entrepreneurship and an individual coming from nothing and being able to beat the odds by having just one great idea that would turn them into a millionaire.
In 2006, box office megastar Will Smith told the story of Chris Gardner who found himself homeless with $21 to his name and a young son to care for. Gardner works hard to impress his bosses while working a non-paying position as a stockbroker. Just when it seems that Gardner and his son will be unable to support themselves, Gardner’s tenacity and hard-work pays off in the form of his getting hired as a full-time fund manager. The film’s conclusion shares that Chris Gardner went on to start his own multimillion-dollar brokerage firm.
Movies like this shape our idea of what it means to be an entrepreneur as an individual who defies odds to go on to do great things in business by never giving up and believing in themselves and their goals.
Who are some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs?
There have been entrepreneurs for as long as there have been businesses. The act of taking funds and/or resources and attempting to make a profit is at the heart of what an entrepreneur does. Sometimes she is successful and reaps the benefits of an innovative idea, and sometimes she crashes and burns by losing millions of dollars. For every successful entrepreneur in history, there are countless others who have lost on the gamble of launching a business or a great idea.
Among America’s most successful entrepreneurs, is Benjamin Franklin. Known as one of the United States’ founding fathers, Franklin was one of this nation’s first entrepreneurs. In The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, the reader is introduced to a man who wore many hats as a scientist, inventor, statesman, printer, and author. Many students will recall that Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence but looking deeper into the life of this exceptional American will show his entrepreneurial spirit as the inventor of such technologies as the bifocals, water-harmonica, and lightning rod.
In more recent history, you need only look down the street to find the evidence of another entrepreneurial great. In 1955, the now global hamburger giant McDonald’s got its start. Carrying marketing of “billions and billions served,” there is no question that McDonald’s is the world’s most successful hamburger. However, few know the story of the brand’s successful, albeit controversial founder, entrepreneur Ray Croc. Croc died in 1984, but penned Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s in 1977 to share how he capitalized on opportunities and leaned down the fast food industry for major profits.
What does an online MBA in Entrepreneurship entail?
With entrepreneurship carrying a romantic idea of someone with a million-dollar idea working hard to see dreams become a reality, some may erroneously imagine that entrepreneurs do not need formal business training. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, business leaders who are considering going into business for themselves need all the solid business training they can get.
A degree like the online MBA with an Entrepreneurship specialization will be an amazing asset to a graduate student looking to strike out on her own as a consultant, inventor, independent marketer, or small business owner. The online MBA has a curriculum designed to expose students to the key concepts of accounting, marketing, finance, organizational behavior, and economics. As entrepreneurs are often called upon to carry the many burdens of what it means to get a start-up company off the ground, the comprehensive business curriculum in an online MBA can be a perfect fit for these multitasking business leaders.
Obviously, traditional students in a brick-and-mortar program will benefit from meeting daily or weekly with professors and fellow students in the classroom. For years, students who chose distance learning as the context for their education suffered from not being able to network the same way that other students who attended courses on a school’s campus could. Technology and creative course structure have changed this in a major way. Business schools today that offer degrees like the online MBA in Entrepreneurship are still able to offer excellent networking opportunities. MBA programs that use an online software like Blackboard or Moodle build a curriculum that is highly reliant on virtual communication between peers and professors. This online format can sometimes even give way to more communication than an in-person class can. Online students will still participate in group projects, and some business schools even offer mentoring programs.
An online MBA with an Entrepreneurship specialization will train a business professional in a convenient and flexible way without requiring that the graduate student moves to another state or city to live near a college campus. This aspect of a program can be especially appreciated by a working professional who may be trying to save funds to launch a start-up.
What is a great book on entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurs are sometimes portrayed as adventurers with a passion for blazing new trails and taking bigtime risks on a daily basis. While they often are self-motivators who want more than the status quo of a nine-to-five job, a solid education in business will serve entrepreneurs even more than a fire in the belly, or a new idea. A degree like the online MBA with an Entrepreneurship specialization has been designed to equip potential entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge they will need for all the many aspects of business leadership. With a good education also comes exposure to good books on business.
There is an ocean of books written for entrepreneurs each year. Some titles deal with specific business practices that business leaders need to be performing while others deal with general ideas of philosophy and storytelling. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses is now eight years old and continues to be relevant for those interested in creating a start-up business. Author Eric Reis challenges the reader to see entrepreneurship less like an art form and more like a science. This New York Times Bestseller is a true asset for any aspiring entrepreneur’s library.
Whether looking to make waves in the areas of finance, tech, retail, or hamburgers, entrepreneurs are burdened with all the risk and sometimes reap great rewards. They need to be equipped with grit and tenacity, resourcefulness and problem solving, as well as education and experience. Those learning from the past, dreaming for the future, and supported with a strong business education like an online Entrepreneurship MBA, can go on to push boundaries for generations to come.