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23 Jul

Finding an Online MBA for Entrepreneurship and Small Business

If you're seeking a leadership opportunity in your current job, you aspire to fill an executive position, or you have plans to build your own business, you could be well-served by seeking out the best online MBA programs for entrepreneurship and small business. In addition to hard skills such as business analytics and financial management, strong MBA programs like the [Online Responsible Business MBA]() from California State University, Monterey Bay will also help you refine important soft skills like responsible leadership, teamwork, project management, and entrepreneurial creativity.

Just ask Margaret D'Arrigo-Martin, a [CSUMB Online MBA]() alum and the CEO of Margaret-Inc. With a goal of starting her own business and becoming a CEO, she went in search of a flexible program built on relevant content that would help her build both business and technical skills. "My goal was to enroll in a two-year program with flexible class electives and high-level instruction," Margaret recalls. "I felt CSUMB had the best reputation for its outcomes."

Online MBA Programs on the Rise

Margaret isn't alone in her aspirations, or in her search for a well-rounded, practical, and relevant online MBA. The demand for U.S. MBA programs in general is on the rise, and online MBA programs specifically have been cropping up almost monthly.1 Why? It could be that these flexible programs empower working professionals to keep their full-time jobs while pursuing new career advancement. It could also be the convenience of taking the classroom (and the coursework) with you wherever you go, or the fact that online MBA programs can often be completed on an accelerated timetable.

And even with their enviable flexibility, online MBA programs are still producing exceptionally high levels of student satisfaction from a programmatic perspective. This means they're no less respected or effective than their on-ground counterparts, and in some cases may even represent improvements over conventional classroom experiences. 

"I've recommended the CSUMB MBA program to many of my peers—it is a great opportunity for working professionals," Margaret says. "I really enjoyed the virtual learning environment, once I got used to the system, and the instructors were very engaged. My college experience in 1981-1985 was much different, as it consisted of large, 400-student lecture halls. Here, I felt empowered and more confident than ever before."

Not All MBA Programs Are Created Equal

Much like Margaret's undergraduate university, many MBA programs admit hundreds of students, which means there is limited opportunity—if any at all—for students to engage one on one with their peers and instructors. This is an unfortunate reality, because higher degrees of interaction often produce impactful results. 

Margaret's CSUMB Online MBA experience demonstrated the effectiveness of individualized attention and close contact with one's peers. "I collaborated with my peers almost daily," she notes. "We all wanted to achieve a higher level of job satisfaction, and almost all of us made a career move during or after graduation. The group projects, though challenging in an online setting, were great learning experiences, and everyone in my cohort encouraged and supported me."

Technology Increases Access

Not so long ago, MBA programs were available only to those with the time and luxury to pursue their degree in person. Depending on where a person chose to pursue their degree, it could have meant quitting a job, relocating to a different city, or cutting back on hours to make time for both the commute to and from classes and the actual coursework. But with the advent of online MBAs, quality degree programs have become accessible to professionals who want to pursue a different path. These students tend to be older—the average age for a student enrolled in a ranked online MBA program was 33 years old in 2016—and almost all of them were employed when they started their degree, averaging eight years of professional experience at the time of enrollment.2

Working professionals in CSUMB's Online MBA program report definitively positive outcomes from their pursuit of higher education. One in two CSUMB Online MBA alumni report receiving a promotion at their current company or a higher-level position with a new employer within one to three years of graduation, and alumni who received a promotion earned an increase in salary of over 40 percent, on average.3

Are You Ready for a Life-Changing Experience?

Though adding the initials "MBA" to your resume may move you to the top of the pile, hiring managers know that just because somebody holds an MBA doesn't mean they're necessarily the right fit for every job. But the skills and knowledge instilled by a quality MBA program can mean increased job opportunities, especially for entrepreneurially minded students like Margaret, who has already been offered a job in a new industry since her graduation. 

"I would say the greatest skills I acquired were technical and computer skills, but I also think it helped me further develop my leadership skills," Margaret says of her specific achievements in the program.

But burnishing your credentials is only one benefit of pursuing an online MBA. For professionals like Margaret, an online MBA like the one offered at CSUMB can provide a truly life-changing boost in confidence.

"My CSUMB MBA degree has given me the confidence to pursue the next step in my career," Margaret reflects. "Earning my MBA was one of the most difficult things I have accomplished in my career and in my educational pathway. But it was well worth the time, the energy, and the investment. This was life-changing! And after my boys graduate from high school, I might pursue my Ph.D.—I never thought I would say those words! This program inspired me to be better and stronger."

Still sifting through the best online MBA programs to find the program that's right for your entrepreneurial or small business aspirations? Take Margaret's lead and start building a new career path on your time, in accordance with your plans.  Check out the Online Responsible Business MBA from CSUMB, and discover how our curriculum, centered around responsible business and built on experiential learning opportunities, recent case studies, and practical projects that allow you to apply what you have learned, can help you facilitate new opportunities and achieve next-level success.

1. Retrieved on December 4, 2018, from
2. Retrieved on December 4, 2018, from
3. Based on a limited sample of self-reported data from alumni of CSUMB's Online MBA program from graduating cohorts between 2016 and 2018, including respondents who indicated they expect to receive a promotion within 6 months from the time of their response.