There’s a paradigm shift taking place in the startup world today, notes Michael Kaplan of Phase2Advantage, an Instructional Design & Publishing company. No longer is startup success dependent upon the traditional linear model of writing a business plan, obtaining a bank loan, building a brand and then waiting for customers to show up.
The old adage of “build it and they will come” is being replaced with “build it, but only with the minimum viable product you need to test for success.”
People today are entering the startup realm with far more formal education and experience in entrepreneurship than ever before, and they’re doing so from many of the following schools whose degrees in entrepreneurship you might not have heard about yet:
1. American Military University
No, you won’t have to buzz your hair or march to class (but don’t quote me on that). AMU offers bachelor and master’s of arts degrees in entrepreneurship designed for those interested in pursuing a business venture or managing an entrepreneurial enterprise. Graduates gain practical experience in ideation, marketing and management.
2. George Mason University
The master’s of arts in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on social entrepreneurship combines classroom instruction, a consulting project with a local social enterprise and a lean startup exercise. Students with a concentration in social entrepreneurship will learn about the roles that technology, public policy, market-based approaches, research, leadership, strategy and communication play in implementing solutions to urgent challenges around the globe.
3. Georgetown University
The posh D.C.-based university offers a course in technology entrepreneurship that examines the startup process through two optics: the entrepreneur and the organization. Topics range from intellectual property, venture finance, product development, technical market strategies, strategic alliances and leadership development.
4. University of Virginia
The Darden School of Business offers an MBA in innovation and entrepreneurship that highlights design thinking, the entrepreneurial mindset and startup incubators, to name a few topics. The course uses “an active learning approach that challenges you to think quickly on your feet, to think critically and innovatively about business issues, and to step forward to make a difference in your community and around the world.” How’s that for a selling point?
5. Center for Entrepreneurship
If going (back) to school sounds boring, what about doing it in Hong Kong to rattle things up? In 2013, Google and the Center for Entrepreneurship, Hong Kong, paired to create the Empowering Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) Program with the intention of infusing greater innovation into an “entrepreneurial ecosystem [in Hong Kong that] is disconnected and facing an ‘innovation deadlock.’”
If funding for education isn’t in the foreseeable future, there are seven universities that offer free (read free) online entrepreneurship courses. However, not all the resources listed lead to college credit (hey, you can’t have everything, right?).
This course — with its little gem of a title, How to Build a Startup: The Lean Launchpad — is another free resource that offers videos, transcripts and discussion forums in which you can collaborate with other like-minded wannabe business owners.
Sure, unicorn CEOs such as Mark Zuckerberg found success without a degree in entrepreneurship, as did many others. However, there were also significant lessons learned along the way that a degree in entrepreneurship would help mitigate. Invest in yourself now and reap the rewards later.