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Entrepreneurial Women Find Success Through Business School

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Women in business who aspire to be entrepreneurs can benefit from an MBA or business master’s degree and learn from their peers’ professional and personal successes.

Every year an increasing number of enterprising women in business break out on their own as entrepreneurs. For a number of these women, a graduate business degree is a critical step in their professional development, empowering them with the skills, resources, and connections needed to launch their own businesses.

More than 1 in 5 women in the candidate pipeline want to be entrepreneurs

Among women who registered on mba.com in 2019, 22 percent say their career goal is to be self-employed as an entrepreneur, up from 16 percent in 2010.

Aspiring female entrepreneurs come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds. While the majority (61%) studied business as undergraduates, entrepreneurial goals are most common among social science (25% pursuing entrepreneurship), humanities (23%), and engineering (23%) majors.

Aspiring woman entrepreneurs most frequently consider applying to full-time MBA programs, whether in a two-year (52%) or one-year (49%) format. Other common programs of interest include Master of Entrepreneurship (27%), Master of Finance (19%), and Master in Management (17%) degrees.

Business schools are expanding their resources for aspiring entrepreneurs

More than ever, entrepreneurship is a major focus of learning and practiced on business school campuses. Survey data of business school alumni entrepreneurs who began their business either during or immediately after business school reveals how in recent years business schools have expanded their offerings to connect their entrepreneurial-minded students with the resources they need to be successful.

To learn more about successful women in business or to get more information on the career benefits of an MBA register with an mba.com account.


start-up help on campus statistics in relation to women entrepreneurs

Many women in business seek flexibility and balance through being their own boss

After graduation, most alumnae entrepreneurs first worked for a company before launching their own venture (70%), though some arrive at business school having already started a business (10%), started a business while enrolled (6%), or started a business immediately after business school (7%). Overall, entrepreneurial activity among alumnae increases with time removed from graduation. For example, 7 percent of alumnae from the graduation years of 2011 to 2015 are currently self-employed, compared with 17 percent of alumnae from 1991 to 2000.

Among business school alumni entrepreneurs, women are more likely than men to be in the consulting industry (50% vs. 32%) and their businesses are more likely to have 25 or fewer employees (92% vs. 80%). Women are more likely than men to say flexible hours and the ability to balance work and family are important reasons for owning their own business, whereas men are more likely to say opportunity for greater income and the fact that they always wanted to start their own business are important reasons.


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Most alumnae entrepreneurs founded or started their business themselves (90%), while a small number purchased (4%) or inherited (3%) their business. Though a smaller share of women sought venture capital than men (8% vs. 16%), those that did have a similar success rate in securing funding (70% vs. 67%).

Most alumnae entrepreneurs find professional success and satisfaction

Business school alumnae entrepreneurs report that their businesses are successful. About half report that their business is either very or extremely successful (49%), while a slightly smaller share reports their business is somewhat successful (47%). Just 5 percent say their business is not very successful. Alumnae entrepreneurs are also satisfied with their overall experience as entrepreneurs. Seventy-one percent report being very or extremely satisfied, and 23 percent report being somewhat satisfied. Just 6 percent report being not very satisfied.

The business school experience is key to alumnae entrepreneurs’ success

Overall, most alumnae entrepreneurs agree that their business school experience prepared them for their chosen career (73%) and knowing what they know now, more than 9 in 10 would still pursue a graduate management education (92%). That’s a testament not only to the positive impact their degree has had on their careers, but on their personal lives as well, as the clear majority of alumnae entrepreneurs agree that their graduate management education was rewarding professionally (85%) and personally (93%).

Will you be among the next generation of women in business who reap the benefits of a graduate management education to start their own business? Start your journey to business school today by using the Program Finder tool to search for programs by location, degree type, program length, and format to find the programs that are the best fit for you and your entrepreneurial goals. Create an mba.com account to learn more about women in entrepreneurship. 

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