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5 Ways An MBA Could Help You Pursue Business Entrepreneurship

Interested in becoming a business entrepreneur? Here are five ways an MBA could help you achieve your startup dreams


Thu May 23 2024

As an entrepreneur, you do not need to attend business school to be successful. Yet there are some key reasons why studying for an MBA degree could make your journey to entrepreneurship much more effective and enjoyable. 

Many business schools offer a supportive environment where you can test your skills and meet like-minded people who can not only inspire your startup journey but also make you feel part of a valued community.

5 ways an MBA could help you pursue business entrepreneurship:

1. Some business schools offer dedicated entrepreneurship centers

Business schools that are committed to nurturing entrepreneurship are likely to have dedicated services or centers tailored towards business students with an inclination for becoming business founders.

Old Dominion University's (ODU) Strome College of Business, located in coastal Virginia, provides resources for entrepreneurial minded students at the Strome Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

ODU also assists local entrepreneurs with training and services through the Women’s Business Center, the ODU Business Development Center, and the Veterans Business Outreach Center, which are all located off-campus in downtown Norfolk.

“We have a lot of different options for people to find a place that works best for them,” says Sharon Scannell, program manager of the Strome Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

2. Military students can access tailored advice for becoming business entrepreneurs

Since ODU is located next to Naval Station Norfolk—the world’s largest naval base—many military or ex-military students attend the military-friendly MBA program at ODU’s Strome College of Business.

Military and ex-military entrepreneurial students may request mentorship and startup services from VBOC, the Veterans Business Outreach Center.

“Running a business is a lot about determination, and those with a military background tend to already have this mindset deeply instilled while appreciating the value of teamwork and discipline,” says Sharon.

The VBOC offers courses such as Boots to Business, which is a program designed for military personnel transitioning out of the military.

“It’s an option for people who are moving from the military and trying to decide what to do with the next part of their lives.

“The program is focused on letting [military personnel] know that entrepreneurship is an option and that there are resources from the government and resources from ODU in the form of VBOC,” explains Sharon.

f1b0bb7f738f035335a085e4b6f5b7f3bebb864f.jpg The ODU MBA program has a large military student population ©ODU/ Facebook

3. Students learn about entrepreneurship at their own pace

The Strome Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation instructs students in entrepreneurship through a dojo-like model. In this approach, students develop their businesses at their own pace, following a program based on Lean Startup methodology. The Lean Startup method provides a framework for driving business growth with maximum acceleration. Additionally, students utilize the Business Model Canvas—a strategic visualization tool for structuring their business models. 

Students have milestones to reach at their own pace and visit the Strome Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation whenever they need support.

Students work through topics such as customer discovery, marketing, licensing, cash flow, and projections depending on where the student is at in their business venture creation with the team of experts at the Strome Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

For some exercises, students of all levels may work together, and then for others, there will be separate groups focused on distinct experience levels or independent activities. 

“We're moving everybody forward on an individual basis in the training because the needs are different,” says Sharon.

“That seems to work better for us, and it works better for the students.”

Some of the types of entrepreneurship projects that business school entrepreneurs at ODU work on include everything from re-selling businesses to arts and crafts, baked goods, and graphic design and marketing services. 

4. Learning from a diverse curriculum helps form business ideas

An important advantage of being an entrepreneur at business school is the opportunity to test out ideas in a supportive setting while learning about important business concepts that are immediately applicable to a new venture. 

The 21-month ODU MBA program, a degree offered either online, hybrid, or in-person, enables students to customize their learnings to their interests.

The flexible MBA offers concentrations in specializations such as Maritime and Ports Management, Supply Chain Management, Business Analytics, and Project Management. 

There are also individual courses to choose from geared towards budding entrepreneurs, including Business Planning for Entrepreneurs. 

As someone who has founded a successful technology business herself, Sharon says that business school is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn the fundamentals of business, such as supply chain, organizational behavior, and accounting, that are instrumental in the creation of a startup.

5. Networking is key in entrepreneurship

It's challenging to find a network as robust and ready-made as the connections gained during study at a business school.

Students can work alongside other entrepreneurs at the Strome Center for Entrepeneurship and Innovation. This provides a strong sense of community for these individuals.

“We have a lot of services at ODU to help students find someone who can provide relevant advice. Many of the professors at the business school have owned their own businesses,” says Sharon.

ODU is ideally located in the Hampton Roads region, which is a buzzing hub for entrepreneurs. The region has one of the most active angel investor groups in the US.

“If you wanted to work with other entrepreneurs in the area, such as those from Virginia Beach, Newport News, or Williamsburg, there is an abundance of people to connect with. There is so much activity going on to inspire entrepreneurs,” she says.

Student Reviews

Old Dominion University





Unlimited opportunities for growth

My view of ODU is nothing short of amazing. I started attending ODU at in 2020 at the beginning of COVID-19 so most of my journey has been virtual but despite being in a virtual environment the faculty and staff have made me feel at home. The campus has endless opportunities for growth and academic assistance as well as hiring events for students looking to connect with jobs in their field. The campus is bright and lively but still has academia at the center of it. Its not too much of a party campus but there are opportunities for safe wholesome fun. All of my professors and advisors have been ready and willing to help with every issue, question, or concern.




On Campus

The perspective of ODU from a Freshman

Old Dominion University is a diverse university that has a variety of clubs, sports, Greek activities, and more on campus. They have plenty of food options ranging from Italian to Vegan. Everyone is welcoming and supportive on campus, and there is plenty of support for all Old Dominion University students. I personally dislike the placement of my dorm complex due to the not-so-friendly neighborhood nearby, but it is only a 10-minute walk to all my classes. If I could change one thing about Old Dominion University, then it would be to include a small dining hall for each dorm complex opened after hours of the main dining hall on Campus.




On Campus

Positivity Life changing

The diversity is key and this university demonstrates this. From the admissions, to the professors to the all shows a level of diverse rhythm and harmony that brings others together to learn in an environment that is enriching





A program with a lot of patience

I attended this university starting in 2014 and took many breaks in between for many reasons. I struggled with a lot personally on and off every semester, but I was still able to come back and finish with a decent GPA, which was fantastic. My biggest issue with the college I was a part of at ODU was that I had little to no help finding an internship, which was part of my reason for finishing later than I started. I also wish that they had made their health services more readily available to students no matter what year they were attending for.




On Campus


I like the relationship with my professors, they really made sure that I fully understood what was going on. I think the campus could have been a little bit safer, they seemed to be a little bit of security issues.




On Campus

ODU_ FreshmanYear

I really like how there are many options if it goes wrong or if you’re falling behind in your courses, there are many resources to help you. However, I don’t like how the professors don’t care too much to help you. College is really about being on your own and the transition from high school to college was definitely different yet effective.