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Why Study A Master's In Entrepreneurial Leadership?

If you’re considering entrepreneurship, a Master's in Entrepreneurial Leadership can help you make those all-important first steps towards your dream career


Thu May 16 2024

Whether you’re keen to launch a startup or lead an existing organization in another direction, entrepreneurial leadership skills prepare you to thrive in a highly competitive business landscape. 

From identifying those first great ideas to building an innovative team, a Master's in Entrepreneurial Leadership can provide you with core theoretical knowledge on running a business and practical opportunities to apply what you know.

To learn more about a Master's in Entrepreneurial Leadership, we spoke to Dr. Karen Donovan, senior associate dean for academic programs and executive education at Duquesne University Palumbo-Donahue School of Business.

1. Learn an entrepreneurial mindset and skills

Entrepreneurship is more than brilliant ideas. An entrepreneurial mindset encompasses a range of technical abilities and soft skills to navigate challenges and fuel innovation, including strategic thinking and financial literacy.

Courses such as Ideation Adventure in the Master of Science in Entrepreneurial Leadership at Palumbo-Donahue School of Business provide students with core entrepreneurial skills and connections to industry experts.

From identifying key stakeholders to overcoming market changes, students are equipped to develop a comprehensive feasibility analysis (an analysis of the costs and activities required to set up and run a business successfully).

“Whether you’re launching a new venture or innovating in an existing firm, skills like opportunity recognition, business plan development, and resource generation are vitally important,” says Karen.

On-campus resources in our Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship offer an environment for students to test their knowledge in a collaborative space.

Equipped for product development, Bob’s Launch Pad has a range of flexible areas set up for designing digital applications and physical products with rapid prototyping tools.

2. Develop crucial leadership skills for entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship

Effective leadership in entrepreneurship requires a multifaceted approach. When it comes to the ethical, legal, and interpersonal challenges of business ventures and team management, business school can provide you with a strong foundation.

Courses such as Leading Strategic Change and Leadership and Motivation for Executives provide students with extensive knowledge of organizational effectiveness and human behavior. Sound interpersonal skills can make all the difference in leading organizational change and instilling a motivated work culture.

“Leadership training is very important for entrepreneurs who are in the stage of expanding their business to a larger team,” explains Karen.

Students can combine their knowledge of organizational psychology with electives in business ethics and law, such as Entrepreneurship, Venture Financing and the Law, and Applied Business Ethics.

Covering fundamental topics in contract law, intellectual property protection, financial theories for business, and ethical decision-making, students gain a holistic understanding of leadership techniques.

“It’s vital that students learn core management techniques and skills related to change management and leadership,” Karen explains.

3. Access an entrepreneurial ecosystem in a thriving city

Duquesne’s campus location in downtown Pittsburgh offers a distinct advantage for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Home to over 500 startups and scaleups, including giants such as Duolingo, Pittsburgh earned a top five ranking in the list of Regional Challengers in North America according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022.

A network of Fortune 500 companies and thriving startups is located within a 10-minute walk or short bus ride from campus, offering abundant internship opportunities.

This proximity is complemented by the flexible hybrid format of the Master of Science in Entrepreneurial Leadership. The 30-credit program, costing $1,138 per credit (in line with other specialized master’s programs), can be completed in three to six semesters. With start dates available in spring, summer, and fall, you can tailor your academic journey to make the most of local opportunities.

“At Duquesne, we have strong ties with the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pittsburgh,” says Karen.

The school’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which offers consulting services for business owners, plays a vital role in bridging the gap between Entrepreneurial Leadership students and the city’s entrepreneurial hub.

“Students get valuable experience and skill development at the SBDC, where they act as supporting consultants for local business startups,” explains Karen.

4. Gain hands-on experience with business competitions

While the Entrepreneurial Leadership program teaches the core principles of entrepreneurial leadership, experiential projects and competitions put learning into action.

The Entrepreneurship Pitch Experience project-based course forms part of the curriculum. Student teams develop a business plan for a new startup or a product launch within an existing firm and pitch their project to a panel of judges.

“The program is highly experiential. It’s vital that students get the chance to apply the material in the classroom through practical experience,” comments Karen.

Beyond the classroom, the Duquesne New Venture Challenge (DNVC) provides a platform for early-stage startups to showcase their innovations. 

The three-stage competition is open to startups nationwide, and participants are given a chance to gain valuable mentorship, prize wins upwards of $100,000, and access to business planning software, and industry experts with connections to regional funding sources.

Whether you’re looking to launch a thriving startup or level up your leadership skills in a company, the blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience in entrepreneurship-focused master’s programs can prepare you for every stage of your career as a business leader.