Entrepreneurial Leadership Masters vs. MBA in Leadership
April 20, 2020 | Read Time: 3.5 Minutes

Entrepreneurial Leadership Master’s vs. MBA in Leadership: Which is Right for You?

By Elizabeth Atwater

Are you thinking about going back to school for a graduate degree? If so, you’re in good company.

The number of graduate students has tripled in the past 50 years in the United States, says Harvard Business Review. Moreover, 27% of employers now require master’s degrees; where previously an undergraduate degree alone was sufficient.

Most would-be graduate students know about the MBA, but many are surprised by the many different specialized masters degrees business schools offer.

What Is A Specialized Master’s in Entrepreneurial Leadership?

Unlike a traditional MBA, or even an MBA in Leadership, an entrepreneurial leadership master’s program is hyper focused on helping students develop into entrepreneurial leaders. In Babson’s two entrepreneurial leadership master’s programs, classes go deeper than what is typically found in general business programs. Professors focus on both the hard and soft skills entrepreneurial leaders need.

Individualized, experiential learning is the cornerstone for both of Babson’s entrepreneurial leadership master’s programs. Students in the Master’s in Entrepreneurial Leadership (MSEL) program take Creating You: Building your Professional Life, a course that includes opportunities to coach aspiring high school entrepreneurs along with skill building and personal reflection.

In the Master’s in Advanced Entrepreneurial Leadership (MSAEL), faculty mentors coach students through a personal project at the end of the program. Students make measurable headway on a transformation project for their organization, in collaboration with a stakeholder from their employer.

Connie Blackman MSAEL ’22 thinks of the choice between MSAEL and an MBA this way: “We could’ve chosen a traditional MBA program. We could’ve chosen Babson’s MSEL program. We didn’t. We chose the MSAEL program because we are ready to launch and lead. Many of us have been climbing the corporate ladder for years. Now? We’ve made it to the upper rungs and are ready to lead and inspire others as we embark on a new journey.”

Why Choose an MBA?

Sebastian Fixson, Babson’s Associate Dean of Innovation, has described the MBA degree as a comprehensive education in business administration.

“As a result,” he says, “an MBA requires taking classes in all business disciplines, collectively called the core.” At Babson, the MBA core forms one third of the program, and includes classes in entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, accounting, finance, strategy, marketing, business analytics, and operations and information management.

All Babson MBA students complete significant group project work prior to graduation, including a capstone project. According to The Princeton Review, 71% of MBA students envision themselves in leadership roles as their career progresses. Group work throughout the MBA provides leadership opportunities, real-time feedback on project management skills, and resume points.

Of course, electives, concentrations, intensity tracks, and other options abound for putting your own spin on this generalist’s degree. Though there is no formal MBA in leadership at Babson, there are many opportunities to lead ventures, serve as leaders on non-profit boards, and take the lead in student organizations.

Take the Next Step toward a Babson Graduate Degree

Applications are currently being accepted for all Babson College graduate programs. Learn more about our entrepreneurial leadership masters programs, the Babson MBA, and more.

Masters in Leadership vs. MBA in Leadership: Which is Right for You?

A running joke in business school that the right answer to every strategic question is “it depends.” When it comes to deciding between a masters in leadership vs mba in leadership program, it all hinges on your future goals, and nobody knows those goals better than you do.

That said, there are significant differences among Babson's leadership development programs that appeal to different students:

  • Masters in Entrepreneurial Leadership is a masters degree in leadership that’s designed for students right out of college, without the 3-5 years of work experience many graduate programs require. It’s a full time program and students form close bonds.
  • Masters in Advanced Entrepreneurial Leadership is a brand new, 100% online master in leadership. It’s designed for experienced professionals and stakeholders from your work are involved in your final project, making this an extremely tangible, real-world degree.
  • If you want to broaden your skill set with numerous options to fit your schedule and learning style, and you have more than five years work experience, consider an entrepreneurial MBA. Whether you enroll full time or part time, you’ll graduate with a suite of tools and the experience to know how to use each one.

For Diego Gadelha MSAEL '21, the choice was clear—he wanted to help his business grow in real time, so he chose the online master in leadership. “(It) is a great opportunity to further develop my entrepreneurial and operational skills to help our business grow and stay strong.”

Contact Us

Interested in talking with an expert about which program might be right for you? Babson’s Graduate Admissions team would love to hear from you!

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About the Author

Elizabeth Atwater is an associate director on Babson College’s Marketing team. Her writing has appeared in print and online in a wide range of outlets including ForbesThe AtlanticReutersChief Learning Officer, BostInno, and Seventeen magazine. She earned a Babson MBA in 2019. 

Like this graduate school advice article? Have a suggestion? To contact our team with comments or article ideas, send us a note at news@babson.edu.