Master's in Small Business Management Programs

Updated May 18, 2023 ยท 3 Min Read

Start a new career or advance a current one with a master's in small business management. Here, we list the best programs. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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A small business management degree emphasizes the organizational leadership skills necessary to grow a small business. Earning a master's degree helps professionals move into management and executive roles.

During a small business management program, master's students strengthen their strategic planning, business research, and marketing skills. They take classes in entrepreneurship, small business finance, and organizational leadership. Graduates leave the program prepared for decision-making roles in diverse environments.

Our list ranks the best master's in small business management programs. Prospective students can use the rankings to find the right fit for their interests, schedule, and career goals.

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Questions About Small Business Management

What can I do with a master's in small business management?

A master's degree in small business management prepares graduates for decision-making roles within small businesses. Degree-holders can also pursue careers in larger organizations.

What is the difference between business management and business administration?

Business management and business administration both emphasize strategic planning, decision-making, and organizational leadership. However, business management focuses more on the skills necessary to run a department or organization.

What is the difference between small business management and entrepreneurship?

Both small business management and entrepreneurship focus on launching and growing new businesses. A focus on small business management emphasizes decision-making skills for small businesses.

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Why Get a Degree in Small Business Management?

A graduate-level small business management degree builds advanced leadership and management skills. Master's students take classes in organizational management, strategic leadership, and small business financing. These classes emphasize career-focused skills.

With a master's degree, graduates can start new businesses, manage small businesses, or work within established organizations. Entrepreneurs interested in small businesses may especially benefit from a master's degree.

Many schools offer online small business management degrees. An online format may appeal to working students or those with children. Online learners may save money by enrolling in the most affordable program without relocating.

How Much Does a Small Business Management Degree Cost?

Master's degrees cost an average of $66,340, according to However, costs vary by school, program length, and learners' residency status. Prospective students can earn an MBA with a concentration in small business management. On average, an MBA costs $66,300.

Students who earn their business management degree online may save money compared to their on-campus peers. For example, online learners do not pay for campus housing or meal plans. When researching programs, students should check with their prospective schools to learn total degree costs.

How Much Do Small Business Management Majors Make?

Many factors influence salary, including employer, job title, and geographic location. Small business management graduates often pursue careers as business founders and leaders. These top executives earn a median $98,980 annually, according to the BLS.

Master's degree-holders may also work in leadership roles at established organizations. These roles typically pay six-figure salaries. For example, financial managers, marketing managers, and sales managers all earn median salaries of more than $125,000 annually.

Courses in a Small Business Management Program

Small business management programs include core classes like marketing, operations management, and organizational leadership. Graduate students also take specialized classes in small business management and entrepreneurship.

Other classes may cover topics like new venture development, small business financing, and marketing for small businesses. Master's degree-seekers gain hands-on experience through projects, case studies, and internships.

Students pursuing a master's in small business management may take the classes below. Keep in mind that each business school creates its own curriculum, including required classes and electives.

  • Small Business Management

    Graduate students examine theoretical and practical approaches to managing a small business. They learn about the role of marketing, finance, and human resources in small businesses. Other topics include business plan development, promotion, and financing. Students strengthen their strategic management skills with a focus on small businesses.
  • New Venture Development

    This class covers new venture development, from researching potential business opportunities to crafting business plans. Graduate students strengthen their entrepreneurial skills while learning how to raise funds for a new business and launch a successful small business.
  • Small Business Marketing

    Small businesses require unique marketing approaches. This class trains graduate students in identifying target markets, researching competitors, and implementing marketing strategies to increase market share. The class also covers key tools like e-commerce and digital marketing. The class prepares graduates to run marketing strategies for small businesses.

Career and Salary Outlook for Small Business Management Majors

A master's degree in small business management prepares graduates for several careers. Many degree-holders start their own companies and grow their small businesses. They may also work in franchising or in established organizations.

Small business management degrees prepare enrollees for roles like management analyst, financial manager, and sales manager. Employers hiring for these in-demand, high-paying roles often look for experienced professionals with master's degrees.

See below for some potential careers for graduates with a master's in business management. Click the chart's embedded links to learn more about each role.

  • Management Analysis

    These professionals evaluate an organization's procedures to identify improvements that increase efficiency. They interview executives to learn more about the problems and observe the workplace to develop solutions. Management analysts may also use financial data and employment reports to recommend organizational changes. They present their findings in written reports or presentations.
  • Financial Managers

    These managers direct an organization's investment strategies and financial activities. They prepare financial reports based on business activity and forecast future earnings. Financial managers also oversee financial analysis. They meet with executives to discuss the organization's financial goals and overall financial health. Some organizations prefer candidates with a master's degree.
  • Sales Managers

    These professionals oversee an organization's sales strategies while also managing sales professionals. They create goals based on an analysis of customer demand and economic trends. Sales managers also train sales teams and create budgets. The role typically requires sales experience. A master's degree helps professionals qualify for management-level roles.
Salary Potential and Growth Rate
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Management Analysts $93,000 14%
Financial Managers $131,710 17%
Sales Managers $127,490 7%

Source: BLS

Master's in Small Business Management Programs

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