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The impact of entrepreneurship education : an exploratory study of MBA graduates in Ireland

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dc.contributor.advisor Birdthistle, Naomi Hill, Shane 2011-12-06T13:18:31Z 2011-12-06T13:18:31Z 2011
dc.description peer-reviewed
dc.description.abstract This study is an investigation into the impact of entrepreneurship education in Ireland. It focuses on graduate entrepreneurship education (MBA) and endeavours to assess its impact on graduates’ entrepreneurial behaviour over the long-term. The work has evolved from significant research gaps and vulnerabilities identified within the literature and revolved around the following research question: ‘What influence does entrepreneurship education have on MBA graduates propensity to venture’. In addressing this question, a comprehensive literature review was undertaken. Firstly, various ways of studying and understanding the individual entrepreneur and the term entrepreneurship are explored. Next, a robust review of the entrepreneurship education literature was conducted. This reveals that despite the exponential international growth of the discipline over the last four decades, remarkably little empirical work has been conducted into the impact of courses and on the propensity of graduates to venture. Much of the research that has been conducted to date focuses on a single course or programme and its immediate impact. Furthermore, very few studies use ‘control groups’ which facilitate a comparison of those who have and have not taken entrepreneurship. Analysis of the literature pertaining to the impact of entrepreneurship education has resulted in the development of a conceptual model for the study. This encompasses a national study of MBA graduates in Ireland over the long-term and includes those who have taken entrepreneurship as part of their MBA programme and those who have not. The purpose of this thesis is exploratory in nature as it seeks to indicate and identify meaning within a little-understood situation (entrepreneurship education and graduate entrepreneurial behaviour). The theoretical background to the work resulted in the development of a number of hypotheses and sub-hypotheses. These were tested through a research design that accommodated a combination of both quantitative and qualitative measures (methodological triangulation). The unit of analysis is MBA graduates in Ireland. A mail survey was conducted and the quantitative data from this was supported by face-to-face interviews. The mail survey was distributed to a sample of 550 MBA graduates in Ireland and a valid response rate of 37.8% was achieved. The qualitative study comprises of six face-to-face interviews. The findings from this study indicate that there was no link established between exposure to entrepreneurship education and the consequential entrepreneurial behaviour of participating MBA graduates. This result conforms with other studies which have yielded similar findings. However, with few exceptions, the widespread popularity that entrepreneurship education now enjoys has not been matched with robust research deliberation into its outcomes and the differing research designs used make meaningful comparisons very difficult. This study underlines the need for more research to be conducted into the impact of entrepreneurship education. Such work must be completed using methodologies, survey instruments and statistical analysis that facilitate both collaboration and comparison. The thesis is not an end in itself but rather represents a platform or conduit on which future research can be built en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject entrepreneurship en_US
dc.subject graduates en_US
dc.subject education en_US
dc.subject Ireland en_US
dc.title The impact of entrepreneurship education : an exploratory study of MBA graduates in Ireland en_US
dc.type Master thesis (Research) en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.type.restriction none en

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