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Outdoor Industry MBA 3+2

Bachelor of Arts, Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Degree Type

Accelerated Degree Programs


School of Business

World-class skiing, hiking and climbing in the Rocky Mountains has made Colorado one of the nation’s largest hubs for the outdoor industry. Whether you want to start your own business or rise in the ranks of companies like The North Face, our unique Outdoor Industry MBA will provide you with a strong business acumen and a competitive edge.

Program Overview

Turn your passion for the outdoors into a business opportunity.

Situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Western Colorado University’s Outdoor Industry MBA is the first of its kind in the United States. The five-year accelerated degree program was created to foster leaders with executive-level skills in one of Colorado’s critical economic engines—the outdoor industry. In the program, you’ll not only acquire a robust business acumen through traditional MBA courses, but you’ll also be immersed in issues specific to the outdoor industry including sustainability, stewardship and global trade.

To customize your educational experience, you can pick from two specialized tracks for either the product or service side of the industry. The Product Concentration track focuses on sustainable development and the Service Concentration track imparts critical resort management skills. Before graduating, you’ll have the opportunity to work with an outdoor company, which will help expand your industry network and could even lead to permanent placement. Through intensive coursework and hands-on opportunities, you’ll be well-prepared to run environmentally-conscious companies in the booming outdoor industry.

An outdoor playground

Outdoor Recreation Industry MBA students have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to live, learn and play in the heart of the Rocky Mountains—one of the nation’s largest hubs for outdoor recreation.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

The Business Management Emphasis requires a minimum of 48 credits including the 21-credit Base Curriculum, the 15-credit Business Administration Nucleus, BUAD 491 Strategic Management, and nine credits of Business Administration electives. 

Base Curriculum
ACC 201Introduction to Financial Accounting3
ACC 202Introduction to Managerial Accounting3
ECON 201Macroeconomics (GT-SS1)3
ECON 202Microeconomics3
Select one of the following mathematics courses:3-4
MATH 140
College Algebra (GT-MA1)
MATH 141
Precalculus (GT-MA1)
MATH 151
Calculus I (GT-MA1)
One of the following:3
BUAD 220
Spreadsheets and Analysis
CS 120
Professional Computer Skills
One of the following:3
MATH 213
Probability and Statistics
ECON 216
Statistics for Business and Economics
Total Credits21-22

The 15-credit Business Administration Nucleus forms the core for each of the emphasis areas and also comprises the bulk of the Standard Program. It is important that the student achieve a high level of understanding of the basic fundamental concepts represented by these courses to be successful in the completion of the required upper- level course work and in their business career. If BUAD 350 Human Resource Management Human Resource Management is used to satisfy the requirements of the Business Administration Nucleus, then it cannot be used to satisfy the elective requirement within the major.

Business Administration Nucleus
BUAD 185Business Communication3
BUAD 210Legal Environment of Business3
BUAD 270Principles of Marketing3
BUAD 360Managerial Finance3
One of the following:3
BUAD 333
Organizational Behavior
BUAD 350
Human Resource Management
Total Credits15

At least six credits of the nine credits must be upper-division Business Administration electives, and no more than three credits may be from: BUAD 101 Business of Life and BUAD 150 Introduction to Hospitality. An internship, BUAD 499 Internship in Business Administration, is required. Electives should be chosen in consultation with an advisor. BUAD 397 Special Topics or BUAD 497 Special Topics courses are allowed to count toward the nine-credit requirement only with Business School approval.

Core MBA courses:
MBA 600Sustainability Accounting3
MBA 601Managerial Economics3
MBA 603Leadership, Ethics, and Organizational Behavior3
MBA 605Project Management3
MBA 606Marketing and Brand Strategy in the Outdoor Industry3
MBA 611Topics in Outdoor Industry0
One of the following (based on desired concentration):3
MBA 609
Sustainable Outdoor Product Development and Material Sourcing (Product Concentration)
MBA 614
Sales and Customer Experience (Service Concentration)
Total Credits18

Upon successful completion of the prescribed courses listed above, University defined General Education, and elective requirements totaling 120 credits (with 40 at the 300-level or higher), students are eligible for their B.A. conferral. Students electing to complete the MBA program must follow the balance of their declared emphasis curriculum.

For a full description of the required Graduate coursework, please see the appropriate MBA program in the Western Graduate Catalog.

Capstone Course Requirement

The following courses in the Business Administration Major fulfill the capstone course requirement: BUAD 491 STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT.

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Faculty & Staff


Take the first steps toward your dream career.

Career preparation is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling role in hundreds of professional fields after graduation.

Ready to apply or learn more about Western today?

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Find Your Career

The data is automatically collected by Lightcast, a firm that sources job market data. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.


Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2022. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.


Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.


The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming first-year students.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Degree Details

Graduate in just 5 years with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree

  • B.A. in Business Administration: A versatile degree that covers all corners of the business world—from marketing and sales to resort management and entrepreneurship.
  • B.A. in Environment & Sustainability: A timely and solution-focused degree that prepares students to become industry leaders who promote corporate sustainability.
  • B.A. in Recreation & Outdoor Education: A experiential degree focused on familiarizing students with the hands-on aspect of the outdoor industry and helping them learn how to build rapport with a diverse variety of consumers and clients
  • Outdoor Industry MBA: A rigorous, online graduate degree with traditional MBA coursework and specialized courses for the product and service side of the outdoor industry.

A booming industry

Students pursuing an MBA in outdoor business administration are the future of an industry that is establishing itself as an economic force.

Get Involved

Expand your community and your network.

There are so many ways that you can maximize your educational experience at Western. Take advantage of these opportunities to advance your career.

  • Career Fairs: Connect with future employers during the various career fairs in the School of Business and around Colorado.
  • ICELab: The Innovation + Creativity + Entrepreneurship (ICE) Lab on upper campus is a space that provides startups and expanding businesses with the materials and support needed to succeed.
  • Office of Career Success: Business students have a department-specific career services professional.
  • Study Abroad: Experience Harlaxton College in the English Midlands.

A one-of-a-kind experience

Western’s Outdoor Industry MBA program, the first and only outdoor-focused MBA program in the country, teaches courses in marketing and brand strategy, leadership, bringing socially responsible products to market and understanding and integrating inclusivity in the workplace.

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Additional Resources

How It Works – Outdoor Industry MBA 3+2

How It Works – Outdoor Industry MBA 3+2 Students apply to Western as traditional undergraduate students and choose the Business Administration major. For the first three years, students take …

Learn More

Tuition & Aid

Tuition & Aid – Outdoor Industry MBA 3+2 For the first three years, students in the Outdoor Industry MBA 3+2 pay undergraduate tuition and are eligible for undergraduate financial aid. The …

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Outdoor Industry MBA (OIMBA) Network

The OIMBA Network documents people, organizations, and projects involved with our program. Each year, OIMBA students complete a 200+ hour project, connecting people and organizations worldwide.

Learn More

Department Information

School of Business

Associate Dean

Kevin A. Nelson, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of the School of Business, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA

Executive Assistant

Christina Sorensen

Executive Assistant

OIMBA Program Director

D. Scott Borden, Ph.D.

Director, Outdoor Industry MBA

Contact Information


Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Borick Business Building 223
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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